Idaho lawmakers get a lesson in ethics

Credit: Eric Turner/KTVB

Idaho lawmakers get a lesson in ethics

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on January 9, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 4:42 AM

BOISE -- The word at the Idaho Capitol today is "ethics," where on the third day of the legislative session state lawmakers underwent a half day of formal ethics training.

Ethics is turning out to be one of the key issues in the early part of this session - not because of ethical violations, but because members of the Legislature seem to be doing a lot to show they care about holding the public's trust.

There were four different presentations concerning ethics. Brian Kane with the Attorney General's Office talked about conflicts of interest, the law, and communication.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa talked about money and campaigns.

And, a certified corporate ethics trainer talked about strengthening a culture of ethics in Idaho government.

Lawmakers said it was a lot of good, enlightening information, especially for what is a relatively new group.

But they also said it helps the public perception, for people who distrust politicians, to see them spending time on ethics training.

"I cuss politicians right along with the best of the citizens," said House Speaker Scott Bedke. "But actions always speak louder than words. We've had a lot of good words here today, so let's see what we can put into action. It's my hope that everyone will take just a little from this and do better."

"When we talk about ethics issues they shouldn't be partisan issues," said Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise. "This is about how we conduct ourselves as public officials. And as public officials we should be role models in ethical behavior."

Werk said he'd love to do something like this every year to help all lawmakers be better informed and more accountable.

Bedke said it's his hope to create a special ethics committee in the House this session.

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