Ethics, schmethics -- it's time for Fair Boundaries | Buzz Blog

Ethics, schmethics -- it's time for Fair Boundaries

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Seems the Legislature has got the message that Utah voters are all het up about ethics.

A popular citizens' initiative -- which would establish an independent ethics commission, place an outright ban on lobbyist gifts and, at last, impose some reforms with teeth -- is growing into such a menace it got the honorable folks on the Hill thinking of ways to defuse the threat. ---

House Republicans have found a solution in their ethics-reform bill: Basically, it will create something called an "ethics commission" and Constitutionally enshrine another "disclosure" system -- which is supposed to be better than our current disclosure system because it requires lawmakers to fill out more paperwork.

It's hard to see what effect, if any, the Republican bill would have on lawmakers' bad behavior. Likely, it would simply make it more difficult for citizens to enact real ethics reform through the initiative process -- and, come election time, provide its supporters with a bit of dubious political cover.

Reform fever comes and goes, and tinkering with disclosure laws never really seems to generate results. It's likely the Legislature will once again succeed in dodging that terrifying lobbyist gift ban the citizens have sought for so long.

Either way, it's of little consequence to lawmakers, whose seats are so electorally safe it's unlikely they'll ever face any consequences from us mere voters. That's what comes of letting legislators draw the boundaries for their own districts.

Clearly, it's time for us to throw our weight behind that other, less-publicized citizens' initiative: the Fair Boundaries petition.

Fair boundaries are better than ethics reform -- there is no politician more responsive to constituents than one who is scared of losing office.

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