Brown’s effort to trim state government falls flat

DENVER – State Rep. J. Paul Brown made his first attempt to reduce the reach of government on Tuesday with a bid to end mandatory ethics training for accountants.

Brown, R-Ignacio, campaigned on reducing the scope of government. On Tuesday, he tried unsuccessfully to amend a minor bill on certified public accountants to remove the requirement that they take an ethics class.

“I just feel like they should be ethical in the first place, and government is too far-reaching. We’re sticking our nose where it shouldn’t be,” Brown said.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, said ethics training is needed now more than ever.

“In the era of Bernie Madoff, it just seems to me like we can’t emphasize that enough,” Jones said.

Jones’ House Bill 1015 is a technical change to make clear what training someone needs to get a license as a certified public accountant.

Brown got support from state Rep. Spencer Swalm, R-Centennial. If people don’t know not to lie, cheat or steal, they won’t learn it at an ethics class, Swalm said.

“Look at the Ten Commandments. Why don’t we have classes where we force professionals to sit down and read the Ten Commandments over and over again? That would do the job,” Swalm said.

But only a few representatives voted for Brown’s amendment, and it lost on a voice vote. The bill passed the first of its two House votes.

jhanel@durango herald.com

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