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Monday, January 25, 2010 - 12:48pm

Lawmakers Consider Ethics Reforms

State lawmakers held an ethics hearing today, as they are considering over a dozen bills meant to reform ethics laws in Georgia.

The push for action this year is due to the resignation of Speaker Glenn Richardson following an alleged affair with a lobbyist. Lawmakers heard testimony from Bob Irwin, a former Republican member of the state House.

Irwin is now president of the advocacy group Common Cause. He told lawmakers, that ethics reform is generally tough to pass, but this year they have help as public opinion is in their favor.

"There's been a scandal here that focuses peoples attention on these kinds of issues," Irwin says. "And it creates the opportunity to pass bills that should have been passed long ago."

Common cause wants limits on campaign contributions and lobbyist spending. They want an independent ethics panel to investigate complaints and an ethics code for lawmakers.

State lawmakers say they will hold more hearings on ethics reform before passing any major changes.

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