Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
105.9 FM is currently experiencing a degraded signal due to deteriorated antenna connections. We are working to schedule repairs. You can still tune in to WBAA News on AM 920, online at or through the WBAA mobile app. Thank you for your patience.

Panels Examines What Ethics Changes State Government Needs

Noah Coffey

Ethics experts and former lawmakers say ethics reform must be rooted in a creating a culture of values in government. 

Controversies over the past year involving a House lawmaker, an INDOT official and the former State Superintendent spurred a call for reform from the legislature. 

Citizen advocacy groups such as Common Cause Indiana, which organized a panel discussion at the Statehouse Friday, have long stressed a need for robust reform. 

Former Indiana State Representative David Yount (R-Columbus), who took part in the event, says citizens can play a big role in the reform effort.

“It’s easy to think of it as kind of a faceless body of a hundred people but when you’re meeting one-on-one with your individual legislators and you’re telling them what you think is important, it doesn’t take long to build consensus," Yount says. "So if legislative ethics is important to you, I guarantee it will be important to them.”

John Schaaf is with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission and says one of the most beneficial things his state does is annual ethics training for all lawmakers.

“Where none of them are trying to make a point to the disadvantage of another one, nobody’s trying to appear to be smarter or more electable than anybody else," Schaaf says.  "They all have a common goal of dealing with and complying with this ethics law.”

Yount says legislative leadership should make ethics training a part of the orientation for new lawmakers.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
Related Content