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Speaker: Don’t expect House action on comprehensive ethics reform

Brandon Moseley

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On Thursday, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, addressed reporters about the week’s legislative accomplishments.

On Wednesday, a controversial rewrite of state ethics laws appeared to stall in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Reporters asked McCutcheon if the House of Representatives would introduce their own comprehensive ethics reform bill.

“No, I don’t see any comprehensive ethics package coming from the House,” McCutcheon said. “Not in this session.”

The bill, SB230, is sponsored by state Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore. It has been widely criticized as weakening the state ethics laws.

On Saturday, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said he cannot support SB230 as it is written right now.

Reporters also asked McCutcheon where the Common Core repeal effort was in the process.

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McCutcheon said the Committee was working on the Common Core issue and were meeting with the appropriate people — the state department of education, the business community, the school board, teachers and parents.

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“We had a good debate on the general fund,” McCutcheon said. “We passed out a $2.1 billion budget for the general fund. We had some money there for mental health, additional troopers and more corrections workers. As we move into next week, I am anticipating the Senate working on the education budget.”

“We have members of the Alabama House and Senate working with the U.S. Attorney’s office on possible legislation to remedy the problems in the Department of Justice report,” McCutcheon said. “The legislature has the Joint Prison Task Force, and we also have a group that is not a formal task force, but they are working to gather information.”

McCutcheon said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Hill, R-Odenville, is taking the lead on the House response to the DOJ on the prisons.

Reporters asked about the abortion ban bill, sponsored by State Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur.

“I just know that while we were in session there were some discussions among Chairperson Collins and Representative Wingo,” McCutcheon said.

On Thursday, House bill 49, sponsored by State Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Robertsdale, which formally extends stand your ground principles to churches, was on the floor but was carried over.

“There have been some discussions with the Senate on the bill,” McCutcheon said. “They are writing some amendments dealing with the church’s liability, both civil and criminal. I thought it was wise to work on those amendments.”

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed HB212 sponsored by State Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Killen, that makes it a misdemeanor to drive for more than a mile and a half in the left lane of an interstate without passing, unless there is congestion, hazardous conditions or in a construction zone.

“This left lane issue is very, very important,” McCutcheon said. “Travelling in the left lane, it can be a hazard. Traffic starts backing up and people start getting impatient.”

On Thursday, the House of Representatives had prayer for State Rep. Jimmy Martin, R-Clanton, who is being treated for lung cancer.

“Jimmy Martin is a sick man,” McCutcheon said. “He is doing fair.”

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