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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Party-line vote adopts new Senate ethics rules

The Senate has adopted proposed new ethics rules in a straight party-line vote, 28-7. In his closing debate, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis said, "There's a lot that was said in opposition to the bill that I agree with." But he said a public ethics process before probable cause has been determined "does not ... preserve reputations against frivolous allegations." He said, "When we make it part of the public discourse, let's at least have confidence that we've met a probable cause standard, and if we have, then it should be part of the public discourse."

He noted that the new rule includes provisions for ethics complaints for conduct unbecoming a senator, which wasn't previously in the rule, along with complaints for violating any state law "that brings discredit or embarrassment to the Senate or that constitutes a breach of public trust."

Davis said, "We and our predecessors care about the Senate, and I have confidence that our successors will be similarly devoted, and if not, the people of the state of Idaho know how to correct that, and they should." He said he thinks the new rule sets "substantially increased standards for ethical review."

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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