McAuliffe expected to announce ethics legislation amendments Friday

WASHINGTON — Virginia’s controversial ethics legislation could face a new fight in a few weeks, as Gov. Terry McAuliffe is expected to announce his amendments to the legislation Friday morning.

The governor told WRVA-AM in Richmond Thursday that the ethics bill is one of a number of pieces of legislation he’ll announce action on.

The bill — which would cap single gifts from lobbyists to state and local lawmakers at $100, but includes a raft of exceptions — is a response to the federal corruption convictions of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, who are currently awaiting their appeals.

As written, the bill would also create an advisory ethics panel that could offer opinions on conflicts of interest and sign off on lawmakers accepting free travel beyond the exceptions automatically included under the bill.

McAuliffe has argued for a stronger ethics commission that could investigate wrongdoing, but, unlike last year, he signed this year’s budget amendments without vetoing money for the advisory panel.

Depending on what amendments the governor proposes, lawmakers could be in for another showdown in mid-April during what could be a breakneck April 15 session to review all the bills that the governor has either vetoed or offered amendments on since the regular session ends.

The legislation was passed unanimously, but only in the final seconds of this winter’s General Assembly session following a standoff between the House and Senate.

The bill does not change any of Virginia’s campaign finance rules, but would require that all financial disclosures be posted online so that they are easier for the public to review.

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