Both chambers of General Assembly approve sweeping ethics bills

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly have overwhelmingly passed ethics bills.

The measures would limit cash campaign contributions, restrict lobbyists and create an independent ethics commission.

Negotiators from each chamber will meet later this week to work out the differences between the versions.

All this comes in a special session on ethics. It was called after five sitting and former state lawmakers were arrested last year in the Tennessee Waltz sting operation and charged with taking cash bribes from undercover federal agents.

The Senate unanimously passed the bill yesterday, while the House vote was 94-to-2. Representatives Brian Kelsey of Germantown and Jere Hargrove of Cookeville were the only "no" votes in the House.

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