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A study on legislative ethics undertaken by a politically diverse group of Weber State University students should be mandatory reading for every member of the Utah State Legislature.
Not surprisingly, the study concludes that "compared to other states, Utah fares poorly in ethics regulations." And while some progress has been made - most notably last session when five ethics related measures were approved - "there is demonstrable need for (comprehensive) ethics reform in the State Legislature."
A "vital step for ethics reform," according to the Weber study is the creation of an independent ethics commission. KSL agrees! As pointed out in the study, Utah is one of only ten states without such a body. As the study concludes, "without independent oversight, the perception of unethical behavior will not dissipate."
Another vital recommendation in the study demands more than passing attention. The drawing of political boundaries should be taken out of the hands of lawmakers who have a propensity for blatant gerrymandering. Indeed, the creation of an independent redistricting commission "would remove perceived conflicts of interest . . . and add accountability and transparency to the political process.
As we said, this report should be mandatory reading for every lawmaker. Beyond that, they should have the political courage to make the recommended changes.