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Legislators Make Recommendations on Amendments

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Politcal Reporter

For months, Alabamians have been focused on who they are going to vote for President of the United States. On Tuesday, they go to the polls and vote, where they face the hard stuff: voting on another fourteen amendments to the Alabama Constitution. A number of state legislators have expressed their opinions on the various amendments.

State Representative Christopher John England (D-Tuscaloosa) said that Amendment 1, “Expands the Auburn Board of Trustees to promote and encourage diversity. It also staggers the member’s terms so that they don’t all expire at the same time. I am voting yes.”

State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay) said that it changes when some of the board members’ terms expire, and adds two additional members to the board. On this amendment, I recommend either voting “yes” or not voting at all.

State Senator Paul Bussman (R-Cullman) said, “The Auburn Board of Trustees needs more diversity. They also do not need a large number of members terming out at the same time. Continuity and corporate knowledge is very important. I will vote yes.”

State Senator Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) wrote, “The primary goal of Amendment 2 is to ensure that park guest fees stay in the system to maintain our beautiful state parks. Amendment 2 also allows all parks the option to enter into concession agreements with businesses, which many of the parks already have the ability to do and will level the playing field by allowing that option to other parks. These private business partnerships benefit our park system. At no time does the park system lose ownership of a park or park facility if they enter into these “concessionaire” agreements. It simply gives them another option if they can’t afford to run a particular park or park facility rather than being forced to shut it down.”

Rep. England said, that Amendment 2, “Prohibits the Alabama Legislature from transferring money designated for or generated by the State Park System to other purposes. The amendment would also allow the State Park System to contract with private entities for operation and management of certain state owned facilities and land. If this were just about keeping the Legislature from transferring money out of the state park budget, then I would be okay with it. However, I do not like privatizing state owned facilities and land. I especially don’t like it in the Constitution so it can not be stopped if something goes wrong. I am voting no.”

Sen. Bussman wrote, “To my knowledge, there are no other departments or agencies that are constitutionally allowed to keep all of their revenue for their own operations. Court system certainly does not get to keep all of their revenue for their operations, etc. All revenues go to the general operations for the State services. The legislature then decides priorities through the budget process. I think this sets a bad precedence. Not against state parks but this is not the solution for our funding issues. I will vote no.”

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Rep. Morrow said, “The second amendment is meant to protect funding for state parks by earmarking the funds currently going to the parks. In recent years, the Legislature has transferred some funds out of the parks’ budget to help shore up shortfalls in other parts of the budget. If you want to prevent the Legislature from dipping into the park funds then you will want to vote “yes.” If you would rather risk cutting park funding to avoid other cuts or tax increases, then you would want to vote “no.””

State Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) urged voters to vote NO on Amendment 2. McClendon said that Alabama. “Has the highest earmarks in the nation – 90 percent. Next closest- 40 percent. US average 20 percent. Prevents legislature from putting money where needed. Earmarks are reason General Fund in big trouble. (Yes on 14).”

Rep. England wrote that Amendment three, “Attempts to make sure that local constitutional amendments that only apply to one county actually stay local and off of the statewide ballot. Although I am not a fan of the extra procedural hurdle this amendment creates, in my opinion it is a needed and necessary amendment. I am voting yes.”

Rep. Morrow said, “Right now, our state constitution requires some local amendments to appear on statewide ballots. Amendment three addresses this problem by allowing local amendments to appear only on local ballots as long as all legislators agree that the amendment applies to only one county or one political subdivisions (such as a city) that lies within multiple counties. I recommend voting “yes” on this amendment, because local voters should decide local issues.”

Sen. Bussman said that Amendment Three, “Simplifies local constitutional amendments that affect only one county. I will vote yes.

Rep. Morrow said that, “Amendment four gives more autonomy to the local county commissions and how they manage programs like their personnel system and emergency assistance programs. I recommend voting “yes.””

Rep. England wrote that Amendment Four, “Creates limited home rule so counties can create policies and procedures relating to county personnel, litter, public transportation, emergency assistance, and public safety. It does not, however, allow counties to raise taxes or fees or infringe upon a citizen’s property rights. More home rule and less Montgomery rule is always a good thing. I am voting yes.”

