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In Case You Missed It

Week Seven Legislative Report: Budgets pass houses of origin

Beth Lyons

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Contributed by Beth Marietta Lyons
Lyons Law Firm

The Alabama Legislature convened for day 13 of the annual Regular Session on Tuesday, February 20 with 35 committee meetings held throughout the week to consider legislation. Both Houses then convened on Thursday, February 22 for Day 14. The Session will reach the halfway point on Tuesday.

There have been 795 bills introduced to date.

The Legislature will return to Montgomery on Tuesday, February 27 for day 15 of the Session with the House convening at 1:00 p.m. and the Senate at 2:00 p.m. Fifteen committees have scheduled meetings as of the time of this report.

Significant Introductions This Week:

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A bill was introduced in the Senate that would substantially amend and clarify the Alabama Ethics Act passed in 2010. The bill is pending in the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee [SB343 by Senator Del Marsh].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would add a manufacturers license that conducts tastings or samplings to the types of alcoholic beverage licenses in an area where a municipality seeks to establish an entertainment district. The bill is pending in the Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee [SB339 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

A bill was introduced in the Senate that would exempt fantasy sports contests from the prohibition against gambling and provide for regulation and registration of operators. The bill is pending in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee [SB325 by Senator Paul Sanford].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment was introduced in the Senate that would allow the state to participate in multi-state lottery games. The bill is pending in the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee [SB326 by Senator Paul Sanford].

A bill was introduced in the House that would abolish the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and return the law enforcement functions consolidated within ALEA to the various offices, departments, divisions and other entities and agencies with which they existed before the creation of ALEA. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB441 by Representative Phillip Pettus].

A bill was introduced in the House that would prohibit the sale of assault weapons to anyone under the age of 21 and prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from possessing an assault weapon. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB434 by Representative Juandalynn Givan].

A bill was introduced in the House that would allow administrative personnel and teachers, with certain qualifications, to carry a pistol while on school property. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB435 by Representative Will Ainsworth].

A bill was introduced in the House that would prohibit the carrying or possession of a firearm on school premises regardless of whether the person has intent to do bodily harm. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB442 by Representative Allen Farley].

A bill was introduced in the House that would create the Alabama Task Force on School Safety and Security and would authorize the task force to annually study the current educational and safety laws, rules, and policies of the state in order to assist the Legislature in making effective changes to protect and benefit the citizens of the state. The bill is pending in the Education Policy Committee [HB447 by Representative Terri Collins].

A bill was introduced in the House that would authorize the formation of trained volunteer school emergency security forces at public K-12 schools in the state consisting of current and retired school employees and local citizens. The bill is pending in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee [HB449 by Representative Allen Farley].

A bill was introduced in the House that would allow a juvenile probation officer to share certain information and records relating to a child, excluding mental health and medical records, with school personnel for the limited purpose of promoting safety and enhancing education and rehabilitation services provided to the child. The bill is pending in the House Education Policy Committee [HB452 by Representative Allen Farley].

Significant Committee Action This Week:

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee held a public hearing, substituted, and gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow an out-of-state vendor participating in the Simplified Sellers Use Tax Remittance Program to continue to participate in the Program if a physical presence in the state is established through the acquisition of an in-state company, provide that the transaction is subject to sales tax if completed at a retail establishment, to provide that the eligible seller also includes sales through a marketplace facilitator, and authorize an additional 1% to be collected and distributed to municipalities according to population. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB307 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would provide oversight of currently license exempt faith-based child care facilities. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB76 by Representative Pebblin Warren].

The House Boards, Agencies and Commissions Committee held a public hearing, and assigned the bill to a subcommittee, that would increase the membership of the State Pilotage Commission from 3 to 4 [SB222 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The Senate Governmental Affairs committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would prohibit any state or public funds from being paid to settle any claim alleging sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct by a state officer or employee. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB296 by Senator Bill Hightower].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would prohibit elected state officials from placing his or her likeness on materials, publications and advertising media produced using appropriated federal, state or local funds unless prohibited by federal law. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB285 by Senator Greg Albritton].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee gave a favorable report to a House bill that would permit, but not mandate, the use of the national motto “In God We Trust” by government agencies and offices, in and on public buildings, including government office buildings, public school classrooms, and on vehicles. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB228 by Representative David Standridge].

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee substituted and gave a favorable report to a bill that would require certain entities to provide notice to certain persons upon a breach of security that results in the unauthorized acquisition of sensitive personally identifying information. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB318 by Senator Arthur Orr].

The House Commerce and Small Business Committee held a public hearing, amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would require certain entities to provide notice to certain persons upon a breach of security that results in the unauthorized acquisition of sensitive personally identifying information. The bill now goes to the full House [HB410 by Representative Phil Williams].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee held a public hearing, and then assigned a subcommittee to further investigate, a bill that would prohibit the use of automated traffic enforcement systems and repeal all local laws authorizing the use of automated traffic enforcement for red light or speeding violations [HB365 by Representative Ken Johnson].

Both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees met on bills that would decrease the penalty for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a violation punishable by a fine. The Senate bill was given a favorable report and moves on to the full Senate, but the House bill was defeated in Committee [SB251 by Senator Dick Brewbaker and HB272 by Representative Patricia Todd].

The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee gave a favorable report to a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would increase the age limit for someone to be elected or appointed to a judicial office from 70 to 75. The bill now goes to the full House [HB339 by Representative Matt Fridy].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would increase the criminal penalty for texting while driving. The bill now goes to the full House [HB391 by Representative Tommy Hanes].

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would prohibit a sheriff from placing conditions or requirements on the issuance of a pistol permit unless expressly provided by law. The bill now goes to the full House [SB113 by Senator Paul Sanford].

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would prohibit the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board from increasing the mark-up on the sale of alcoholic beverages except by a law enacted by the Legislature. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB120 by Senator Bill Holtzclaw].

The Senate Judiciary Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would revise the state Ethics Law regarding minor violations and revise the manner in which a criminal investigation may be initiated by the State Ethics Commission. The bill now goes to the full Senate [SB267 by Senator Cam Ward].

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee held a public hearing and gave a favorable report to a bill that would provide for the issuance of a nonprofit special events retail license for the sale of beer, wine and liquor, and would authorize the donation of beer, wine and liquor by non-licensed persons. The bill now goes to the full House [HB141 by Representative Craig Ford].

The House Economic Development and Tourism Committee held a public hearing and gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption in specified community development districts in certain circumstances. The bill now goes to the full House [SB146 by Senator Steve Livingston].

The House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would criminalize the act of recording or attempting to record an image or video of the private, intimate body parts of another person without his or her consent. The bill now goes to the full House [SB57 by Senator Clyde Chambliss].

The House State Government Committee amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would require a county jail or state penitentiary to provide feminine hygiene products to female prisoners. The bill now goes to the full House [HB363 by Representative Tim Wadsworth].

The House Commerce and Small Business Committee gave a favorable report to a Senate bill that would prohibit the intentional creation or operation of event ticketing websites with domain names that, without authorization, contain the name of a venue, performing artist, performance title, exhibition title, or similar descriptors. The bill now goes to the full House [SB197 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

The House Commerce and Small Business Committee held a public hearing, amended and gave a favorable report to a bill that would require certain entities to provide notice to certain persons upon a breach of security that results in the unauthorized acquisition of sensitive personally identifying information. The bill now goes to the full House [HB410 by Representative Phil Williams].

The Senate Local Legislation Mobile County Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would authorize the governing body of any municipality within Mobile County, or the County Commission in any unincorporated areas of the county, to establish on premises sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages on Sunday commencing at 10:00 a.m. The bill now goes to the full Senate [HB267 by Representative James Buskey].

Significant Floor Action This Week:

The Senate amended and passed the $1.75 billion General Fund Budget which includes an additional $53.8 million for Medicaid, an additional $55 million for Corrections, and funds for a 3% cost of living increase for non-education state employees. The bill now goes to the House [SB178 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House passed a bill that would authorize a county to use warrant funds on public facilities owned by a municipality located within the county. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB148 by Representative Randy Davis].

The House passed a bill that would provide that a business license is not required for a person traveling through a municipality on business if the person is not operating a branch office or doing business in the municipality. The bill is now pending in the Senate County and Municipal Government Committee [HB107 by Representative Paul Lee].

The House passed a bill that would create an exception that would allow the surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, rescue squad member, or certain volunteer firefighters, killed in the line of duty to continue to receive benefits after remarriage. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB192 by Representative Matt Fridy].

The House passed a Senate Sunset bill that would extend the State Pilotage Commission until October 1, 2020. An amendment was adopted which removed a Senate amendment to increase the commission from 3 members to 4. The bill now awaits Senate action on the House amendment [SB74 by Senator Paul Bussman].

The Senate amended and passed a House bill that would provide that the state salary of an official court reporter would conform to the pay scale established by the State of Alabama Personnel Department Pay Plan for state employees, would establish the specific pay grade and step rate, and would make him or her subject to any cost-of-living and merit raises given to state employees. The bill now returns to the House for action on the Senate amendments [HB106 by Representative Paul Lee].

The House debated for several hours, than carried over, a bill that would require operators of vehicles to use lighted headlamps from sunset to sunrise instead of from a half hour after sunset to a half our before sunrise [HB333 by Representative Ritchie Whorton].

The Senate passed a House bill that would abolish boards, commissions, committees, task forces and authorities that are inactive or inoperable. The bill now goes to the Governor [HB22 by Representative Chris Pringle].

The Senate passed a bill that would allow capital defendants to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable or the defendant so chooses. The bill is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee [SB272 by Senator Trip Pittman].

The House passed a bill that would allow the taking of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of bait with a baiting privilege license from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB21 by Representative Jack (JW) Williams].

The House passed a Senate bill that would exempt the gross proceeds from the sale of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion from the state sales and use tax for five years. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB156 by Senator Tim Melson].

The House passed a bill that would require the Department of Revenue to develop and make available a single point of filing and payment system for county and municipal motor fuel taxes, and require the standardization of county and municipal motor fuel taxes. The bill now goes to the Senate [HB298 by Representative Paul Lee].

The House passed a Senate bill that would require day care centers to provide parents with information about influenza disease and the influenza vaccine. The bill now goes to the Governor [SB45 by Senator Billy Beasley].

Budgets

  • The Education Trust Fund Budget, HB175 by Rep. Poole, has passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance & Taxation Education Committee.
  • The General Fund Budget, SB178 by Sen. Pittman, has passed the Senate and is pending in the House Ways & Means General Fund Committee.

Summary

  • Bills Introduced: 795
  • Bills that have passed house of origin: 262
  • Bills that have passed both houses: 69
  • Bills that are pending the Governor’s signature: 35
  • Bills that have been vetoed: 0
  • Constitutional amendment bills pending referendum: 7
  • Bills enacted: 27

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In Case You Missed It

House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.

The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”

Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.

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The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.

Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.

Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.

The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.

Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.

The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.

Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.

In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.

SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.

Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”

State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”

The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.

The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.

The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.

The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.

Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.

SB185 passed 101-0.

Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.

Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1  for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.

SB215 passed the House 87-0.

The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.

State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.

SB231 passed 87-2.

The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.

The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.

The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.

Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.

Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.

Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.

 

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Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday

Sam Mattison

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By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.

Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.

Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.

The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.

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Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.

Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.

Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.

Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.

Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.

Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.

The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.

Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.

It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.

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Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor

Sam Mattison

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By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.

The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.

Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.

Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.

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Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.

Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)

Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.

Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.

The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.

Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.

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House OKs bill to clarify consulting contracts by state legislators

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill to try to clarify how legislators accept consulting contracts under Alabama’s 2010 ethics law. Some pundits have suggested that House Bill 387 is actually designed to weaken the existing ethics law.

