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Denney now says he’ll allow full hearing on Sunshine Law expansion

The Idaho House speaker who single-handedly killed legislation this year to require personal financial disclosure from the state’s elected officials now says he won’t do it again. “In the upcoming session, if it comes back, I think we will try to make sure that it gets the full hearing and see where it goes,” said House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale.

The bipartisan bill, which passed the Senate unanimously and was drafted in part by Gov. Butch Otter’s office, died this year when Denney held it at his desk and never assigned it to a committee for a hearing. Recently, Idaho was again ranked last in the nation for its financial disclosure requirements for lawmakers. Jon Hanian, spokesman for Otter, said, “We’ve worked on this issue in the past and we’re going to continue to work on it.” Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said, “I applaud the speaker for his willingness to make progress on this legislative concept in the upcoming year, and look forward to working with” the House on the measure. You can read my full story here at www.spokesman.com.

Idaho ranks last again for disclosure

The Center for Public Integrity has come out with its latest ranking of states for their disclosure laws, and once again, Idaho has tied for last place - because it has no personal financial disclosure law at all for its elected officials. Washington, by contrast, ranked second in the nation and earned a grade of “A.” The center found that 14 states have improved their rankings since its last survey in 2006, but Idaho, Michigan and Vermont stayed smack-dab at the bottom, with no personal financial disclosure laws on the books.

Idaho took half a step toward such a law this year - a bipartisan proposal backed by Senate Republican and Democratic leaders and the governor passed the state Senate unanimously. But House Speaker Lawerence Denney never assigned it to a committee for a hearing in the House, so it died. Reporter Jared Hopkins has a story out today in the Times-News on Idaho’s poor showing; Idaho also ranked last in the center’s survey in 1999. Here’s a link to the center’s report.

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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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