Lawmakers move quickly during special session

Posted by: Max Reiss

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Although Thursday was only the first full day of work for lawmakers as they tackle ethics reform, they made large strides in their goal to pass the governor's proposed reforms next week.

In the House, the appointed Ethics Committee for the Special Session passed out the three bills assigned to the House. The following bills will reach the House floor tomorrow.

  • A ban on PAC to PAC transfers
  • A ban on "Pass-through pork"
  • Mandatory ethics training for all elected officials

"I had a lot of success in years past getting my bills out of committee" said Rep. Mike Ball, (R - Huntsville). "But it was great to get this was going during the Special."

The House will read and debate the bills on the floor tomorrow and will likely vote on them, sending them to the Senate.

Senators met today in the Old House Chambers at the Alabama Capitol. They met as a "committee of the whole" which means the entire Senate worked as a committee. That step likely means any votes or discussion on the floor tomorrow will go quickly considering everyone already discussed it in the committee stage.

"I do think it will go faster tomorrow," Senate President Pro-Tem Del Marsh, (R - Anniston) said. "

The Senate committee of the whole passed several measures that will go to the Senate floor Friday.

  • A ban on "Double-dipping"
  • A new state code of ethics
  • Proposal to raise the price it costs lobbyists to register with the state
  • Subpoena power for the state ethics commission
  • Ban on state employees from donating to PACs

"Today was a good day. We still have some things we need to take care of. Hopefully soon" Said Jim Sumner with the Alabama Ethics Commission

House Ethics Committee Chairman Jim McClendon said he wanted to stick with bills that only Governor Bob Riley issued in his call. Thereby shutting out both Republicans and Democrats from contributing any new legislation.

Rep. Joe Hubbard, (D- Montgomery) said "I've seen some nice bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle but I still would have liked a seat at the table in helping draft these ethics bills. I felt shut out."

With bills on the floor Friday, it is possible that some laws could be passed by the middle of next week.

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