Proposal would impose ethical restrictions on members of the legislature

Most voters would frown on a lawmaker hiring a brother-in-law to serve on the personal staff. But there really is no legislative rule against this now.

So Marcela Guerrero Campos of the Partido Acción Ciudadana has presented revisions to the regulations of the Asamblea Legislativa that would prohibit hiring persons within four degrees of kinship.

And that is just the beginning.  The measure also would create an ethics committee for oversight.

Also required would be more access and publication of proposed laws and the agenda. The legislature does a good job of this now by posting minutes of the daily session on its Web site the same evening. But there sometimes is a delay in posting new legislative proposals.

The measure also would require reporting on legislative trips inside and outside the country and well as keeping a list of staff members.

Lawmakers would face personal restrictions for which fines would be assessed for violations.

For example, they would be prohibited from using legislative automobiles for personal use and to transport persons unrelated to their job.

They also would not be permitted to use their position and title for personal benefit.

A lot of these seem obvious, but there are frequent news articles about violations, including the lawmaker who used her office to get a speedy renewal of her passport and sidestep a crowded immigration office. That became known because persons in line waiting for the same service recognized her and protested.

The new rules stem from a 2010 constitutional court ruling and a U.N. agreement against corruption.

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