Sen. Bussman said
that Amendment Four, “Provides more local rule for counties. Still cannot raises taxes or fees under this amendment without legislature approving. I will vote yes.”

Rep. England wrote, “Amendment 5 – Repeals and revises sections of the Constitution dealing with the separation of powers between the 3 branches of government to combine them into one section without making any substantive changes to the law. I am voting yes.”

Sen. Bussman said that Amendment five, “Just cleans up the constitution a little bit. I will vote yes.”

Rep. Morrow said, “Amendment five modernizes language in our state’s constitution relating to the separation of powers, but makes no substantive changes. I plan to vote “yes.”

Rep. Morrow wrote that, “Amendment six replaces impeachment language in the state constitution with a new version that provides more details about the process, including how many votes are needed in the Senate to impeach an elected statewide officeholder. I support this amendment.”

Sen. Bussman wrote, “Impeachment is a very serious process. It should require 2/3 vote. The State school board should also be included in this process. I will vote yes.”

Rep. England wrote that, “Amendment 6 deals with Impeachment. It increases the voting threshold in the Senate to two-thirds majority vote to remove an elected official from office without changing the reasons why an elected official can be impeached. It also removes the state superintendent from the list of officials that can be impeached and adds the entire state school board to the list. To be clear, this amendment was passed prior to the current impeachment investigation of Governor Bentley. I currently serve on the House Judiciary Committee that has been charged with investigating whether or not Governor Bentley should be impeached. Therefore, I will not offer an opinion on Amendment 6 at this time.”

State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) who represents Etowah County said that Amendment Seven separates the Etowah County Sheriff Department employees from the rest of the county employees. Butler said, “The way it was previously required every county employee to get a raise if you gave a deputy a raise. That’s why many left as soon as they graduated the academy because a small city paid much more. There is not an employee retention issue in the other departments like the Sheriff’s Office.”

Rep. England said that Amendment Seven, “Only applies to Etowah County, so please don’t vote on this amendment unless you live in that county.”

Rep. Morrow said, “Amendment seven is a local amendment relating to the Sheriff’s office in Etowah County, and whose authority the office’s employees are under. I ask that you vote “yes” on this amendment.”

Sen. Bussman wrote, “Affects the citizens of Etowah Co only. I will not vote on this amendment.”

State Representative Art Mooney (R-Indian Springs) wrote for the Alabama Media Group that Amendment Eight is a “Reasonable ballot measure will ensure that union and non-union workers and businesses may peacefully coexist in a calm workplace environment, while, at the same time, helping to attract new investments, grow existing industries, and create additional jobs. It also provides you with a plain-spoken, air-tight constitutional right to hold a job and earn a living for yourself and your loved ones.”

Rep. England said that Amendment 8, “Enshrines Alabama’s right-to-work laws in our Constitution. We already have right-to-work laws so this amendment is absolutely unnecessary. I am voting no and I hope you will as well.”

Rep. Morrow wrote that, “Amendment eight makes “Right to Work,” which has been state law since the early1950s, a part of the constitution. This amendment changes nothing in state law and does nothing to help business, but makes limits on the rights of working people permanent. I plan to vote “no.””

Sen. Bussman wrote that Amendment 8, “Declares constitutionally that AL is a right to work state. I will vote yes.”

Rep. Morrow said, “Amendments nine and ten are local amendments affecting only Pickens and Calhoun counties. I ask that you do not vote on these amendments, and let their fate be decided by the people in those counties.”

Amendment 9 would allow a person who is under the age of 75 to be elected or appointed Probate Judge in Pickens County. Under the current law, the age limit is 70 for the Probate Judge in Pickens County. Amendment 9 would provide that a person’s age would be considered at the beginning of the time to qualify, or at the time of appointment.

The Pickens County Probate Judge is John Earl Paluzzi (D).

Sen. Bussman said that Amendment 9, “Affects the citizens of Pickens Co only. I will not vote on this amendment.
”

Rep. England said, Amendment 9 – Only applies to Pickens County so please don’t vote on this amendment unless you live in that county.

Amendment 10 would prevent any city or town that is not located completely or partially within Calhoun County from exercising police jurisdiction or planning jurisdiction over any territory in Calhoun County.

