LWVAL logo Ethics in Government
A Tier II Legislative Priority for the League of Women Voters of Alabama in 2009

The public should have confidence in the integrity of government - that public office is being used for the public good and not private gain.
| Legislation to watch | About the legislation | LWVAL's position | Progress of the legislation | LWVAL action |

Legislation to watch in 2009

HB76 - Sponsored by Representatives Ward and Ball. Now Substitute 107259-1.

HB262 - Sponsored by Representative Black
SB177 - Sponsored by Senators Ross, Butler, Denton, Benefield, Penn, Means, and Preuitt

HB582 - Sponsored by Representative DeMarco, Canfield, Ward, McLaughlin, Collier, Black. Now Substitute 108490-1.

HB594 - Sponsored by Representatives Gipson Hubbard, McClurkin, Love, Ball,
Hill, Drake, Moore (P), Galliher, Morrow, Allen, Laird, Williams, Baker (A), Shiver, Collier, Wood, Ward, Bentley, Mask, Ison, Gaston and Fincher

SB238 - Sponsored by Senators Barron, Means, Penn, Benefield, Little (Z), and Mitchem
SB298 - Sponsored by Senator Barron

SB250 - Sponsored by Senators Little (T), Bedford, Mitchem, Barron, Coleman, Figures, Benefield, Means, Little (Z), Penn

LWVAL is also monitoring HB235,
HB652, and SB419 [companion to HB582]. See Monitored Legislation to read about these bills that address Ethics in Government.

About the legislation


The purpose of HB 76 is to amend Sec. 36-25-3 Code of 1975 to give subpoena power to the Ethics Commission.

Substitute limits to cases where complaints have been filed that have proceeded beyond the preliminary inquiry stage.

HB262 / SB177 (same legislation)

[HB262 filed in previous session.]
Currently, public officials and public employees whose annual compensation is $50,000 or more must file a statement of economic interest with the Ethics Commission. This bill would increase the threshold to $75,000 or more annually and allow the commission to adjust the amount pursuant to changes in the U.S. Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index, or a successor index.


Relating to the Ethics Law: to revise the categories for reporting on the statement of economic interests, provide further for the appointment and confirmation of members of the Ethics Commission, allow four members of the commission to institute a complaint, broaden the definition of lobbying to include the executive branch, provide further for the definitions of family member of a public employee, personal gain, sphere of influence, and confidential information, provide for the filing of electronic reports with the commission, and require mandatory ethics training for public officials, public employees, and lobbyists.


Revises and reorganizes existing law into nine articles; clarifies and revises certain terms and adds new terms and definitions; amends the appointment and confirmation process; guarantees an annual minimum level of appropriations; calls for electronic filing of statements, reports, notices and other required filings; calls for subpoena power for the commission; requires disclosure of all lobbyists’ expenditures on public officials/employees; adds registration requirements for lobbyists who attempt to influence Executive Department agencies and the awarding of grants and contracts.

SB238 / SB298 (same legislation)

[The Alabama ethics code contains a section that lays out the Ethics Commission’s process and procedure for conducting an investigation.  This bill adds one line to that section.]

SYNOPSIS: Under existing law, there is no time period within which complaints filed with the Ethics Commission are to be investigated. This bill would provide that a complaint filed with the Ethics Commission must be investigated within 30 days from the date the complaint was filed.

SB250 Substitute 110051-1

This bill would expand the definition of "lobbyist" to include a person seeking to obtain a contract with a governmental entity on behalf of a third party.

LWVAL's Position

LWVAL supports HB76 

LWVAL supports HB262 / SB177.
LWVAL position supports the filing of a Statement of Economic Interest by appointed officials and public employees who are paid $50,000 or more a year, the amount to be adjusted periodically. 

LWVAL supports HB582 Substitute 108490-1.
LWVAL supports HB582 Substitute 108490-1
based on its position on Ehics in Governemnt which calls for clear and enforceable ethics law; processes/procedures for ethical conduct of elected and appointed public officials & public employees; an independent and impartial Ethics Commission with sufficient authority to perform its responsibilities; subpoena power for the Commission; guaranteed and adequate funding; the filing of statements of economic interest by all public officials and candidates for offices and appointed officials and public employees paid $50,000 or more a year (the amount to be adjusted periodically).  Also based on LWVAL's Legislature Position: Calls for positing of information on internet  and a substantial reduction in the amount a lobbyist may spend on each legislator (& family members) without disclosure.

LWVAL supports HB594.
LWVAL supports HB594 based on its position on Ethics in Governemnt and on Legislature. See support for HB582 Substitute 108490-1 above.

LWVAL opposes SB238 / SB298
Limiting the time the Commission has to investigate a complaint is limiting the Commission’s authority to conduct an investigation and could be a major problem given the Commission's lack of resources.

LWVAL supports SB250 Substitute 110051-1.


Progress of the Legislation

HB76 was prefiled 2/3/09 and assigned to the House Committee on the Judiciary. 2/12/09 Substitute 107259-1 pending 3rd read and favorable from Judiciary.

HB262 3/5/09 passed House (95-0) and sent to Senate. 3/24/09 referred to Senate Committee on Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics, and Elections. 4/16/09 2nd reading and placed on calendar; 3rd reading pending. Favorable from CCFE&E. On the Judicial Committee agenda, along with HB594, at its 4/29/09 meeting. 

SB177 02/03/2009 read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics, and Elections (CCFE&E). Favorable from CCFE&E. 2/19/2009 read for the second time and placed on the calendar. Pending third reading on day 7. 5/15 third reading carried over.

HB582 2/19/09 1st reading and sent to House Judiciary; 2/26/09:  Read for the second time, favorable from Judiciary.  Placed on the calendar Legislative Position with one substitute. Pending 3rd read. 4/16/09 2nd read and placed on calendar, pending third read and favorable from Jud.  Also on 4/16/09 Speaker removed bill from calendar and recommitted to Jud. on request of Rep. De Marco.
5/07 indefinitely postponed.

read for the first time 2/24/09 and assigned to House Judiciary. On the Judicial Committee agenda, along with HB262, at its 4/29/09 meeting. 

SB238 was prefiled 2/3/09, referred to the Senate Committee on Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics, and Elections (Senate C&E).

SB298 filed 2/5/09, referred to Senate Governmental Affairs.  Public hearing on SB 298 on 3/10/09.   Committee is re-writing.

read for the first time 2/3/09, referred to the Senate Governmental Affairs. Passed GA favorable. 2/12/09 read for 2nd time and placed on calendar. Passed Senate 2/17/09 25-0. Read for first time in House 2/19/09 and referred to House Committee on the Judiciary. 3/26/09  3rd read pending favorable from Judiciary with one substitute (110051-1).

LWVAL Action

LWVAL has expressed support for HB76 Substitute 107259-1.

LWVAL has expressed support for HB262/SB177.

LWVAL has expressed support for HB582 Substitute 108490-1.

LWVAL has expressed support for HB594.

LWVAL has expressed opposition to SB238 / SB298. On 3/9/09, a letter was sent to each member of the Governmental Affairs Committee stating this opposition. Read this letter as sent to Sen. Mitchell, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. As stated above, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee is rewriting SB298. LWVAL is keeping track of this and will alert if/when there is a need for members and the public to act.

LWVAL has expressed support for SB250, now Substitute 110051-1.

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