Divided Alabama Legislature approves ethics exemption

Divided Alabama Legislature approves ethics exemption
Alabama State House (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A divided Alabama Legislature has voted to exempt economic developers from the state law that governs lobbyists.

The House of Representatives on Thursday gave final approval to the bill, voting 52-22 to accept Senate changes.

Lawmakers were splintered over whether the change was needed for job recruitment or risked creating a loophole in state ethics law.

Under the bill, economic developers would not be considered lobbyists and would not register with the state and disclose activity as lobbyists do.

The Senate approved the bill on a 15-14 vote.

Republican Rep. Ken Johnson said developers will be hesitant to work in Alabama if they must register.

Rep. Chris England, a Democrat from Tuscaloosa, said it creates a hole in the state ethics law.

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