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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Ethics panel: All will be done in the open

Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, said he'd like the Attorney General's office to provide the House Ethics Committee with a legal briefing on the constitutional provision regarding legislative privilege from arrest or civil process during sessions. Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, said, "That certainly is appropriate." Rep. Bill Killen, D-Boise, also asked for briefing on applicable laws. Deputy
Attorney General Brian Kane said there are two issues: The constitutional privilege provision and whether it was abused, including questions about related laws; and House Rule 38 regarding conflicts of interest. On the constitutional privilege, Kane noted, "Since there is a current, live legal proceeding with regard to that, that question may actually be answered by a court." But that doesn't stop the committee from ruling on the issue with regard to ethics rules, he said.

Loertscher told the committee members that as soon as he receives Hart's response, "I'll see that you get that the minute that I receive that, so that you have a chance to review that." Questioned by committee Vice Chair Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, on whether that document and others in the proceeding are public, Loertscher said, "Absolutely. All of this is done in the open. There's no executive privilege here whatsoever. Everything that I receive with regard to this I'll make sure that you all get a copy of that."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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