Lovin’ the freebies

7 Feb

It’s amazing how good ideas can disappear forever but bad ideas keep coming back like an old habit.

Last year the legislature starting looking (again) and allowing state lawmakers be able to accept free tickets.

Things like public-affairs dinners, or maybe a garden party to promote agriculture, public-school fundraisers and so on.

The public went crazy and they backed off.

Not being able to leave a bad idea alone, they’re trying again.

Right now, State workers can not accept gifts – including free tickets and meals – that would influence or reward them for their official action.

The Ethics Commission says nothing over $25.

Here we go again.

A couple of politicians say the Ethics Commission is being more strict than previous Commissions and they don’t like it.

Democrat Representative Gilbert Keith-Agaran says, “I think there are still some people who are interested in having it clarified.”

Or…changed, we suspect.

So, at the request of the Abercrombie administration, there’s a bill in the House that would allow lawmakers and state employees to accept free tickets and invitations to widely attended charitable events sponsored by a nonprofit.

They would have to tell the Ethics Commission about the free tickets.

Fun fact:
There would be no limit on the dollar value of the tickets or the number of events lawmakers and state employees could attend each year.

One bit of common sense in this sea of shibai, no free tickets to golf tournaments.
And we know politicians love their golf.

House Bill 2457 will be looked at this week.

As they did last session, good-government groups are telling lawmakers not to mess with the gift ban.
If they want to go to an event – buy a damn ticket.

Fair enough.

This’ll be interesting to watch to see how it turns out.
Badly for good government we suspect.

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