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Indiana House Passes Ethics Reform Bill

Dan Goldblatt
Indiana Public Broadcasting

House lawmakers Monday unanimously approved bipartisan legislation reforming Indiana’s ethics laws. 

The reform bill, co-authored by House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City), broadens what legislators must disclose on their financial interest statements and requires stricter reporting of relationships with lobbyists. 

Pelath says the bill will ensure Indiana’s General Assembly remains a citizen legislature.

“If there is one thing that I think the people unambiguously want to maintain, it’s the notion that we should come here to make laws and we should go home and live and work under the laws that we made,” Pelath says.

Bosma says the specific details of those restrictions will be developed by the state Inspector General.

“Statewide elected officials and others attend their local political events.  Should it be a violation that that local political event is on their calendar?  No, I don’t think so," Bosma says.  "But getting down to the nuances of that is difficult in a statute.”

The bill also tightens controls on state employees who wish to waive a one-year waiting period before seeking employment in the private sector with a company involved with the state. 

Under current law, the agency head can privately waive the one-year wait; under the reform bill, those employees would have to go before the State Ethics Commission for clearance.  The legislation now heads to the Senate.

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.