The state Senate is taking another run at rewriting legislative and campaign ethics laws today.
The House and the Senate are working on separate bills, both borne out of criminal charges against four lawmakers or former lawmakers within the last year. Much of the focus is on money–who gives it, who gets it, who demands it, and why.
Senate leader Charlie Shields sponsors the bill in his chamber. he expects a lot of amendments and possibly a long day today.
If there is one issue emerging as a stumbling block, it’s limiting campaign donations. The House leadership says it would be okay with limits. Shields says it’s not okay with him.
“Contribution limits take away transparence,” he says. But he’s not threatening to kill the bill in the House puts contribution limits into it.
Shields is the sponsor of the Senate bill. He and floor leader Kevin Engler admit they’re watching how the House bill develops. They say some provisions of the House proposal already have been added to the Senate bill, a move that narrows the issues on which compromise is needed if there is to be a new ethics law.