Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Deseret News: Proposed Ethics - Too Strict to Live By?

Some Utah legislators are already screaming bloody murder about a citizens' initiative which would enact broad Utah legislative ethics reform

There was more news about Utah state legislative ethics reform late last evening from the Deseret News, which reports that some members of the state legislature are already firing back at the grass roots organizations Utahs For Ethical Government and Fair Boundaries, who are beginning the process of gathering signatures for a citizen's initiative which would enact a strict code of ethical standards for Utah lawmakers and create an independent ethics commission to apply the code and make enforcement recommendations to the Utah state legislature. You can read the full text of the proposed citizens' initiative here:
Government Ethics Reform -Final Version
Those readers who'd prefer NOT to wade through the esoteric legal jargon can read the shorter Executive Summary here:
Executive Summary
Deseret News columnist Bob Bernick reports that citizen legislators such as House Majority Leader Kevin Garn, (R-Layton) and Senator Howard Stephenson, (R-Draper) are screaming bloody murder that the legislation contained in the proposed initiative would trample legislators' constitutional rights... and we found this comment from Representative Garn to be downright laughable:
"Under this initiative, any three people in Utah could (bring a complaint and) ruin your reputation," said House Majority Leader Kevin Garn, R-Layton, who has attended detailed briefings on the initiative presented by legislative attorneys. "It has so many unintended consequences, you could be a legislator trying to do the right thing in your business and your legislative work, and you get nailed. It is ugly and mean-spirited."
We believe Mr. Garn's statement illustrates the precise reason that it's time for Utah citizens to pick up the reins, sign the petition and enact this legislation, which will drain the ethical swamp that's existed in the Utah legislature for far too many years. If Mr. Garn doesn't realize that it's already his unwritten ethical obligation as a state legislator to leave the special interests of his private clients (and campaign donors) at the door when he enters the legislative chambers, this new proposed legislation will certainly clarify the situation for him.

At the beginning of the last legislative session, there were almost four dozen bills aimed at creating broad changes in the state legislature's ethical landscape. By the end of session, the legislature had killed most of these bills... and instead passed paltry legislation which we labelled the equivalent of hitting the snooze button.

As State Senator Scott McCoy, (D-Salt Lake) says, The Legislature "has only nibbled around the corners" of true ethics reform. "The heavy lifting — like this initiative — has not been done. And it is perfectly appropriate for citizens to say, 'We'll do it for you,' if the Legislature itself won't."

We couldn't be more in agreement.

And if this proposed new law would result in a flurry of legislator resignations, as Rep. Garn suggests, we hope these departing legislators won't let the screen door slap them on the backside as they scurry out the State Capitol back door.

We'll continue to keep our eye on this highly-encouraging grass-roots movement, and will publish information about how to get your signatures affixed to a petition as this matter progresses.

That's it for now.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.


Curmudgeon said...

I wonder what's so hard for so many of them to understand about this: "When it comes to gifts of any kind worth any amount from persons who have, or are likely to have, business pending before the legislature, just say no!"

If they all had just said no over the past years to all those golf trips and pricey dinners and Jazz tickets, the referendum movement would not be happening.

But they didn't.

We could call it the "Not Even a Cup of Coffee Rule." That should make it acceptable among the LDS majority of the Utah House and Senate, que no?

OgdenLover said...

I've lived all over the country and am appalled at the level of corruption I see in both local and State government here in Utah. People in general don't seem to realize that certain behaviors are unethical.

It's time to clear the air and get this bill passed.

blackrulon said...

Since the legislators draw a salary and benefits from the state why wouldn't laws and regulations that state employees comply with also apply to the legislators?

JEFF said...

Why does it take a gay senator with ethics and a moral background to bring this up front? Seem that the Buttars, Garn, and other self serving politicians are lacking in trying to do the right thing for the citizens of Utah. I hope the voters remember this come elections.

Take away their campaign chests and make it illegal to use funds for their private use.

From The Standard-Ex said...

The S-E will tweet from tonight's city council meeting

RudiZink said...

That's Great Scott. Whadda ya think will happen tonight,considering the RDA/Council agenda?

5. Administration Reports:
a. Bond Purchase Agreement. Proposed Resolution 2009-5 authorizing the issuance and sale by the Agency of its Taxable Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2009, in the aggregate principal amount of not to exceed $31,000,000 for the purpose of refunding certain of its outstanding bonds and paying costs of issuance; authorizing the execution by the Agency of an Indenture of Trust, a Contribution Agreement, a Bond Purchase Agreement, a Reimbursement Agreement, a Remarketing Agreement, and an Official Statement, and related documents; confirming the sale of the aforesaid Series 2009 Bonds; authorizing the taking of all other actions necessary to the consummation of the transaction contemplated by this resolution; and related matters. (Adopt/not adopt resolution – roll call vote)

Do you think the council will possibly vote down tonight's major agenda item, whereby our city council, with their backs to the wall, will inevitably reject Boss Godfrey's latest Junction re-fi scheme?

In his idiocy, yer pal, Big Borrowing and Spending Boss Godfrey has irretrievably painted the Council/RDA into a financial corner, with the Junction project which is hemorrhaging taxpayer money like a stuck pig.

Do you think the council/RDA has any other alternative, Mr. Schwebke, other than to approve incurring another $1+ million in costs, interest and fees?

What a laugh, Schwebke.

Face it Scott. You're not a newsman. Rather, you're a shameless Godfrey shill.

Your raptorial karma ain't looking so good either; and don't expect to find a link here on WCF for any of your your lame-ass "tweets."

We already know where the wind is blowing on this.

Biker Babey Babey said...

Did Rudi-toot have a bad day?

just sayin


RudiZink said...

Actually, BBB.... now that you ask... Rudi had a very GOOD day today. Thus he's not inclined to let Mr. Schwebke mess it up.

And what does Schwebke expect our otherwise financially prudent council to do tonight? Say no to the refi, and screw up Ogden's bonding credit for the next twenty years?

The result of tonite's RDA/Council meeting is already etched in granite.

Thanx for axing, though, Ms. Biker Baby Babe!

I Thot I Thaw a Puddy Cat said...

Here's a tweet from our friend Scott:

@standardex God says there is considerable interest from multiple developers for Ogden River Project

The usual attention to detail is evident.

Howard Beale said...

I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!!

chuckle said...

Now there can be no further debate over whether Scott Schwebke thinks the mayor is God.

Curmudgeon said...


Please see Wed. edition of the SE, lead story. By Mr. Schwebke. About how the River Project has not gotten the necessary riverbank easements from landowners necessary required by the recently announced grants for the project, despite city consultant assurances that property owners were on board.

Bill C. said...

Danny, I have two contracts between the City and Leshem, one is with a Miri Leshem, his wife I believe, and the other is with a Mori Lesham, a typo or another family member. No legal documents I have come across as of yet name Gadi Lesham. Isn't this somewhat peculiar? Why isn't the heat and ridicule directed at the proper person? And why would the City go overboard getting into bed with a guy that for whatever reasons won't put his name on the line?
Does this show that the City was fully aware of not only his legal problems at the time they entered these agreements, but also that their efforts could be subject to the Court in California?
One big black eye for the idiots at the City BD dept. Now they have lied in an effort to get fed money for this guys personal benefit and in all likelyhood made liars of River Restoration LLC as well.
Typical of this administration, this little grant is just the initial step in what is planned to be an eleven million dollar river restoration effort, bet you didn't know that, and they've all ready screwed up the first step.
The clandestine underhanded lying little matty way of doing things is always so exciting, you gotta love it.

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