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House speaker proposes lobbying reforms

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Indiana Speaker of the House B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, will propose a comprehensive series of ethics reforms in the 2010 legislative session that he said will impact lawmakers, members of the executive branch, and people who do business with the state.

Bauer has proposed three areas of reform: legislative branch restrictions, executive branch restrictions, and state contracting and contributions.

Lobbyists would be required to report any gift of more than $50 to a legislator, legislative candidate, or legislative employee. Anyone who holds a state elected office may not register as a lobbyist for one year after leaving office. Lobbyists also won't be able to represent multiple clients if there's a conflict of interest between those clients.

The proposed reforms also will require:

- Anyone appointed to a position in the executive branch by the governor won't be allowed to register as a lobbyist for one year after leaving the post.

- Committees representing the governor or any gubernatorial candidate will be prohibited from soliciting contributions or having fundraisers during the long session of the General Assembly or for a time period around Organization Day.

- People with state government contracts or who bid on contracts will be prohibited from making political contributions to individuals who hold state office or run for state office. Those who bid on or receive contracts will have to register with the state's election division. Violators will receive civil and criminal penalties and may lose their state contracts.

"By enacting these guidelines, we will make sure that any expenditure of state funds are based upon the quality of a contractor's work product rather than the size of their political contributions. These are reforms demanded by the people of Indiana, and I will move quickly to see them become law in 2010," Bauer said in a statement today.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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