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Monday, October 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Legislative leaders unveil new ethics manual for state lawmakers

State lawmakers including Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, look over the Idaho Legislature's new ethics manual during a mandatory, four-hour ethics training session on Wednesday. (Betsy Russell)
State lawmakers including Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, look over the Idaho Legislature's new ethics manual during a mandatory, four-hour ethics training session on Wednesday. (Betsy Russell)

Legislative leaders have distributed the Idaho Legislature’s new ethics manual to all lawmakers in the Lincoln Auditorium, as part of today’s ethics training. “Please write in the margins, please take notes,” House Speaker Scott Bedke told the group. “This is so important that I want this to be a work in progress.”

That’s why the new manual is in a three-ring binder, rather than bound. Bedke said it can be added to as needed. The new manual is entitled, “Ethics Handbook of the Idaho Legislature,” and lists, “Ethics Guidelines ~ Procedures ~ Rules and Statutes.”

Among the items in the handbook: A checklist for legislative newsletters sent out with public resources. “This is where we inevitably cross the line inadvertently,” Bedke said. “Spending public money in your campaign is an absolute no-no, period. … Be careful there. Here’s just a checklist of things that the Attorney General’s office has put together.”

There’s a section on the ethics commission process in both houses; all applicable state laws and rules; a set of questions and answers; and more. “We don’t do this from a vacuum,” Bedke said. “These are questions that come up in their office and our offices all the time.” He said, “If you learn the principle and follow that, you’ll probably be all right.”




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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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