Governing the conduct of legislators is tricky, unprecedented

By Ben Giles | Arizona Capitol Times

When it comes to dealing with lawmakers like Republican Rep. David Stringer of Prescott,  Senate President Steve Yarbrough defers to advice he once heard from his son.

“My son… said that, ‘You know what we really need is to have a law that makes it against the law to be stupid,’” Yarbrough said.

Short of that, the Arizona House of Representatives may put in writing exactly how lawmakers should behave, a policy intended to go beyond the standard ethics rules governing their votes and a workplace harassment policy adopted in the wake of sexual harassment by former Rep. Don Shooter.

In fact, a rule change in the House requires them to do so.

Shortly after voting to expel Shooter, the House adopted new rules – one giving the speaker the authority to create a code of conduct for staff, the other mandating that representatives adopt a separate code of conduct for themselves.

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard has spent the interim since session adjourned working with House leaders to draft a code of conduct for staff. And he told the Arizona Capitol Timeshe plans to have it in effect before he hands the gavel over to incoming House Speaker Rusty Bowers on January 14.


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December 2018