"Passing any one of these reforms would have meant a tremendous, positive change for the way the people's business is conducted in Montgomery. Passing all seven of these reforms represents a sea change of historic proportions and will make Alabama the new standard for ethical government in the United States. In just one week Alabama has gone from having some of the weakest ethics laws in the country to having some of the strongest. The passage of these bills will usher in a new era of transparent, accountable and responsive government in Alabama that can begin the work of restoring the public’s trust.
"I want to thank members of the House and Senate for working around the clock these past few days to pass strict, meaningful anti-corruption reforms that will bring an unprecedented level of accountability and transparency to state government. I particularly want to thank House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh for their leadership in shepherding these bills through the legislative process in such a short time. ”
Speaker Hubbard said the new Legislature was able to accomplish more anti-corruption reforms in the seven-day special session than previous bodies have been able to achieve in more than 100 years.
“The success of this special session cannot be overstated,” Hubbard said. “This new Legislature sent a clear message to the people of Alabama this week: we heard your call for change, we listened and we delivered. I want to thank Governor Riley for calling this special session and proposing such an ambitious set of reforms.”
Senator Marsh said he was proud of the Senate for its efficient work in the special session.
“I’m proud of the Senate body for the hard work it has done this week,” Marsh said. “It took some long hours and sometimes lengthy deliberations, but in the end, the Senate delivered a package of anti-corruption bills that the people of Alabama can be proud of.”
The reforms passed by the House and Senate include:
• an end to unlimited gift-giving by lobbyists and others to public officials and public employees;
• a ban on pass-through pork spending;
• subpoena power for the Alabama Ethics Commission;
• the outlawing of transfers between political action committees;
• the end of “double dipping” by legislators;
• mandatory ethics training for elected officials and public employees at all levels of government and requiring those who lobby the Executive Branch to register as lobbyists with the Ethics Commission; and
• ensuring that public, taxpayer-funded resources aren’t used to subsidize partisan political groups
Throughout his two terms in office, Governor Riley has pushed for passage of these reforms to bring more accountability and transparency to state government. Up until now, the Legislature failed to pass them year after year. Last month’s election results that gave Republicans their first legislative majority in more than 100 years breathed new life into efforts to reform state government.
The bills will now be transmitted to the Governor's office where they will undergo legal review before being signed into law.