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Governor's New Thics Rules Applauded

Minutes after his inauguration, Governor Ted Strickland signed an executive order severely limited the giving of gifts to state officials.

In the wake of state and national investigations into gratis golf games and cut-rate condos for public officials, Strickland has decided to severely limit the gifts he and his cabinet can take.

No gifts at all will be allowed from lobbyists or those seeking state contracts or grants. Gifts from others will be limited to token items, such as mugs and t-shirts, or inexpensive meals or refreshments under $20.

David Freel, executive director of the Ohio Ethics Commission, said, "It looks like what Gov. Strickland's trying to do at the outset is to set a high standard. This looks to be really a supplement to the state ethics statutes, which are aimed at the most serious or egregious conduct."

The executive order on ethics also urges more open access to government meetings.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)