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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Democrats Announce Ethics Bills

The Democratic members of the Alabama Legislature unveiled their own package of ethics reforms bills in a press conference held an hour before the special session started Wednesday.

"The whole focus of this special session is on reforming our ethics and campaign laws to make government more accountable and more transparent to the public," said House Minority Leader Craig Ford. "We believe this package of bills includes strong legislation that is not included in the Republicans' bills."

The package includes the following:

-- Revival of former state Rep. Jeff McLaughlin's bill to ban PAC-to-PAC transfers that was passed multiple times, but never became law.

-- A bill that would require the Secretary of State to establish a searchable online database for campaign finance records. Candidates, campaign committees and PACs would be required to post all campaign finance reports online.

-- Revival of former state Rep. Randy Hinshaw's bill to require campaign disclosure for political advertising and the source of funding for PACs.

-- A bill raising the lobbyist registration fee from $100 to $500. The funds would go to the Ethics Commission.

Ford said in addition to this package of bills, the Democrats said they plan to work with the Republicans to offer amendments to the governor's package of ethics reform bills.

"We have expressed to the Republican leadership that we are willing to work with them, and we plan to make sure that everyone follows through and that we pass true, strong ethics reform," Ford said.

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks

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