Bill would cut conflict provisions lawmakers called limiting

Juneau, Alaska (AP) - New legislation would roll back conflict of interest provisions passed last year that some Alaska lawmakers saw as too restrictive.

The legislative ethics committee has interpreted those provisions to mean that legislators can participate in committee and floor debate and vote on bills where they have conflicts provided they declare their conflicts. But they can't have similar discussions in private.

Those sections of the law would revert back to what previously existed, under the bill introduced Wednesday by the Senate Rules Committee.

Committee chair, Sen. John Coghill, says he doesn't see this as relaxing ethics laws but providing a reset to allow for a fuller conversation on the issue later.

The bill wouldn't change other pieces of the law, addressing such things as legislative allowances and travel and lobbyist activities.

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