For Immediate Release: December 6, 2010
Scofield and Long discuss Special Session on Ethics
If Gov. Bob Riley’s ethics reform package is passed as is in a special legislative session that begins Wednesday, it will be one of the strongest in the country, according to District 27 Rep. Wes Long.
Riley, whose two terms as governor ends in January, said that last month’s elections give a historic opportunity for ethics reform.
“The opportunity to enact real reforms has never been better and the need has never been greater,” Riley said in a press release announcing the special session.
Governor-elect Robert Bentley issued a press release saying he supports the special session.
Long and Sen. Clay Scofield both support the reform package.
“If this package passes, Alabama should be in the top five in the country when it comes to ethics reform,” Long said. “It will change the face of Alabama government forever. A lot of thought went into this, and it’s going to be good for everyone.”
Long said he plans to sponsor a bill banning PAC-to-PAC transfers, a piece of legislation Marshall County residents should be very familiar with.
For the past eight years, former District 27 Rep. Jeff McLaughlin sponsored the bill, which passed the House of Representatives each year only to die in the Senate.
Scofield and Long say the bill will pass in the special session.
“It’s a total ban on transfers,” Scofield said. “It’s very strong.”
“I couldn’t even give money out of my campaign account to (Scofield’s) account,” Long said.
“It’s that good.”
Also included in Riley’s package of reform legislation are bills that will:
- Require disclosure of spending by lobbyists on public officials and employees
“I am extremely pleased with this,” Scofield said. “As it is, a lobbyist can spend up to $250 a day on a legislator without reporting it. This is one of the things I campaigned on. I don’t know exactly what the bill says, but I think it should go from $250 a day to zero. We’ll see what comes out.”
- Give subpoena power for the Alabama Ethics Commission
“I’m very much in favor of this,” Scofield said. “We have one of the only ethics commissions in the country without subpoena power. This will help them tremendously in doing their jobs.”
- End “double-dipping” by legislators
This is where legislators work for other state agencies, such as colleges and universities. The bill would ban legislators from drawing two salaries from state agencies. Scofield said he is happy about this bill and looks forward to seeing it pass.
- Require mandatory ethics training for all elected officials and public employees.
Scofield thinks this bill should go one step further and require all political candidates to have the training as well.”
It’s OK, but it needs to apply to candidates as well,” he said. “After a candidate is elected, he’s elected. What good is it? I might offer an amendment to this bill to include candidates.”
For More Information Contact: Charles Whisenant - The Arab Tribune
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