Ethics reform bill signed into law

House Bill 44, marking significant ethics reform for the Alaska Legislature, was signed into law July 19 in Anchorage by Gov. Bill Walker.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jason Grenn, I-Anchorage, dictates that lobbyists can no longer buy meals or alcoholic drinks for legislators, and that all legislative travel abroad, often paid for by the state, must be approved and have an official legislative purpose.

HB 44 also requires that when legislators vote on an issue they or their immediate family have a financial stake in that they must disclose it, and that if legislators don’t pass an operating budget by the constitutional deadline, day 121 of the session, that per diem payments, as much as $295 per day, will stop.