Legislation aimed at clarifying Alabama’s ethics law stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday amid concerns about it weakening some rules while restricting activity by grassroots organizations. Committee Chairman Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, told reporters the bill was unlikely to pass the committee this session.
SB 230 by Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, would lift limits on what lobbyists could give public officials as long as gifts were reported and there was not corrupt intent. The legislation also would reduce the family members of elected officials covered by the ethics law. Additionally, it would stop the Alabama Ethics Commission from referring complaints to the Attorney General’s Office. Both Attorney General Steve Marshall and the Ethics Commission expressed concerns about the bill, according to news reports.
Alabama Farmers Federation External Affairs Director Matthew Durdin said the state’s ethics law needs clarification but agrees SB 230 is not the right vehicle.
“Farmers, families and organizations need clear, consistent and sensible ethics laws so they can have confidence as they legally engage in the electoral and legislative arenas,” Durdin said. “Voters also should have confidence their elected officials are not being unduly influenced or receiving personal gain.
“We will continue to work to make sure ethics reform strengthens the credibility of the process while protecting the rights of Federation members to have their voices heard,” he said.