01/29/19 -- HCS HR 137 -- Ethics Investigation Procedures

Bill Number: 
HCS HR 137
Bill Purpose: 
Ethics Investigation Procedures
Date of Vote: 
01/29/19
My Vote: 
Yes
Explanation: 

This resolution outlines the Rules of Procedure that govern the conduct of the investigation of complains of ethical misconduct by a member of the House.  They are mostly unchanged from last session, however there were a few additions relating to the names and identifying information of accusers being redacted from official reports of the initial investigative committee.  This change allows an investigation to proceed, while protecting the privacy of potential victims.  If the complaint proceeds to a preliminary hearing, an unredacted report is provided to the accused, so that their right to face their accuser is preserved.

Additionally, amendment 1350H03.04H to the rules, added by Shamed Dogan (Republican - District 98) require that if the committee recommends a sanction that the accused rejects, the subsequent formal hearing must occur with in 90 days.  This was a good additon, as I believe that any formal hearing should happen within a reasonable time so that the matter isn't drug out indefinitely.  This provision was slightly modified via amendment 1350H03.10H to allow the majority of the committee to extend the deadline. I'm not sure I care for that particular provision as it could be abused, but I didn't feel strongly enough about the issue to warrant an objection during debate.

Finally, there was a failed attempt to amend the resolution via 1350H03.03H, introduced by Tracy McCreery (Democrat - District 88).  That amendment would have changed the wording throughout the resolution to specify "his or her" rather than simply "his" when making reference to a member of the House.  The body voted this measure down after Representative J. Eggleston (Republican - District 2) indicated that while he wasn't necessarily opposed to the change, it would result in a rules document that would be harder to read and absorb.  Representative Dottie Bailey (Republican - District 110) also expressed concern that the change would open the door to future changes that might extend beyond traditional male and female genders.  Personally, I felt that the amendment was reasonably meaningless either way, and not really worth spending time on.  It did fail, but had it passed it wouldn't have kept me from supporting the overall resolution.

In all, I voted "yes" on the finalized resolution as I did not see anything in it that was overly worrisome, and the changes for this session appeared to be reasonable.