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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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