State Rep. Zack Taylor said he welcomes Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb’s support of an ethics reform bill authored by Taylor during the recent special session.
Taylor authored the bill in October after more legislators resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct. The bill aims to improve the ethical behavior of those who serve in the Legislature, while holding accountable those who conduct themselves dishonorably.
“I am pleased that Lieutenant Governor Lamb is joining my effort to hold lawmakers to a higher standard,” said Taylor, R-Seminole. “That people recognize the importance of accountability in individuals serving in government is encouraging for society as a whole. I look forward to continuing work on this issue in the coming legislative session, and I certainly welcome any support Lieutenant Governor Lamb can offer.”
Lamb announced a plan that would require any legislator resigning his or her seat before the end of a term to forgo any state retirement related to the office until the cost of a special election (with interest) is repaid to the state, forgoing several extenuating circumstances. Campaign funds of lawmakers resigning mid-term would be returned to the state Election Board. The plan also would require any legislator missing 40 percent or more floor votes one month or later into the regular legislative session to be expelled, again minus extenuating circumstances.
The bill filed by Taylor in October would force lawmakers found to be guilty of dishonorable conduct to forfeit their retirement benefits and remaining campaign funds, and would require new lawmakers to sign a waiver acknowledging they would forfeit these funds and benefits should they exhibit such behavior while in office.
House Bill 1067 was filed in advance of the special legislative session. While the bill was not heard during the special session, it can still be considered in the regular legislative session.
“Lawmakers who resign in disgrace should not continue to receive state benefits or be able to retain their campaign funds once found to be guilty of misconduct,” Taylor said. “The Oklahoma taxpayer deserves to be protected from the embarrassment and costs that result from these scandals. I will continue to work for passage of this measure and I welcome any and all support from other leaders in our state.”
Taylor was elected by special election in May. He is serving his first term representing Oklahoma House District 28, which includes Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties.