The ethics of wasted time and moneyAS it turns out in the end, the State House and Senate passed different versions of the ethics bill, the differences between which may be so great in some cases that they are not reconcilable. That means, of course, that after the conference committee tears the two bills apart and then pieces something together between them for good looks, the final result will likely be so watered-down that the special session on ethics will prove to be a collosal waste of time and taxpayer dollars. Governor Bredesen even postponed the State of the State address (as constitutionally required) until the end of the special session, saying he was "giving [the General Assembly] time to finish their work.
In the end we are really forced to ask "what work." What fruit has been borne by paying the legislature to stay in Nashville to debate ethics reform when so many members lack a real idea of what "ethics" are all about. You cannot legislate effectively about any matter about which you have no knowledge.
One positive from all of this is that Rep. Ulyses Jones withdrew his amendments, one of which would allow lobbyists to donate to campaigns and hold fundraisers (what got us in this mess to begin with). I suspect that he did so under pressure from his own Party Caucus. It wouldn't make the Democrats look too good if they were remembered in the fall as the Party that was the primary sponsor of the ethics bill that wasn't. As a result, I think the ethics bill may have no teeth, but its gums will not be rotten.