A Senate panel on Tuesday approved a bill aimed at strengthening the state ethics laws, which provide financial rules of conduct for public officials and lobbyists.
Under the bill, Ethics commissioners would serve five-year staggered terms. The House and the Senate would appoint two members each, and the governor would appoint four. Currently the governor appoints nine commissioners who are subject to approval by the General Assembly.
Aimed at keeping any one branch of government from having too much influence over the Ethics Commission, the bill is among a flurry of ethics legislation before lawmakers this legislative session.
A previous ethics reform proposal stalled in June. And in October former House Speaker Bobby Harrell stepped down after facing charges of misconduct while in office.
Several activists and policy groups say many of the new bills are a step in the wrong direction because many of them relax campaign finance laws and fail to end self-policing by legislators.
The South Carolina Policy Council released its assessment of this year’s ethic reform on Friday. Find their assessment here: http://www.scpolicycouncil.org/research/reform-restructuring/newethicsbills