Section Three: Independent Ethics Commission
1. Establish an independent ethics commission to investigate and hear complaints of misconduct by legislators. The commission membership should be an odd number, with half coming from each party, and the odd-number chair being appointed by a vote of the other commission members. No legislators or lobbyists should be commissioners. The commission should appoint its own executive director (a lawyer) and staff, and these individuals should not come from within the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel or the Attorney General=s Office. The commission must be genuinely free from leadership influence. Complaints may be received from any aggrieved individual. The evidentiary standard for a proceeding to move from a preliminary inquiry to a formal hearing should be one of reasonable suspicion. The evidentiary standard for recommending disciplinary action after a formal hearing should be a preponderance of the evidence. If there is criminality involved, the matter should be referred for prosecution in addition to whatever disciplinary action the legislature may take. The commission should be responsible for developing an ethics training program for legislators and legislative staff, and participation in such training should be mandatory.