Legislature and State Government and Government & Economic Development and Government

Bosma weighs changes to disclosure rules for legislators

April 18, 2013

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma said Thursday he's considering changes to rules governing what lawmakers must disclose about their personal and financial ties, after learning about a powerful state representative's work helping a client of his lobbyist daughter.

The Indianapolis Republican said part-time lawmakers in Indiana and other states often face potential conflicts with their jobs outside the Statehouse of their family's interests, making it hard to require members to recuse themselves from issues. The answer, he said, is to seek as much public disclosure as possible.

Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, has spent the 2013 session quietly pushing a measure that would allow Insure-Rite to win a multimillion-dollar contract screening uninsured motorists for the state. The Associated Press reported Monday that the Utah-based company hired his daughter, Jessaca Turner Stults, to lobby lawmakers.

"I think anytime that you have a potential conflict, like this, of course there are concerns," Bosma said. "But again, the key is disclosure. This obviously became disclosed, so we appreciate that. We may have to consider some alteration to our disclosure rules here so that becomes more apparent to folks."

Turner, R-Cicero, and Stults have both said they did nothing wrong. Both also point to their opposite stances on when Amazon.com would have to begin collecting sales tax in Indiana. Stults also lobbies for the online retailer.

There's no rule against a lawmaker pushing legislation to benefit family members. And Turner's support of his daughter is not against the law in Indiana.

With the end of the 2013 session drawing close, Bosma said he would likely look at any changes over the summer.

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