Some Alaska lawmakers say new ethics rules are too limiting

FILE - This April 2, 2012, file photo shows the front entrance of the Alaska state Capitol building in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Some Alaska legislators say a new ethics law aimed at addressing conflicts of interest goes too far, limiting interactions with constituents and their ability to weigh in on bills where they have expertise.

The law’s sponsor, former state Rep. Jason Grenn, said the interpretation of the law by a legislative ethics committee is too expansive. He says he wanted to bring light to any conflicts at the committee level and on the House and Senate floors.

The committee has interpreted the law as applying also to private meetings.

Ethics officials say legislators can participate in committee and floor debate on bills where they have a conflict and vote though they are to publicly declare their conflicts. But they can’t have similar discussions in private with fellow lawmakers or others.

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