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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Riley applauds historic ethics overhaul


Gov. Bob Riley said Alabama now has the strictest ethics laws in the nation after the passage of seven bills he pushed during a special session he called to revamp laws here.
"Passing any one of these reforms would have meant a tremendous, positive change for the way the people's business is conducted in Montgomery. Passing all seven of these reforms represents a sea change of historic proportions and will make Alabama the new standard for ethical government in the United States," he said in a statement sent out by his office about 3:45 a.m. Thursday. "In just one week Alabama has gone from having some of the weakest ethics laws in the country to having some of the strongest. The passage of these bills will usher in a new era of transparent, accountable and responsive government in Alabama that can begin the work of restoring the public's trust."

Lawmakers concluded their work about 3 a.m. Thursday after a seven-day special session.

Riley's office will undergo legal review before he signs them into law.

The proposals passed this week would:

Cap lobbyist spending on public officials and public employees

Ban pass through pork

Give subpoena power to the Alabama Ethics Commission

Ban transfers of money between political action committees

End the so-called practice of double dipping in which legislators also hold another job in state government

Require mandatory ethics training for elected officials and public employees at all levels of government

Require those who lobby the executive branch to register as lobbyists with the Alabama Ethics Commission

Stop the state from collecting dues from state pay checks for groups that are politically active including the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama State Employees Association

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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