Backed by Utahns for Public Schools, Rep. Steve Mascaro, R-West Jordan, and Sen. Pat Jones, D-Salt Lake, announced this morning a Pledge for Legislative Ethics Reform that includes legislators giving full disclosure of receiving gifts such as meals, tickets or trips.

Following the announcement, about a dozen legislators signed the ethics reform pledge. It states the politician vows to support and work for passage of ethics reform legislation during the upcoming session. The legislation is to provide the citizens of Utah a "more open, honest, ethical and transparent government."

Mascaro said, in an interview with the Deseret News previous to the announcement, "I think the public has requested this. The public has recognized there needs to be some changes. I'm responding to the clarion call of my voters — that they want something done with regards to the gifts and contributions."

Jones agreed, saying she feels legislators shouldn't be "attempting to build personal wealth" with contributions.

The ethics reform also includes prohibiting legislators from using campaign contributions for anything other than campaign expenses or duties related to public office. Further, it prohibits candidates from using unexpended campaign funds for personal use; and it provides sanctions for those who fail to comply.

"Year after year, ethics reform bills are introduced in the State Legislature, yet each year our legislators seem to lack the collective will to pass meaningful reform," said Bonnie Palmer, executive committee chairwoman, Utahns for Public Schools. "Our goal with this effort is to be a catalyst for changes that will result in open, honest, ethical and transparent state government."

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