In December 2010, the Alabama State Legislature passed a package of the toughest ethics laws in the country. This was quite an achievement and a great step to ensuring that corruption has no place in our state government moving forward.
One of the bills was to restrict public officials and state employees from receiving gifts of value. However, as with any significant legislation, it had unintended consequences. As a result, teachers were defined in the same category as our state elected officials and lobbyists because they are state employees.
While I agree that elected officials and government state employees should be restricted in the gifts they receive, teachers should not be included. I, along with Sens. Whatley (R-Auburn), Ward (R-Alabaster) and Dial (R-Lineville), plan to co-sponsor a bill in the 2012 session to exempt teachers from this law.