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Bosma To Carry Ethics Bill

Dan Goldblatt
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Citizen advocate groups are concerned Speaker Brian Bosma’s decision to sponsor a comprehensive ethics reform bill next session will weaken the reform’s potential strength. 

Bosma said he would be the lead sponsor of ethics reform legislation while announcing his decision to strip Republican lawmaker Eric Turner from a leadership position.  Turner’s role in advocating against a bill that would have cost his family millions of dollars exposed what Bosma says are holes in the state’s ethics rules.  Common Cause Indiana director Julia Vaughn says she’s worried that under Bosma’s care, the bill will be watered down.

“So now I’m really concerned that the Speaker is like, ‘No, this is my issue and I’m going to control it,’" says Vaughn. "I don’t think there’s much room for public input there.”

The House Ethics Committee, after it investigated Turner, announced it would meet this year to develop improvements to the ethics rules.  Political analyst says Ed Feigenbaum says now that Bosma has taken ownership of the issue, the Ethics Committee’s role is crafting the bill is less certain.

“If it were to come from the House Committee on Ethics, I think that you would see some more minority party input on that and it would be a little bit more of a representative, participatory type of package,” says Feigenbaum.

Vaughn says Indiana needs to look at other states with tough ethics rules and air the issue out in a legislative study committee.