Ethics Reform in Utah: The People Speak

(Cross-posted at Utah Legislature Watch)

Authors at Utah Legislature Watch have posted numerous articles in the past about Utah Legislators Ethics. This year will be no exception . since even before the session begins, there is already continued talk about ethics reform.

Last week the Deseret News published an article about a bill that has come out of committee on ethics reform. the bill proposes the formation of an independent panel which would serve as a clearning house for complaints against legislators.

The proposal, allowing private citizens to initiate complaints, would bring in an independent voice to ethics enforcement on Utah’s Capitol Hill for the first time. Currently, only sitting lawmakers can bring allegations against their colleagues and the complaints are judged solely by other legislators meeting behind closed doors.

Utahns for Ethics in Government is not entirely satisfied wtih this bill, however. The group is currently working on a citizen’s initiative that would overhaul the ethics process. The article quotes member Kim Burningham,

“We still have some major concerns” regarding transparency and fairness, “We believe in a lot more openness.”

Other ethics adovcates are on board with the initiative such as Utahns for Ethical Government. There continues to be debate between these groups and legislators regarding the language and “loopholes” in the initiave. The few comments to the D-News article so far allude to legislators being nervous about handing things over to the citizens.
As well they should be. It’s time for the people to oversee the activities of their employees, the state legislators, to ensure transparency in Utah’s government.


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