SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Governor Palin Disappointed Over Passage of
Watered-Down Ethics Bill
Calls it "Politics As Usual"


March 06, 2007

Two landmark ethics bills Senate Bill 19 and Senate Bill 20 that would take big steps in restoring the public's confidence in the Alaska legislature and the executive branch passed unanimously out of the Alaska Senate Monday afternoon. However Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is disappointed over passage of the watered-down ethics bill. Governor Palin on Monday criticized the failure of the Senate to adopt Senate Bill 19 amendments to further tighten ethics legislation.



Governor Palin said, "Today, the Senate considered amendments and passed SB 19, Senator French's ethics bill. The Governor's office requested that some amendments be offered today on the Senate Floor that would incorporate some measures from the Governor's ethics bill. All but one amendment was rejected by the Senate Majority Working Group on a straight-line caucus vote."

"I am very disappointed in the process," said Governor Palin. "My office, in conjunction with Dave Jones from the Department of Law, has worked hard and cooperatively to come up with meaningful and comprehensive ethics reform. As I stated earlier in the session, I do not have any pride in authorship but I can not just stand by allowing lip service to be paid to ethics reform while Alaskans stand to lose."

Governor Palin continued, "In one example, my office requested the Senate to adopt an amendment that would prevent executive branch employees from accepting any gift from a registered lobbyist. The amendment would not impact the legislature. I feel very strongly that if we are really going to clean things up, we must remove the ability of those individuals who are paid to influence decision makers from providing gifts. To not adopt the provision is absolutely outrageous."

"My hope was that the Senate Majority was following our lead in setting politics aside and doing what is best for Alaska," said Governor Palin. It appears today, some politicians are more interested in politics as usual."

Sen. Hollis French (D ­ Anchorage) is the prime sponsor for both ethics bills. "Every legislator came to Juneau this year with ethics legislation as one of their top priorities," said French. "Both bills are a great example of good teamwork between the majority and minority in the committee process."

SB 19 is the executive branch ethics bill. It declares that either $5,000 worth of stock, or one percent of a company's stock, whichever is less, means the employee must remove him or herself from any state action that could effect the investment.

SB 20 deals with legislative disclosures. Legislators will be required to disclose any type of work classified as personal services when paid $1,000 or more. They also have to give a substantive description of the work and the number of hours spent on it to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

"Alaska has a citizen legislature and that means lawmakers have the right to earn a living outside of their legislative duties," said Senate President Lyda Green (R ­ Wasilla). "But lawmakers have a responsibility and the public has the right to know how they earn that living so the public's trust in both branches of government is preserved."

Both bills now go to the state House.


Source of News:

Office of Gov. Palin

Alaska State Senate


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska