skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Good-Government Groups Have Guarded Praise for Amended Ethics Bill

play audio
Play

Monday, April 20, 2015   

RICHMOND, Va. – After passing an ethics bill that drew criticism and amendments from the governor, the Virginia General Assembly has added lawmaker gift limits to legislation that is earning guarded praise.

Embarrassed by the corruption trial of former Gov. Bob McDonnell, the assembly passed ethics legislation, but the initial bill was criticized by state newspapers and good-government groups as too weak.

Ben Greenberg, the legislative coordinator for the citizen group Virginia Organizing, says current Gov. Terry McAuliffe made more than 50 amendments to strengthen the bill. He says most of these weren't accepted, but a few were.

"Not the least of which was the limit on gifts, a $100 annual cap that will, I think, make a significant difference," Greenberg states

McDonnell was convicted of accepting gifts in return for using his office to help a businessman who sold dietary supplements. McAuliffe is likely to sign the amended bill.

Some General Assembly leaders have criticized the process as media driven, saying it would not have happened if not for news coverage.

Greenberg says another way to put that is to say public pressure forced the assembly to do the right thing. And he says while the amended version is far from perfect, it's likely the issues will be addressed again.

"This is not legislation that's been passed and will be static and never changing,” he points out. “These are the kinds of things that will be considered again, I'm sure, in future years."

Greenberg adds one issue the bill should have dealt with is Virginia campaign finance system. He says there are no limits in state law to the size of donations, and he says that leads to donors having undue influence.

Another issue the legislation doesn't address is public access to the legislative process. According to Transparency Virginia, three quarters of bills that died in House committees in 2015 died on a voice vote – meaning there is no record of how individual lawmakers voted.

And Greenberg says there are other ways the assembly is becoming closed off to the public – such as when, at a meeting he attended, the chairman cut off someone who wanted to comment on a bill.

"He stated in this meeting, 'If I let you speak, I'm going to have to let everyone speak,'” Greenberg relates. “And the chairman had the subcommittee consider the bill hearing no testimony whatsoever."





get more stories like this via email

more stories
House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

play sound

The Alabama House and Senate both passed bills this week that would help people resume in vitro fertilization and provide legal protections for provid…


Environment

play sound

It's early in the season for wildfires in Nebraska, but dozens of firefighters have already been battling a large wildfire near North Platte for …

Social Issues

play sound

A new report finds some Missouri laws and prospective laws are perceived as discriminatory regardless of their actual intent - and it outlines some bi…


Many transmission projects already follow highway corridors, but depending on the state, policy experts say laws can make it harder to add new power lines along federal interstates. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

By Frank Jossi for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Joyce Foundation-Public News Ser…

Environment

play sound

By Claire Carlson, John Upton and Kaitlyn Trudeau for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Oregon News Service for the Public …

From book bans to teacher qualifications, a new national report from the Network of Public Education examines the laws and policies that support or undermine each state's public schools and the students who attend them. (Pixabay)

Social Issues

play sound

A new Network for Public Education report grades Florida an "F" for its public school funding. As Florida lawmakers negotiate the state budget in …

Social Issues

play sound

As members of Congress and presidential candidates battle it out over immigration, a group of Nevada leaders and experts dedicated to advancing …

Social Issues

play sound

A bill in Olympia would open access to unemployment while workers are on strike, but time is running out for lawmakers to pass the legislation…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021