Gov. wants ethics reform; legislative time slipping away

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - With the days growing short in the current legislative session Governor Bob Riley is using every opportunity he can to push for passage of his ethics legislation.

The problem is that bill hasn't even gotten out of committee.

Currently, a lobbyist can spend up to $250 per day on a legislator without having to report it. That amounts to $90,000 a year.

The governor wants to lower that figure.

"This is not a complicated concept. Just change the 250," Riley said at the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce Wednesday. "I wish we could take it down to a cup of coffee...but if you don't want to do that then at least debate it. Let's get it to the floor and decide whether or not we truly believe what we say when we say that we are a citizen legislator...that we believe that we are here to serve someone other than our own self interests."

A committee chairman in the House says he plans to bring the governor's bill up for a vote next Wednesday, but if it passes there he says he doubts it will be approved by the full House.

Many say items in the bill are unrealistic, like taking the ethics reporting all the way down to a cup of coffee.