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Ethics: ‘The best we can do for right now’

Among comments in the Senate debate this afternoon on proposed new ethics rules:

Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, who chaired the Senate Ethics Committee this year and helped draft the rules, said, “My heart is broken. … This I believe is the best we can get and we can do for right now. Is it perfect? No. Will it ever be perfect? Probably not.”

Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise, said, “Yes we value openness, but we also place some value on the dignity of the individual … on fairness. … In my view this resolution strengthens our rules.”

Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said, “This really was an effort to try to be fair to everyone, in both parties, in all parts of the state. I was so naive I actually thought the minority would join in on this. I had heard comments that it probably should be kept confidential until there was some kind of reasonable cause. … There are so many things we could have done with this to make it unfair.” He said the rule tried to “protect the innocent, and yet to protect people's right to know if there's been a violation.”

Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello: “The best, not perfect, the best approach of being acceptable to what we all might see to be fair, would be for both sides to come together and figure it out together. That's what experience teaches me. … We could have perhaps arrived at a proposal that we all could have bought into, but we didn't. … That process was absent.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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