The state Senate has contracted with an ethics institute for several sessions on ethical issues and the Assembly plans shorter, in-house briefings to comply with a new ethics law.
The ethics sessions for legislators and their staffs, and a course held earlier for lobbyists, are mandated by a package of legislative ethics measures enacted last year in the face of evidence that much of the public holds the Legislature in low esteem.
The Senate signed an $84,500 contract with the Los Angeles-based Josephson Institute for the Advancement of Ethics to conduct daylong sessions in January and February for all 40 senators and about 300 of their top aides, plus a post-course evaluation of the program’s effectiveness.
The Assembly plans no formal courses and only brief explanations of the law--conducted by staff members at no additional cost--for policy-making staff members.
Michael Josephson, founder and president of the institute hired by the Senate, said of those sessions:
“We will not just present a lecture. We will conduct seminars raising ethical questions. Our task is not to narrowly comply with the law, it is to broaden thinking . . . raise awareness . . . and to determine whether we can affect attitudes and behavior.”