House Republicans Propose Ethics Bill for Special Session

House Republicans to Propose Ethics Bill during February Special Session
By Oregon House Republican Office

SALEM””House Republicans will introduce an ethics bill during the 2010 special session to set a “waiting period” on legislators before they can seek and obtain non-elected positions in the state’s executive branch. The bill would extend the current moratorium on private-sector lobbying to include legislators who are seeking management positions in state agencies.”Oregonians should feel confident that legislators are not using their positions to obtain higher-paying jobs in state government,” said House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg). “If we are going to temporarily ban legislators from seeking certain positions in the private sector, then we should also temporarily ban them from seeking similar positions in the public sector.

“There’s a double-standard in current ethics law because legislators are allowed to immediately move to an agency and lobby their former colleagues on the agency’s behalf,” Rep. Hanna added. “With billions of taxpayer dollars at stake, the current practice further erodes the public’s confidence in their state government.”

The proposal would require legislators to wait until the end of the next regular legislative session before they can seek and obtain work for state agencies. House Republicans say they would also consider adding a provision preventing legislators from using their new state positions to enhance their PERS benefits.

House Republicans say that average citizens and rank-and-file state employees are being shut out of employment opportunities in favor of sitting legislators who’ve had direct influence over an agency’s finances and policies.

“Legislators should have to compete with all other Oregonians for employment in the executive branch,” said Deputy Republican Leader Kevin Cameron (R-Salem). “A mandatory waiting period may be the only way we can assure a fair process for hiring people or promoting current employees within an agency.”