Tennessee Rep. Robin Smith announces plan to push legislative ethics bills

District 26 Republican candidate Robin Smith speaks during a meet-and-greet hosted by the League of Women Voters last month.

NASHVILLE - State Rep. Robin Smith announced Friday she intends to push two bills next year "designed to further strengthen public trust" in Tennessee's General Assembly.

Smith, R-Hixson, a member of the House Ethics Committee, said in a news release she will work with the legislative Office of Legal Services over the summer on legislation targeting legislative conflicts of interest in the use of campaign funds, targeting money spent to compensate family members who aren't providing campaign services.

A second bill targets use of alcohol at state Capitol receptions hosted by trade and lobby groups by imposing a one-drink limit.

"Most come to Nashville for the right reasons," Smith said. "We believe in public service and giving of our time to make Tennessee an even better place to live, work and raise a family."

Smith, a freshman, said she believes she has a "duty to make sure I do my part to ensure the public trust in our legislative and campaign conduct."

"The legislation I am proposing will address two common beliefs that I hear as a Representative and as a member of the House Ethics Committee. Tennesseans often believe their values are not reflected due to salacious and sensational stories related to the misbehavior of a few."

As a result, Smith said, "too often, the public is left with the impression that elected officials are looking out only for ourselves.

"As a member of the House Ethics Committee for four months, I've seen clearly the need to establish guidelines that ensure the public trust and best set expectations to reflect a commitment to that trust," Smith said. "Enacting responsible controls on lobbying activity and campaign fund use are two steps we can take in the right direction."