Legislators reconcile differences to strengthen ethics bill

Published: May. 31, 2016 at 11:21 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2016 at 10:41 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Lawmakers are working to settle differences on a bill to strengthen legislative ethics rules.

House bill 3184 would reconfigure the state ethics commission and give it authority to begin independent investigations.

Members of a joint conference committee on the bill made progress Tuesday afternoon. Although members of the House and Senate passed conflicting versions of the bill, the committee agreed to adopt most of the elements of the House version.

"As a prosecutor, I'm a fan," said Rep. Tommy Pope. "As an end user, I'm a fan because of the third-party investigation component. I think the concern is that, if something came in, there was an allegation I want independent people to look at it if it's being alleged against. And I think from a citizen's standpoint, that independence, even if they don't find probable cause will be better for the public trust because they won't think it's my friends and my cronies who said I didn't do anything wrong."

Rep. Pope said he thinks legislators are close to an agreement to get the bill to Gov. Nikki Haley this week.

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