Turner case tests bounds of 'citizen legislature'

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When a legislative ethics panel meets this week to review the case of House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner, members could have trouble finding clear-cut answers because of the General Assembly's status as a "citizen legislature."

The House Ethics Committee will decide whether Turner, a Cicero Republican, did anything wrong in lobbying privately against a nursing home construction ban. The Associated Press reported last week that Turner owns 38 percent of a development company that would have lost millions in potential profits.

Unlike full-time legislatures such as the U.S. Congress, Indiana's lawmakers work part time in the Capitol and maintain separate careers. Those jobs can conflict with their public duties.

But supporters of the part-time model say it allows residents from all walks of life to be elected officials.

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