Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Today, as Chairman of the House State Affairs Committee I conducted the first meeting of the committee in the new 25th Legislature, and made ethics bills the first bills to be heard. Following are my opening remarks:
As of this date, 10 bills addressing ethics legislation have been filed, 7 from the House, 3 from the Senate, and we have been promised an ethics bill from the Palin administration. That tells me that the legislature and the governor are making a positive response to the concerns of constituents from all over the state. In a manner of speaking, our constituents are applying some heat, and we’re beginning to see the light. The folks who elected us want us to act with all deliberate speed to enact tough, but fair and reasonable, improved ethics legislation.

Everybody knows that no ethics legislation will make an unethical person ethical. That said, better ethics legislation can help keep good people out of trouble by making more clear what is and is not a conflict of interest, and can provide remedial help to the “ethically challenged.” Most of all, better ethics legislation can improve public trust of elected officials which, in turn, can help bring about all manner of good things. As one example, if we are successful in raising the level of trust between our constituents and the government, it should make it easier to trust what happens in forthcoming gas pipeline negotiations.

We have before us today HB10, which is a bi-partisan bill with 10 prime co-sponsors, 5 Republicans and 5 Democrats. We think a bipartisan approach to ethics legislation is critical, because ethics has no party label. This is not a time for partisan politics. It’s time for improved ethics legislation. That’s what the public wants, and that’s what we should deliver.

That said, I’m pleased that we also have on today’s agenda HB20, which is another good ethics bill, that addresses similar concerns to HB 10. And, like I said, there are also other ethics bills that need to be looked at.

As Governor Palin said, during her State of the State address, she would like to see “a” ethics bill enacted, rather than a hodgepodge of bills that attempt to address only one aspect of the ethics situation but could miss the big picture, possibly interfere with each other, and lead to unintended consequences. I agree. It’s also not important whose names appear on the bill. It’s important that this committee “come reason together” to craft a good bill in a timely manner.

With these thoughts in mind, I suggest that the committee consider hearing the various bills – HB10 and HB20, on today’s agenda, and maybe some others – and then combine the best of all the proposed ethics bills into one State Affairs Committee bill or, as another alternative, use Governor Palin’s bill as a vehicle that combines the best parts of the various bills. I suggest we have a sub-committee try to put the parts together. That would create an omnibus bill ethics bill that takes all of our sponsors names off an enacted ethics bill – which you may remember was one of the suggestions we heard during the ethics training we all received last Thursday. For these reasons, I do not intend to move any ethics bills out of committee today.

We need to consider these bills carefully, and do our best to avoid unintended consequences. And, when various suggestions come forth from folks who may testify, we should make our best effort to separate the message from the messenger. I also want this committee to avoid “paralysis by analysis.” We know our bill won’t be perfect, because we are not perfect legislators, and no amount of analysis will make it perfect. The bottom line is, we proceed with all deliberate speed to move a reasonable ethics bill, sooner rather than later, to the Judiciary Committee.

To help us wade through the various ethics bills that are being offered, you’ll find a grid in your package that compares the bills with each other. As you can see from the grid, most bills are going in the same direction. With that thought in mind, I propose that we now consider the provisions of HB10, and hear testimony about HB10 which, in brief:

1) Bans legislators from accepting outside payment for work associated with legislative, political or administrative actions while in office or one year there after.

2) Requires legislators to produce greater detail in financial disclosures and work description for any outside consulting jobs.

3) Requires legislative employees and legislators leaving service to file disclosures if the related relationship occurred during service.


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