Government Accountability, including Ethics in Government

LWVAL Action Priority Level I (Highest) - Monitoring and action of highest priority. Major area for resource expenditures.

Click a bill to see sponsor(s), synopsis, link to the bill, League action and justification for that action, and progress of the bill through the legislative process.

Legend:
thumbs_up_icon.jpg = LWVAL's support for the legislation.
thumbs_down_icon.jpg = LWVAL's opposition to the legislation.
green-right-arrow.jpg = new bill activity; change from previous week's report such as new progress in the legislature and/or League action. Bill may be one newly added to the report. These updates are in green font.

Contact information for legislators and committees referenced in the bills below:
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LWVAL has taken a position on these bills:

thumbs_down_icon.jpgSB8 - Court of the Judiciary, appeals to Supreme Court, legislative approval of Supreme Court decisions, continued service of judge upon filing of complaint with the Judicial Inquiry Comm., auth. const. amend.

Sponsor(s): Senator Hightower

Synopsis: Currently, decisions about a judge made by the Court of the Judiciary can be appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. This proposed Constitutional amendment would add another layer of review. The legislature would review the Supreme Court's decision and a vote of 2/3 of the legislators would be needed to remove the judge. Moreover, this amendment would remove the requirement that a judge be disqualified from acting as a judge upon the filing of a complaint with the Court of the Judiciary.


League Action and Justification: Oppose. This would make removal of a judge strictly political.

Bill Progress in Legislature:
02/07/2017:
First Read and assigned to Senate committee on Judiciary (JUD)

thumbs_down_icon.jpgHB166 - Courts, require Judicial Inquiry Commission to submit complaints against Justices of the Supreme Court or Judges on the Court of Criminal or Civil Appeals to the House Judiciary Committee for a decision of further adjudication, const. amend.

Sponsor(s):  Representative Beckman

Synopsis:  This bill would change the procedure to be followed if the Judicial Inquiry Commission files a complaint against a justice of the Supreme Court, the Court of Civil Appeals, or the Court of Criminal Appeals.  Rather than sending those cases to the Court of the Judiciary (as is presently done, and would continue to be done with lower-court judges), the case would be sent to the House Judiciary Committee.  That committee would determine whether to implement impeachment procedures in the legislature (with details still to be developed), or to refer the case to the Court of Criminal Appeals (for Supreme Court and Court of Civil Appeals Justices) or the Court of Civil Appeals (for Court of Criminal Appeals Justices).  The court may remove, suspend without pay or censure the Justice.


League Action and Justification:  Oppose. This bill would make these cases more political, since the House Judiciary Committee would be so involved.  (This is a different structure than that proposed in SB8, which we are opposing for the same reason.)

Bill Progress in Legislature:

02/09/2017: Read for the first time and referred to the House committee on Judiciary (JUD)


thumbs_down_icon.jpgSB11 - Constitutional Amendment - Judicial Inquiry Commission and Court of the Judiciary, abolished, const. amend.

Sponsor(s): Senator Hightower

Synopsis: This proposed Constitutional amendment would abolish the Court of the Judiciary and the Judicial Inquiry Commission and any reference to them.


League Action and Justification: Oppose. This weakens oversight of the judiciary.

Bill Progress in Legislature:

02/07/2017:
First Read and assigned to Senate committee on Judiciary (JUD)

LWVAL is monitoring this bill:

SB195 - Medicaid Agency, eligibility verification mechanisms required, identity verification, use of third-party vendors auth., reporting of fraud

Sponsor(s): Senator Orr

Synopsis: This bill requires the Medicaid Agency "to use certain eligibility verification measures to eliminate the duplication of assistance and deter waste, fraud and abuse of benefits and would allow the agency to contract with a third party vendor under certain conditions." The bill also requires the agency to refer "certain instances" of fraud to the attorney general or district attorney and to report to the legislature regarding the effectiveness.


League Action and Justification: Monitor. Not enough information is given to determine if League positions fully cover the issues or the bill is really needed.

[NOTE: The Medicaid Agency is required to receive and review information concerning individuals enrolled on a quarterly basis. In the past, the agency has reported a low error rate for determining eligibility of Medicaid recipients has established procedures for referring cases of fraud/abuse for prosecution. This legislation appears to increase the workload of eligibility staffs and requires an additional outside contract which would increase expenses.]


Bill Progress in Legislature:

02/16/2017: First Read and referred to the Senate committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development (FR&ED)




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