Legislators expected to vote today on ethics bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee lawmakers are expected to take part in a final vote today on a sweeping slate of reforms that include a new independent ethics commission and tougher regulation of lobbyists.

Negotiators from both chambers of the General Assembly agreed on a bill Friday.

Adopting the bill would make Tennessee one of several states working to restore the public's trust in government.

Tennessee's ethics reform comes on the heels of its own scandal.

Governor Phil Bredesen called a special session January 10th to respond to last year's arrests of five sitting and former state lawmakers on charges of taking cash payoffs during the Tennessee Waltz undercover sting.

So far, lawmakers have more restrictions on lobbyists and a commission with the same amount of regulatory power as the state's Registry of Election Finance.

Lobbyists and lawmakers would also have to disclose more information - such as travel expenses and business relationships - to the commission.

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