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Democrat Mayor Walt Maddox sees what lawmakers and governor can’t

Bill Britt

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Politicos across the state are recognizing that the state’s Republican leadership is endangering their legacy by passing legislation to weaken current ethics statutes.

Gubernatorial candidate Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox early this morning called on Gov. Kay Ivey to veto the hotly contentious House Bill 317, which carves out a certain class of economic professionals who are no longer subject to the state’s ethics laws.

“I encourage Governor Ivey to veto HB 317,” said Maddox Thursday morning. “If she does not reject this attempt to further weaken accountability, it will reinforce Alabama’s standing as one of the most corrupt states in the Union.”

As Maddox, a Democrat who for 10 years has served as a leader of a conservative city, points out in a press statement Republicans who have egregiously violated the state’s ethics laws.

“In the last two years, the Governor, Speaker of the House, and House Majority Leader have left office for violating Alabama law, Maddox said.

However, the fix was in on HB317 even before the Alabama State Senate voted to approve the bill on Wednesday night. In a 15 to 14 vote, Senate Republican leadership, with aid from Gov. Kay Ivey and Bradley Arrant lobbyists, narrowly defeated lawmakers who understood the many problems inherent in the legislation that Maddox stressed in his press statement.

“It is moments such as this that define whether Kay Ivey will stand on the right side of history or whether she will conform to the corruptible forces of lobbyists and special interests,” said Maddox.

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Lawmakers and long-serving public officials expressed dismay at how much energy and political capital Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh and Gov. Ivey expended on the bill. Several lawmakers voiced bewilderment at how passionately Republican leaders begged, cajoled and threatened just to pass legislation that wasn’t even on the radar a few short months ago.

Maddox, who faces a challenge in June’s Democratic primary from former Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb, leads in all their latest polls and will likely face Ivey in the Fall elections.

The Alabama Senate announced sine die around 9:30 a.m., leaving only the House standing between Ivey and her signing the controversial HB317 that Maddox opposes.

 

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