Governor Riley Signs Ethics Bills Into Law - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Governor Riley Signs Ethics Bills Into Law

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Governor Bob Riley signed all seven ethics measures into law Monday morning at a ceremony in the old state archives room of the Alabama Capitol.

"This is a historic day for Alabama," Gov. Riley said. "We went from having some of the weakest laws, to in my opinion, having some of the toughest."

The governor was joined by legislative leaders from both the House and Senate for the bill signing.

"This is a great day for Alabama," said Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, (R - Auburn). "This was a wonderful Christmas present."

The legislature adjourned early last Thursday from its Special Session to address anti-corruption reforms.

Gov. Riley signed a version of each proposal that he initially put in the call. Those included a ban on PAC to PAC transfers, a ban on "Double dipping," mandatory ethics training for every elected official, a ban on "Pass-through pork, "new lobbyist spending limits, subpoena power for the Alabama Ethics Commission, and a ban on direct payroll deductions from state employees to any organization to use it for political activity.

That last issue is the one that had Democrats incensed and led them to filibuster until 2:45AM Wednesday.

Rep. Craig Ford, (D - Gadsden), the House Minority Leader said "The entire Special Session was a smokescreen to get back at the Alabama Education Association."

"Gov. Riley wanted to hit those certain groups of public employees, firemen, police officers, state and public employees with that bill. This Special Session had nothing to do with ethics" Ford said.

The governor said that was never a consideration in helping to draft the legislation.

"I can't think of a time that we said this is what we're going to do because of that reason. This is just a simple a simple fact. You can't allow state government to go out and collect dues."

Most of the bills take effect immediately. The ban on holding two state offices at the same time known as "Double dipping" does not take effect until 2014.

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