Sponsor state Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa, argues that the legislation is merely a clarification and is intended to prevent legislators from inadvertently crossing the line into illegality.

Wingo said that his bill would require legislators to notify the Alabama Ethics Commission that they have entered into a consulting agreement in an area outside of their normal scope of work.

State Rep. Paul Beckman, R-Prattville, said, “I have never understood why members of this body were allowed to take contracts as consultants or counselors.”

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Wingo said, “Never do I use the word counselor in my bill; it is consulting.”

Beckman asked, “Are we going to be getting into an area where  every time we turn around we create a bureaucratic nightmare where we have to go get an opinion. These opinions whether it is orally or written don’t hold up in a court of law.” Beckman said, “We are serving the people here but we get this admonition that we can still be a consultant if we get an opinion.”

Wingo said, “This does not apply to professions where a member is currently licensed.”

Beckman said, “I would like to see more opinions coming out of the Ethics Commission. Right now we have the Ethics Commission competing with the Attorney General’s office over who has more authority.”

State Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, said,”This happened to a friend of mine. He just got out of prison. He was a state senator and had a written letter from the Ethics Commission which his lawyer read at trial and the jury convicted him anyway.”

Rogers never named his friend, but reporters think he was talking about former state Sen. Edward Browning ‘E. B.’ McClain who spent over 22 years in the legislature until he was convicted on 47 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, bribery, and money laundry in 2009.

A federal jury found that McClain and the Rev. Samuel Pettagrue were guilty in a scheme where McClain would secure public funds for Pettagrue’s community programs and then receive a kickback once the funds were in hand. McClain was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison. McClain was not prosecuted under the Alabama ethics law as the state has a much weaker ethics statute then. The current ethics law was passed in 2010.

Rogers said, “If they offer me a consulting contract for a field like aerospace engineering that I know nothing about they are trying to pay me off. If you can already be a consultant for something you know about why would you seek a consulting contract for something you don’t know about.

Rogers this is how they can pay you off for your vote.”

State Rep. Artis “A.J.” McCampbell said, “I don’t like making changes to things like this because we get into things called unintended consequences.”

McCampbell was reading from the bill and Wingo said, “You are reading from the original version it has completely changed.” “We worked tirelessly on this bill with the Ethics Commission this is not a fly by night bill.”

“If a member of the legislature enters into a contract to do a consulting contract outside of their normal field of work this bill requires that they consult with the Ethics Commission first,” Wingo said. “It is up to the member to notify the Ethics Commission not to the company or person offering them the money.”

State Representative Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said, “Everybody but legislators are allowed to do contract work up to $30,000.”

Rep. Wingo said, “This is not intended to be a roadblock.”

State Representative Arnold Mooney, R-Indian Springs, said, “The whole purpose of this is not to prevent members from doing work in your field.” “What you are doing is offering to protect me.”

State Representative John Knight, D-Montgomery, asked Wingo what the Alabama Attorney General said about this legislation.

Wingo replied, “I have not contacted the Attorney General.”

Knight responded, “Something from the Ethics Commission does not carry a lot of protection from the Attorney General. We have seen that in the past. I think the Attorney General and the Ethics Commission should be in agreement in the working on this.”

Wingo answered, “Maybe this is a first step.”

Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, asked, “Do we have anybody doing work outside of their regular scope of work?”

Wingo answered, “Yes I think so.”

Wingo said, “If we had had this bill four or five years ago maybe we could have been spared the embarrassment that this body experienced with the former Speaker.”

Wingo was referring to former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard who was convicted of 12 counts of felony ethics violations in June 2016. Ironically, Hubbard is largely responsible for creating the ethics law that he was found guilty of violating 11 times in his relentless pursuit of outside contracts and personal wealth.

Unlike McClain, however, Hubbard has not yet served any of this sentence.

House Bill 387 passed 67-0 with 26 legislators abstaining.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

(Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group’s Lisa Osborn in 2009 was consulted in this report.)

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Week Seven Legislative Report: Budgets pass houses of origin

by Beth Lyons Read Time: 13 min
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