- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho Senate panel has backed legislation that would change how the state’s Attorney General’s office investigates possible criminal activities by local elected officials.

The Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee unanimously approved sending SB 1255 to the Senate floor on Wednesday.

The legislation would allow the Attorney General’s office to handle an entire investigation, not just the preliminary investigation. It would also limit investigations to criminal violations and exclude civil complaints.

Republican Sen. Jim Rice of Caldwell says the change to the 2014 law helps lower the risk of conflict of interest. For example, when the Attorney General’s office only conducts a preliminary investigation against a local county official, the case could end up back with the county prosecutor to finish the investigation - who would also serve as the official’s lawyer.

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