09/28/2010

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Ethics, Malpractice and Other Quickies 1. Today's opinion from the Legislative Ethics Commission reversing a 1995 opinion represents a welcome return to reason in regard to legislators soliciting lobbyists for political contributions. While the ethics law passed in 1993 clearly prohibits lawmakers from asking lobbyists to contribute to their own political campaigns, the 1995 opinion said they were free to ask lobbyists to contribute to political parties. That interpretation of the law made no sense when it was issued, and it made even less sense after the commission said in 2005 that legislators could not hit up lobbyists on behalf of legislative caucus campaign committees. Why should lawmakers be able to do something to help their parties that they can't do to help their own campaigns or their caucus committees? It's good to see the ethics panel correct the mistake made in 1995. 2. Gov. Ernie Fletcher's compromise proposal on medical malpractice lawsuits sounds a whole lot like the alternative legislative Democrats have been offering in recent years to Senate Republicans' proposed constitutional amendment that would allow limits on damage awards in such suits. Fletcher has supported caps on damages in the past. While I must say this flip-flop puts Fletcher on the right side (the victims' side) of this issue, it's still a flip-flop. 3. Latest SurveyUSA numbers have Fletcher trailing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear by 20 percentage points. If this were a game from the early days of Monday Night Football, Don Meredith might be getting ready to sing us a song. 4. Lexington's leaders appear to have come down with a case of arena envy now that Louisville is getting a big new facility downtown.