Monday, January 29, 2007

Poison Pill Removed From Ethics Bill

Senate and Assembly leaders announced today they have reached agreement on further changes to the ethics reform bill that is the subject of a special legislative session, including the removal of a self-destruct mechanism – the legislation's controversial "nonseverability" clause – that would have wiped out the entire new enforcement system created by the bill if any part of it were ruled unconstitutional by a court.

Disagreement between leaders of the two houses over the presence of this poison pill in the legislation had become a major sticking point that threatened to derail consideration of the ethics enforcement reform bill. Removal of the nonseverability clause not only represents a major improvement in the bill and a victory for the Democracy Campaign and other reform advocates who pointed out the provision and called for its elimination, but it also clears the way for the legislation to be taken up by both houses this week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only thing I worry about with the removal of the Nonseverability Clause from the bill is the potential for endless litigation over the minute details of the legislation. But then again, that is a key to American-style democracy. It just seems to me to be likely for ethics violators to take on portions of the bill, one by one, on technicalities. I then forsee judges being more likely to knock down key portions of the bill than the entire piece of legislation all at once, which would be the case if Nonseverability had been left intact.