SEVERAL BILLS PASSED DURING SPECIAL SESSION ON ETHICS REFORM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A special session of the Alabama Legislature called by Gov. Bob Riley was held Dec. 8 -16, covering seven legislative days. The session featured seven bills the governor said would strengthen ethics laws and reduce lobbying influence.
Legislators who were elected in the November general election took office immediately and participated in the special session. They will reconvene for the organizational session on Jan. 11. Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, was elected speaker of the special session.
Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom, who does not leave office until Jan. 17, presided over the Senate during the special session. Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, was elected Senate president pro-tem of the special session.
HB 10, sponsored by Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, was passed Tuesday. It prohibits lawmakers from secretly assigning state money to a state agency budget that would eventually divert the money to a project favored by the legislator (commonly known as pass-through pork).
SB 2, sponsored by Sen. Marsh, prohibits payroll deduction collections for political action committee contributions by any state, county or city government agency, including school boards, as well as the collection of dues for membership organizations that use funds for political activities.
HB 9, sponsored by Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw, prohibits transfers of funds between political action committees, commonly known as PAC-to-PAC transfers.
During the 2010 annual meeting of the Alabama Farmers Federation, voting delegates approved policy that opposes PAC-to-PAC transfers.
HB 11, sponsored by Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, requires ethics training for legislators and lobbyists. It also requires reports submitted to the Alabama Ethics Commission to be posted electronically for public inspection.
SB 1, by Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, gives subpoena power to the Alabama Ethics Commission when investigating alleged ethics violations by public officials and others.
SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, prohibits a legislator from holding another state government job, commonly referred to as "double-dipping". The bill includes all state employees, and encompasses employees of local boards of education and higher education. The bill will not take affect until the current legislative term expires.
SB 14, sponsored by Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, restricts spending on legislators by lobbyists.
Each of the bills now await the governor's signature. He is expected to sign the bills.