TCOG: Senate committee approves bill requiring more financial disclosure by lawmakers

Tennessee — The Senate State and Local Government Committee recommended for passage legislation that would require members of the General Assembly to disclose when they receive trips paid by a person with an interest in public policy.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, and state Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, came about after stories reported by The Tennessean of a Gulf Shores fishing trip hosted by a school voucher advocate, a trip to Europe for lawmakers to learn about “radical Islam,” and trips to tour a North Carolina school, also funded by a voucher proponent.

Overbey told the committee that his bill does not prohibit such travel gifts, but requires that lawmakers report it.

The legislation requires that the amount and source of funds be disclosed when paid by a person with an interest in a public policy of the state if the travel was for the purpose of informing or advising the member with respect to the policy.