Stronger Indiana ethics law includes more help for legislators to comply

Seeking to improve transparency and remove conflicts of interest for elected officials, Indiana lawmakers have revamped their state’s ethics laws. According to the South Bend Tribune, legislators will be required to report more on their financial-disclosure forms and on their statements of economic interest. They must now report close relatives who are lobbyists, for example, and also disclose any business interest worth at least $500,000.

HB 1002 also creates a new Office of Legislative Ethics. Housed within the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, this new office will help lawmakers understand and follow the state’s ethics rules. Indiana’s two legislative chambers must also adopt their own codes of ethics and provide training to members.
Three years ago, the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity evaluated each state on the laws it had in place to ensure “legislative accountability.” Its grades were based on the strength of state conflict-of-interest rules and public access to records on legislative proceedings and to the asset-disclosure records of elected officials. No state in the Midwest received higher than a C- in the report.
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Stateline Midwest - May 20151.2 MB