Monday, April 16, 2012

Good News On Legislative Ethics?

Read the column  here.

The original version of HB 875 was reported favorably out of the House Game, Fish, and Parks Committee and passed by the full House. Across the legislative way, a substitute version was favorably reported out of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee and passed by the full Senate. Note that the subject of “ethics” does not spring to mind when considering the jurisdiction of either of these committees. Thus, a conference committee was appointed to reconcile the differing versions.

I have reviewed several accounts of what transpired with the amended version of HB 875 and they all read the same way: the Senate hurriedly passed the conference committee’s version by a vote of 46 to 4, with 5 not voting and 1 excused, but did so largely in ignorance of what the amendment entailed (both Cowsert and Ginn voted in favor); once legislators got wind of what the conference committee bill actually did via the amendment, the measure failed in the House by a vote of 25 to 143, with 7 not voting and 5 excused (Heard and Williams voted against, only McKillip voted in favor).  Since the different House and Senate versions were never reconciled, in that the conference committee version failed in the House. the original bill was never passed:

For Ray Henry’s AP piece on the amended version of HB 875:

For Aaron Gould Sheinin and James Salzer’s AJC rundown of Balfour’s current ethical problems (with a hat tip to Atlanta Unfiltered’s Jim Walls – himself a former AJC editor and investigative reporter):

For PeachPundit editor Charlie Harper’s interesting take on the mess the Senate Republican Caucus has gotten itself into vis-à-vis Balfour:

For Chris Joyner’s AJC analysis of lobbyists’ spending during the 2012 legislative session:

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