Ethics bill passes last key House committee stop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A sweeping ethics bill passed a key committee today in the Tennessee House, clearing the way for a floor vote later this week.

The House Finance, Ways and Means Committee passed the ethics bill with a 26-page amendment that helped conform the House version of the bill to the Senate version.

The amended bill includes provisions to limit cash campaign contributions to $50 per individual, and bans cash contributions from political action committees. The original bill would have banned all cash contributions.

The bill also limits "wining and dining" of lawmakers by employers of lobbyists to $50 per event and $100 per year.

Lobbyists would not be allowed to attend, and lawmakers could only accept meals and drinks on days they are not collecting their $150 expense checks.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)