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[s5] Charbonneau: Committee Votes 'Yes' on Ethics Reforms

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 11, 2010) - An Indiana Senate panel today unanimously passed a plan co-authored by State Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) to tighten state ethics laws.

Charbonneau said the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure voted 12-0 in favor of the bill after a hearing Monday afternoon.

Here are highlights of Charbonneau's state ethics bill as amended today in committee:

  • Requires lawmakers to wait at least one year after leaving office before becoming professional lobbyists;
  • Requires all gifts, food and entertainment to be reported uniformly as expenses by all lobbyists;
  • Reduces the threshold for reported one-time lobbyist expenses from $100 to $50 and reduces the annual total from $500 to $250;
  • Expands state registration and reporting requirements to include university officials;
  • Increases the time allowed for filing lobbyist registrations and reports from seven days to 15;
  • Increases penalties from $10 per day to $100 per day for failure to file lobbyist registrations and reports in a timely manner; and
  • Prohibits statewide office holders from using state funds for radio and television advertising unless the individual gains prior permission from the State Budget Committee and State Budget Agency. Gubernatorial public service announcements related to public health or safety would automatically be allowed.

"Today's passage of this bill is an important step towards a more open and transparent government," Charbonneau said.

Charbonneau's legislation, Senate Bill 114, will move to the full Senate for consideration.

Sen. Charbonneau represents Senate District 5, which includes Starke County and portions of Porter, LaPorte, Marshall, Jasper, Pulaski, and St. Joseph counties.

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