Ethics Reform Signed into Law

Today, the Governor signed into law the ethics reform bill, H. 4133, An Act to Improve the Laws Relating to Campaign Finance, Ethics, and Lobbying.

ethicssigning2

I was a strong supporter of this legislation, which passed the Senate with a unanimous vote last week.

For several months now, we in the Senate have wrangled with the strength and scope of this ethics bill, and last week we passed the toughest ethics bill the Commonwealth has ever seen. This bill was the product of many months of hard work by the Senate, and I am proud to have voted yes for a bill which brings about needed ethics, campaign finance, and lobbying reform.

This bill bans all gifts to lawmakers, closes loopholes to capture all “lobbyists” and track the lobbying work they do here in Massachusetts, enhances campaign finance regulations, broadens the state’s power to investigate and punish those who break ethical laws, and stiffens penalties for those who do break the law, measures which I supported.

ethics-signing1I do not consider this bill to be perfect. A ban on lobbyist contributions, which I pushed hard for, was regrettably dropped in Conference Committee. I also have some reservations about the effect the new lobbying rules may have on single issue, grassroots organizations that advocate on behalf of some of the most powerless people in our political system, including the poor, the elderly, and the disabled. We will have to pay close attention to the ramifications of this bill – and where necessary, continue pressing forward in our work to make our government more transparent, more accountable, and more accessible.

All of that said, I believe this bill is a powerful step forward, one that should go a long towards restoring the public’s confidence in our government.  I, along with my colleagues in the Senate, am proud to have voted yes on it, and see it signed by the Governor today.

2 thoughts on “Ethics Reform Signed into Law

  • Senator,
    This legislation, quite frankly seems to be more of the same. None of the corruption that has drawn convictions of Beacon Hill pols and their cronies had been addressed. What has been done regarding the award of contracts for example? I find the distinct lack of substance in these bills to be a reason for you to object and vote against them. I find your willingness to compromise in a “more of the same” fashion troubling.

    This weekend we have been additionally burdened by your supported 25% sales tax increase. Congratulations as you have made travel to New Hampshire more profitable than ever!

    This state government is structured as it might have been in the 18th century. I hope you have the courage to take the sharp reforms that are needed to make measurable performance and accountability a norm and NOT the exception as it is today.

    Enjoy the summer,

    Micheal Blaney

  • Michael,

    Thank you for your comments. While the ethics legislation did not include all of the provisions that I fought for, I do believe it is a sea-change in ethics in Massachusetts for elected officials. The law includes a ban on gifts for legislators, increased enforcement authority, including subpoena power, for the Ethics Commission, Attorney General and the Secretary of State, and stiffer fines for breaking the law.

    With respect to stopping contracts being directed to an “insider” company, this is why I believe we need public campaign financing, includindg the banning of contractors to raise money for elected officials.

    Common Cause, the state’s leading good government group, gave strong praise to the legislation, which I was proud to support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *