State Senate passes ethics bill

(AP) - The Tennessee Senate passed an ethics bill late Monday afternoon.

It now goes to the House and passage there will end a special session.

The vote in the House was 27-to-6. The bill creates an independent ethics commission, restricts lobbyist activities and caps cash political contributions at $50.

There was extended debate today as some senators attempted to restore provisions stripped from the legislation, saying the bill didn't go far enough.

The special legislative session was called in response to last year's Tennessee Waltz undercover sting operation that led to the arrests of five sitting and former state lawmakers on charges of taking cash payoffs.

The bill also would have to be signed by Governor Bredesen, who called the special session.

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