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The Associated Press

Jindal's transition team on ethics reform holds first meeting

11/15/2007, 6:55 p.m. CST

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal's transition team held its first public meeting on Thursday, hearing from advocates who want the Legislature to approve ethics reform legislation.

Jindal, who plans to call a special legislative session on the topic early next year, opened the meeting by repeating his campaign pledge that he'd back ethics bills aimed at cutting down on public corruption and cleaning up Louisiana's reputation.

Jindal assembled the 47-member group, the Advisory Council on Ethics, to advise him on legislation tied to the ethics themes he stressed in his campaign, including: public income disclosure for elected officials; preventing elected officials doing business deals with the state government; and tougher penalties for those who break ethics laws.

Advocates who spoke included Ruthie Frierson, founder of Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, which backed the 2006 passage of legislation to consolidate the metropolitan area's levee boards; and Stephen Moret, head of Baton Rouge's chamber of commerce, chief supporter of a financial disclosure bill that died in the Legislature this year.

Committee members also quizzed two experts on ethics laws: Peggy Kerns, a former Colorado lawmaker now head of the Center for Ethics in Government, part of the National Conference of State Legislators; and David Reisman, head of the state ethics commission in Texas, whose ethics laws are considered among the most effective at boosting transparency and public confidence in government.


September 2006