Floor work on the first week consisted of four different ethics bills. The first bill made it clear that no statewide official or member of the General Assembly could serve as a paid political consultant while in office. This prevents public offices from being used for personal gain. The second bill requires elected officials to file a personal financial disclosure two times per year instead of once as current law provides. The third measure requires elected officials to have a one-year "cooling off" period after leaving office before becoming lobbyists. This should help guarantee fewer distractions and barriers to good governance. Finally, we required all elected officials to report lodging and travel expenses in a timely manner. Expenses shall be filed within 30 days of a reportable event. All four of these bills passed with a wide margin and are now on their way to the Senate for their consideration. These are by no means all the bills dealing with ethics that we will be hearing but for the first full week of session, passing four bills is a good indication of how serious the Speaker is when it comes to ethics reform.
Two Voter ID bills were heard in committee and should make their way to the floor this week. One bill is a Constitutional Amendment, which would be placed on the ballot for voters to decide. The other bill would put a voter ID system in place in the event voters approve the Amendment.
Even though this is a short week because of the Monday holiday, there is a lot of work scheduled. I will be holding my final roundtable discussion on the Juvenile Office set of statewide standards. I am still hoping that the Supreme Court will simply enact the standards and save the General Assembly the time and trouble of drafting legislation to put them in statute. Whichever way it goes, I'm really happy with the work done by the Juvenile Officers Association in drawing up the rules. I'll let you know next week how it turns out. Until then, I am and remain in your service.