Ethics Commission Begins to Hammer Out Details of Ethics Bill


North Dakotans voted in favor of an ethics commission during the midterm elections. Like any legislation, it has to be given a public committee hearing, be voted on by all legislators, and be signed by the governor. 

This bill would require more transparency from lawmakers, including their relationships with lobbyists. 
Part of the legislation would prohibit lawmakers from accepting gifts. Today was the first meeting about the bill. It lingered over definitions of things like gifts and lobbyists. Those in opposition say those definitions are unclear and that it shouldn’t be left to lawmakers to determine if the person speaking with them is a lobbyist or just a concerned citizen. We caught up with the measure’s author on how she feels lawmakers are doing as amendments are added.

Ellen Chaffee: “I’m really impressed with the seriousness the committee is taking. There were lots of really good questions, and I think they were paying attention to the answers. Once you’re familiar with the bill, it’s pretty simple.”

There is a house and senate version of this bill as lawmakers work to craft a version that best maintains the original intent.

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