While the House will consider at least one legislator conflict of interest bill this session, some GOP Senate members want to address ethics changes through their rules, not law.
Sen. Haven Barlow, R-Layton, who has served in the Senate 30 years, said Tuesday that he'll propose Senate rule changes as opposed to changing the House's statutes."I think we should have stricter guidelines on conflict of interest," said Barlow. "But I don't want a law. Why have to amend a law and get the other body (the House) and governor to agree when we can deal with this ourselves?"
Barlow said he favors more detailed conflict of interest reporting by senators, who currently have vague ethics rules. But his suggestions fall well short of what Rep. Mont Evans, R-Riverton, suggests in his House bill on ethics.
Evans suggests that legislators who retain clients, like attorney-lawmakers, list those clients who pay the lawmaker's firm more than $25,000 a year. Evans also suggests legislators list broad ranges of income and where their income comes from.
Barlow suggests listings categories of conflicts. For example, an insurance agency owner, like Barlow is, would list insurance as a conflict but wouldn't list the large clients who buy insurance through his agency.
"I don't think legislators should have to name their private business clients. That would harm their businesses. Many clients would leave him, not wishing to be publicly named. Many of us serve (in the Legislature) at the harm of our businesses, and we shouldn't do anything more to make it more difficult (financially) to serve," said Barlow.