- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on campaign finance legislation in the Mississippi Legislature (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

Mississippi House members are strongly backing a bill that would restrict how elected officials statewide spend campaign money.

Representatives voted 102-13 Wednesday to pass House Bill 479 , which Speaker Philip Gunn says is aimed at prohibiting officials from spending campaign money for personal use or taking it home when they retire.

The measure moves to the Senate for more work.

The move comes after 2016 reports by The Associated Press and The Clarion-Ledger showed officials were spending money on clothes, cars and boots, with some withdrawing large sums at retirement.

The bill would bar many such expenditures, although it would allow spending on campaigning and office-holding.

The Mississippi Ethics Commission would be put in charge of enforcement and could fine violators $1,000, plus an amount equal to any misspent money.

____

11:59 a.m.

Mississippi House members could vote as early as Wednesday on a bill that would restrict public officials statewide from spending campaign money on personal expenses.

The House Rules Committee Wednesday passed an amended version of House Bill 479, sponsored by Speaker Philip Gunn, a Clinton Republican.

The move comes after 2016 reports by The Associated Press and The Clarion-Ledger showed officials were spending money on clothes, cars and boots, with some withdrawing large sums at retirement for personal use.

The bill would bar many such expenditures, although it would still allow lawmakers to pay for housing in Jackson from their campaign account and allow officials to spend on travel related to campaigns or office-holding.

Gunn’s measure would put the Mississippi Ethics Commission in charge of enforcement, letting it fine violators.


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