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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon House Approves Measure Meant To Beef Up Ethics Commission

Oregon DOT
A view of the west side of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

Oregon's Ethics Commission would have to speed up its investigations under a measure approved in the Oregon House Thursday.

The Ethics Commission is supposed to ferret out corruption. Critics say the panel moves slowly and often does little more than issue a slap on the wrist to wrong-doers. While this measure wouldn't change the way the Commission hands out penalties, it would narrow the time it has to conduct an initial review from four months down to one month.

Supporters of the measure say that would bolster public trust in the commission since possible ethics lapses would be dealt with more quickly. The bill would also expand the commission by two members and reduce the number of members selected by the governor.

The measure was proposed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, who took office in February when John Kitzhaber resigned amid a criminal ethics investigation. It passed the House 58-0 and now heads to the Oregon Senate.