Thursday, December 17, 2009

Governor Pushing New Ethics Package

Gov. Bill Richardson just announced a package of ethics reforms in the 2010 legislative session in January.

The proposals include some old ideas and new. Among them:

* An independent Ethics Commission to provide independent oversight of the executive and legislative branches and all state employees. It would receive and investigate complaints by concerned citizens and whistleblowers. The commission would also have strong powers to investigate and discipline, including the ability to fine, censure, and reprimand public officials, state employees, lobbyists, contractors and officials.

* PSA Prohibitions-Prohibit candidates from using taxpayer money or state resources, for advertisements or public service announcements, except in the case of an emergency when the announcement is directly related to the candidate’s official function.

Governor Richardson voluntarily stopped appearing in PSA’s during his successful 2006 re-election campaign.

* Campaign Contribution Prohibitions-Bans campaign contributions from corporations, state contractors, and lobbyists.

* State Contractor Disclosures-Requires potential state contractors to disclose any campaign contributions of $250 or more made during the two years prior to entering into any bid solicitations.

* Legislator to Lobbyists Rules-Bans former lawmakers from being paid to lobby the legislature for one-year after they leave office or their term expires.

* Whistleblower Protection Act-Prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers.