Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Lawmakers are working to get an early start on the upcoming legislative session.

The House Republican Election Study committee met this morning to hear testimony from community and government groups on possible changes to state ethics laws.

The ten person panel fielded suggestions on a range of things like campaign finances,House and Senateethics committees, income disclosures, and the discipline of lawmakers.

Representatives from the South Carolina Policy Council, the Attorney Generals Office, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and Ethics Reform Task Force created by Governor Nikki Haley all spoke at the hearing. The Dean of USC's School of Law also testified at the meeting.

"We have a framework established for us now on issues that are important to people. I think from this point forward we establish some recommendations, some agendas and try to work on a piece of legislation," said Rep. Murrell Smith of Sumter. Smith is the chairman of the study committee.

The House Democrats, and a task force called by the governor are also looking at ways to improve the state's laws.

The group's chairman, Representative Murrell Smith, says the number of groups looking at the issue shows a commitment to change.

"I think the more people who are working on this the better, and I think we envision working in conjunction with the Governor's task force on certain issues, listening, sharing information with them, and sharing information with the democrats study committee," said Smith.

The group will meet again later this month to look at the feasibility and legality of some of these suggestions. They're hoping to have some plans on the table to suggest when they return to work in the state house next year.

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