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Senate Passes Bill Banning Congress From Using Insider Information

People walk past the front of the New York Stock Exchange Aug. 5, 2011. (credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk past the front of the New York Stock Exchange Aug. 5, 2011. (credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Senate passed a bill banning members of Congress from using insider information to trade stocks or buy land early Thursday evening.

The bill forces lawmakers, their aides and family members to play by the same rules as everyone else. The bill requires them to publicly disclose financial transactions within 30 days, instead of once a year, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.

New York’s junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is a main sponsor of the so-called “Stock Act.”

“We are entrusted with a profound responsibility to the American people — to look out for their own best interest, not our own financial interests,” Gillibrand said.

Critics say some lawmakers have greased their palms trading on inside information. For example, selling stock in a drug company after getting inside word it faced trouble with the FDA.

“The information which we receive — not available to the public — cannot be used in a fashion to enrich ourselves,” said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.

The loophole that allowed insider trading – revealed in a major investigation by the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”

“We know that during the financial crisis of 2008 they were getting out of the market before the rest of America really knew what was going on,” said Peter Schweizer, author of “Throw Them All Out.”

On Wall Street, many said it’s about time Congress was banned from using inside info to trade.

“I think it’s a good thing to do, and frankly with all the Occupy Wall Street attention we’re gotten, and a lot of pressure we’ve gotten on Wall Street here, I think it’s fair that Congressmen themselves be subject to the same rules,” said Wall Street worker Steve Kopits.

“There can’t be a double standard, if we do it, we get in trouble. They do it, they should also be prosecuted. So if they’re voting to stop it, I’m for it,” Wall Street worker Tiffany Holder said.

The bill now goes to the House.