Ex-lawmaker unhappy with conflict law proposal

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on an Alaska legislative ethics bill (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

A former Alaska lawmaker is unhappy with the proposed repeal of conflict of interest provisions included in a broader ethics law he sponsored last year.

Former Rep. Jason Grenn says simply repealing the language takes “the easy way out.”

Legislation introduced Wednesday would roll back provisions lawmakers considered too restrictive.

The legislative ethics committee interpreted those provisions to mean that legislators can participate in committee and floor debate and vote on bills where they have conflicts provided they declare their conflicts. But they can’t have similar discussions in private.

Grenn says he agrees that interpretation went too far.

But he thinks a compromise can be reached that will address Alaskans’ desire for stronger conflict of interest rules and better define the law to not restrict lawmakers’ ability to do their jobs.

1:05 p.m.

New legislation would roll back conflict of interest provisions passed last year that some Alaska lawmakers saw as too restrictive.

The legislative ethics committee has interpreted those provisions to mean that legislators can participate in committee and floor debate and vote on bills where they have conflicts provided they declare their conflicts. But they can’t have similar discussions in private.

Those sections of the law would revert back to what previously existed, under the bill introduced Wednesday by the Senate Rules Committee.

Committee chair, Sen. John Coghill, says he doesn’t see this as relaxing ethics laws but providing a reset to allow for a fuller conversation on the issue later.

The bill wouldn’t change other pieces of the law, addressing such things as legislative allowances and travel and lobbyist activities.

AP-WF-03-13-19 2320GMT

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