Sen. Bussman said that Amendment Ten. “Affects the citizens of Calhoun Co only. I will not vote on this amendment.”

Rep. England wrote, “Amendment 10 – Only applies to Calhoun County, so please do not vote on this amendment unless you in that county.”

Rep. Morrow said, “Amendment eleven creates “Tax Increment Districts.” Basically, the idea is that local county and city governments spend/borrow money to develop land for recruiting large businesses, and offer tax credits to recruit businesses to their areas. Then, once the business comes, the property tax on the developed land will incrementally increase over time to repay what was spent/borrowed to recruit them. Vote “yes” if you believe the risk of local governments incurring millions of dollars in debt is worth it to try to recruit business; Vote “no” if you think the risk is too high, and that counties and cities may end up borrowing money then not successfully recruiting a businesses to pay back what gets borrowed.”

Sen. Bussman wrote, “This amendment (11) would give cities the power to create Tax Increment Financing Zones. Essentially this allows cities to borrow money against expected property tax increases within the zone to pay for incentives to lure industries. I am voting no.

Rep. England wrote, “Amendment 11 – This amendment would give cities the power to create Tax Increment Financing Zones. Essentially this allows cities to borrow money against expected property tax increases within the zone to pay for incentives to lure industries. I am voting no.”

Rep. Morrow said, “Amendment twelve is a local amendment but could affect voters statewide. This amendment allows cities in Baldwin County to set up a toll road authority to build and operate more toll roads. Voting “yes” would help Baldwin finance its roadways, but could also mean you pay more when you go to the beach.

Rep. England, and Sen. Bussman both agreed that Amendment 12, “Only applies to Baldwin County, so do not vote on this amendment unless you live in that county.”

Rep. England wrote on Amendment thirteen, “Amendment 13 – This amendment would repeal any existing age restriction on the appointment, election, or service of an appointed or elected official with the exception of judgeships. I am voting yes.”

Sen. Bussman said that Amendment 13, “Removes age restriction on members of state boards, etc. Does not include judges. I will vote yes.”

Rep. Morrow said, “Amendment thirteen repeals age restrictions on appointed or elected office holders except for judges. Vote “yes” if you want to remove the limits; Vote “no” if you think the limits should stay.”

Rep. Morrow said, “Amendment 14 is complicated. This amendment fixes a hole between state law and legislative rules concerning a common procedural vote. The constitution requires one number of votes for this procedural vote to pass, but the rules of the House of Representatives require a smaller number of votes. This became an issue because most legislators abstain from voting on local bills, and a court recently overturned one such bill because it did not get the constitutionally required votes needed. This amendment retroactively fixes this hole by bringing the constitution in line with the House’s rules. I recommend voting “yes” only because, if this amendment fails, it could cause chaos and proration in cities and counties across the state, including taking away pay raises for law enforcement and stripping millions of dollars from local schools.”

Rep. England wrote on Amendment 14, “This amendment would ratify all local bills passed prior to November 8th, 2016 that received less than 32 affirmative votes on the Budget Isolation Resolution (referred to as the BIR). There is a lot of misinformation out there about this particular amendment. However, trust me on this one, if this amendment fails, the entire state, almost every county, could potentially suffer significant consequences including jeopardizing funding for schools, court systems, and many other vital local programs. So please vote yes!”

Sen. Bussman said that Amendment 14, “Fixes a glitch in the local legislation process. I will vote yes.”

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) told the Anniston Star that Amendment 14 was the most important amendment on the ballot. Marsh wrote in the ‘Anniston Star’, “All across Alabama, these bills include local support for education, health care, public safety, jobs and many other worthwhile local projects and protections. As you can see, if this happens, the impact would be disastrous. To cure this, the Legislature passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would correct this problem and leave in place the local laws that would otherwise be subject to being set aside.” “I strongly urge all registered voters to vote on Nov. and don’t forget to vote “yes” on Amendment 14.”

Many counties will also have local amendments on the ballot that only they get to vote on.

The general election is on Tuesday, November 8. The amendments will be on the back of your ballot. Polls open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm. To vote you must bring a valid photo ID.

 

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.”

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.”

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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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