Pence signs bill tightening Indiana’s state ethics laws

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has endorsed an overhaul of state ethics laws that requires greater financial disclosure by lawmakers and expressly prohibits elected officials from using state resources for political purposes.

The governor's office said Pence signed the bill Monday, a week after it won final legislative approval.

The law's provisions include tightening the rules on waivers for the state's one-year "cooling off" period for state agency officials taking private-sector jobs that would deal with their former departments. It also broadens the personal financial disclosures of lawmakers, such as requiring them to list any close relatives who are lobbyists and disclose any business ownership they have that are worth at least $500,000.

The measure, written by House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, bars any elected official or employee from using state money, facilities or personnel for political purposes.

That step follows an investigation into former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett's use of state staff and resources during his 2012 re-election campaign and a review of a senior lawmaker's private lobbying last year to kill legislation that could have cost his family's nursing home business millions of dollars.

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