As I promised one of our senators (Mae Beavers) has some good input on ethics reform. The following is from Senator Beavers:
"The hot topic of the year for this legislative session is ethics. I think everyone is well aware of the events that have precipitated this discussion. However, you may not be aware that no matter how many ethics bills pass, very little will actually change up here on the Hill.
The primary reason for this is the lack of an elected Attorney General.
In other states that have an elected Attorney General, such as in Kentucky, one will often hear stories of legislative or executive ethics violations. However, these stories are usually accompanied by
In Tennessee, the laws are so vague that they are difficult to interpret. Often a crime will be stated in the code but there be no penalty set forth. In other cases, a penalty will be set forth but there will be no jurisdiction given. This is why even if a crime can be identified; there is no one who can take action on it. These are just a
few of the tricks used by law makers to ensure the status quo.
This year I have authored a bill that would provide for an elected Solicitor General. The Tennessee State Constitution calls for an appointed Attorney General, so rather than attempt to amend the constitution, we have simply asked for a Solicitor General who would be over the Attorney General. The Attorney General would still be appointed by the Supreme Court. The Solicitor General would assume most of the duties of the Attorney General but would not be beholding to anyone, but the voters, for his position.
It is my hope that we can change the system so that it will keep law makers accountable and always remind us that we are sent here to serve the people, not to enrich ourselves at their expense."