One northern Utah legislator understands the need for ethics reform in state government. But Rep. Jack Draxler, House District Three, has concerns with some emerging proposals. “Ethics reform is necessary, and good,” said Draxler, “and it’s being worked on from three fronts. We have the Governor’s Citizens Committee, we have the initiative that was launched in August plus the legislature has its own committee working feverishly on ethics reform. “The initiative version goes too far and creates some problems for legislators, not only currently serving but those who may want to serve and be qualified to serve in the future.” State Senator Lyle Hillyard said last week his concern is that it would require he, as an attorney, disclose confidential information regarding his clients. “I, as a real estate appraiser, have that same type of confidentiality agreement,” said Draxler. “I am required by law to only disclose factual information about my appraisals to the client. My work product becomes the property of my client. “The other area of the initiative that concerns me is the complaint process where just about anybody for just about any reason can file a formal complaint against the legislator, whether it’s vindictive or whether it’s factual. It does go too far.” Draxler said ethics guidelines are already in place and legislators abide by those. He said the committee of legislators working on reform is looking into a couple of areas, including gifts and campaign finance donations. “In the past the rules governing gifts have probably been too liberal,” said Draxler. “Rules dealing with donations may have been too liberal as well. I would have no problem with those two things being tightened up.” Draxler said new legislation was passed in the last session dictating gifts to legislators not exceed $50 in value and that they be disclosed by the donor. He said right now there is no limit to the amount donors can give. “I think from all three groups working on reform, you’re going to see a movement to have that tightened up,” said Draxler. “There should be no appearance of undo influence from a single donor.”
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