Lobbyist loophole closed according to Gov. Riley - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Lobbyist loophole closed according to Gov. Riley

File: Opening day of the Special Session File: Opening day of the Special Session

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Governor Bob Riley praised members of the House Committee on Ethics for closing what he called a loophole in a piece of legislation that threatened the integrity of an anti-corruption package Monday.

The House Committee on Ethics rewrote a piece of ethics legislation to keep the amount of money a lobbyist can spend on a legislator at zero and further placed a $100 a year limit on the people they represent.

The committee's revision removed a controversial portion of the Senate's bill - passed Friday - that would have prohibited any spending by lobbyists, but would have allowed unlimited entertaining by the people who hire those lobbyists.

The governor's office balked at the Senate's version, which Governor Riley said would allow "the unlimited lavish wining and dining of lawmakers to continue."

The package, comprised of 7 bills (see bottom of story for list), is being pushed by the out-going governor in a special session of the now Republican-controlled legislature.

"The road to reform is never a smooth one, but today we are closer than ever before to enacting meaningful anti-corruption reforms that will change this state forever," Governor Riley said.

Since the bill has changed, it must first be approved by the full House, then return to the Senate for approval. It would then be sent to the governor's office for final approval.

SEVEN BILLS FOR SPECIAL SESSION INCLUDE:

  1. An end to PAC to PAC transfers
  2. Ban on 'Double Dipping' (Legislators getting paid for two government jobs at once)
  3. Ban on pass-through pork
  4. Mandatory ethics training
  5. Greater government transparency 
  6. Subpoena power for the Ethics Commission
  7. End of taxpayer-financed deductions for special interests

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