Compromise reached on ethics bill; final vote could be Monday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Negotiators from the state House and Senate agreed on an ethics reform measure Friday, setting up a vote by the full Legislature on Monday.

The bill includes key components of earlier versions of the legislation, including a new independent ethics commission and tougher regulation of lobbyists.

However Democrats said it doesn't do enough to keep big money out of campaigns.

The joint conference committee of senators and representatives passed the bill 20-to-4.

The measure will be awaiting action when the full House and Senate go back into session Monday. Passage of the bill would end the special session called January 10th by Governor Bredesen after five sitting and former state lawmakers were arrested last year in a federal sting operation and charged with taking cash payoffs to influence legislation.

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