Commission debates ethics - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Commission debates ethics

There could be a change in ethics laws but not how you might expect. On Wednesday, a Shelby County commission committee voted to loosen the law involving gifts to political leaders.

The committee voted to allow gifts of any value as long as that gift is offered to the public or all commissioners.

The issue came up when the University of Memphis offered tickets to all the commissioners.

Sidney Chism, who sponsored the amendment to newly stiffened ethics rules, says commissioners had to turn away the tickets because the new ethics rules left out a clause.

He says that even the state allows legislators to accept gifts regardless of value, as long as they all get the same offer.

Chism feels the current ethics restriction hinders elected officials from helping their constituents. "University of Memphis surely involves a number of constituents that we might have an opportunity to speak to on behalf of what's right and wrong in our community," says Chism.

Chism added that he has only been to three games in his life and that it was a matter of principle.

Two commissioners, Mike Ritz and Wyatt Bunker, voted no on the amendment.

The amendment now goes before the full commission. We'll let you know what they decide as soon as an official vote comes in.

Click here to email Kontji Anthony.

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