A House committee Tuesday unanimously approved a bill creating what Speaker Brian Bosma calls the first major ethics code revision in at least 20 years. The bill comes in the wake of several ethics scandals over the last year.
Bosma says the Statehouse culture has not been one of corruption, but there hasn’t been enough attention paid to the potential appearance of conflicts of interest. He says the ethics reform bill’s goal is to increase transparency in an effort to reaffirm the public’s trust.
The legislation widens how much legislators must disclose regarding their relationships with lobbyists. It also includes stricter and more specific requirements for financial disclosure, not just of lawmakers themselves but also of their family members.
Bosma says those financial disclosure statements would include greater detail.
“So that someone cannot just look at a name of a business like Bosma Family Farms, LLC – which appeared on my interests this year for the first time – but actually see what that business interest is,” Bosma said.
The bill also provides more oversight for the legislative ethics committees, requiring them to review all economic interest statements. The measure now moves to the House floor.