This sounds like good legislation, but has the potential to be abused. I hope they go further and specify that appointees to these panels should be confirmed by the legislative body at the municipal level — short circuit the problems involved with the Housing Authority issue.
The State Senate voted 46-0 this morning to require local governments to create ethics panels to hear citizen complaints.
Under Senate Bill 372, the panels would have subpoena powers, and could impose up to a $1,000 fine for each violation of ethics law. They could impose the same fine against those who bring frivolous or unfounded complaints.
The bill also tightens requirements for professional lobbyists. Paid lobbyists who frequent the Capitol, but may not be advocating or opposing a particular piece of legislation, would be required to file disclosures of the money they spent on legislators.