SB 107 - Ethics Law, substantially revised

Sponsor(s): Sen. Hank Sanders and Sens. Smitherman, Barron, Benefield, Little (Z), Coleman, Dunn, Keahey, Singleton, Little (T), Denton, Poole, Mitchem, and Ross.

Summary/Synopsis: This is a multi-issue bill that “would increase the penalties for bribery of a public servant [one convicted of bribery subject to $100,000 fine.], failure to disclose a conflict of interest, and trading in public office [subject to $50,000 fines if convicted.]

This bill would further define the terms lobbyist and thing of value for Ethics Law purposes; require licensed attorneys to be appointed to the Ethics Commission; provide further for the compensation of members of the commission and limit the service of the director to10 years; allow online reporting; . . .provide a procedure for the issuance of subpoenas [majority vote of Commission required to petition Attorney General to issue a subpoena]; limit legislators from representing clients before an executive department or agency; limit a public official or public employee from contracting with certain educational institutions; increase the fees for registered lobbyists [from $100 to $250 per year]; provide further for the reports of registered lobbyists; increase the penalties for violations of the Ethics Law; limit a public official or public employee who is a member of an awarding authority from accepting certain things of value and . . . provide penalties for violations; and provide further for the filing of disclosure forms for certain travel by a public official or public employee.
League Action and Justification: LWVAL is monitoring SB 107.

Bill Progress in the Legislature: 1st reading: 1/12/10 and assigned to

SB 206 - Ethics Code substantially revised and reorganized

Sponsor(s): Sen. Ben Brooks, Sen. Scott Beason, Sen. Rusty Glover and Sen. Trip Pittman

Summary/Synopsis: This bill is the same as last year’s comprehensive ethics reform bill (HB 594). It calls for reorganization and revisions to the ethics code to create coherence and clarity. The proposed 9 chapter headings are General Provisions, State Ethics Commission Complaints and Investigations; Misuse of Official Position; Gifts, Meals, Travel, etc; Conflicting Financial Interests; Financial Disclosures; Lobbyists, Principals, and Others Interested in Government Action; and Violations – Reporting and Penalties. The bill limits gifts and various forms of hospitality that lobbyists may give to public servants, requires full disclosure of lobbyists’ expenditures on public servants and electronic filing of reports of lobbyists and the Commission. The bill gives subpoena power to the Commission and calls for a guaranteed level of funding.
League Action and Justification: LWVAL is monitoring SB 206.

Bill Progress in the Legislature: 1st reading: 1/12/10 and assigned to