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Speaker takes back ethics issue, appoints subcommittee

Rosalind Helderman

Eager not to let the Democrats claim control of the ethics issue, House Speaker Bill Howell has appointed a special sub-committee of the Rules Committee to consider the 16 bills filed this year to strengthen Virginia's conflict of interest rules.

Democrats have sought to seize the ethics issue since top Republican Del. Phil Hamilton lost reelection largely because he had secured state funding for a university program where he was employed.

By appointing a bipartisan committee to examine the issue, Howell signals that he will hope to see the legislative proposals consolidated into just a few bills -- sponsored by members of the GOP, one would imagine.

"The 16 bills introduced to date are evidence of a genuine bi-partisan commitment to strengthening the conflict of interest rules for both chambers," Howell said in a statement. "Five Republican and three Democratic members have introduced bills. Appointing a special subcommittee to consider all of these proposals will ensure that good ideas are combined and enhanced in a final proposal to be considered by the full House."

The Special Ethics Subcommittee will be chaired by Del. Rob Bell (R-Albemarle). Other members include: Del. Steve Landes (R-Augusta), Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). Del. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan). Del. Bill Janis (R-Henrico), House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D-Henry) and Del. Kenny Alexander (D-Norfolk).

By Rosalind Helderman  |  January 19, 2010; 6:27 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Rosalind Helderman  
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