Ethics Reform Bills Should Be Heard Immediately
Time to Act on Ethics Issues Is Now
Raleigh, N.C. – Since May 19, 2009, three ethics bills (H944, H961, H1136) passed with broad bipartisan support by the House have been sitting in the Senate Judiciary I Committee chaired by Democratic leader Martin Nesbitt. None have been scheduled for committee consideration. H944 requires disclosure of campaign contribution activity by those appointed to critical positions in state government. H961 is aimed at prohibiting conflicts of interest involving political contributions by important state contractors. H1136 would prevent certain employees of the executive branch from registering as lobbyists for six months after leaving employment with the state.
House Republican Leader Paul Stam (R-Wake) said, “Senate Democrats have had a year to consider these common sense measures. It is now time to act.”
In addition, three bills filed by Senator R.C. Soles (D-Brunswick) have drawn criticism from supporters of ethics reform and even from Brunswick County Democrats. (“Brunswick Dems urge R.C. Soles Jr. to withdraw controversial bills,” Cape Fear Watchdog$, 5/28/10) S1341 is a bill that would change the pension eligibility for judicial branch employees who retire after their 62nd birthday with 20 years or more of creditable service. The bill appears designed to benefit Rex Gore, Brunswick County’s District Attorney and a longtime Soles ally, who recently lost his re-election primary. S1340 and S1408 would split the judicial district in Brunswick, Bladen, and Columbus counties.
Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “These bills exemplify precisely the type of self-serving legislation that erodes public confidence in government and elected officials. If Democratic state leaders are truly interested in strengthening ethics in state government, they must make it clear that they will do everything possible to stop these bills from becoming law.”Tweet