Riley addresses legislature

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2010

MONTGOMERY – Gov. Bob Riley praised the new leaders of the Alabama Legislature for holding a public hearing at the start of the special session dedicated to cleaning up a broken political system that has been plagued by corruption for decades.

A special session dedicated to anti-corruption reforms is a rare, historic event in Alabama, and leaders of the new legislative majority began the session in equally rare fashion: by holding a public hearing on the opening day.

“We have a unique opportunity to finally pass true anti-corruption reform and we can’t afford to pass it up,” Gov. Riley said.

During the legislature’s first day, the Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) was elected Speaker of the House, and Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston) was named president pro-tem of the Senate.

In an address to the Legislature and the public at the beginning of the hearing, Riley urged lawmakers to “answer the people’s mandate to end the culture of corruption that has gripped our state’s political system for far too long.”

Last week, Gov. Riley announced the special session and published online the seven bills that constitute the anti-corruption reform package. The package includes proposals to:

• require full disclosure of spending by lobbyists on all public officials and public employees and put an end to unlimited gift-giving by lobbyists and others to public officials and public employees;

• ban pass-through pork spending;

• authorize subpoena power for the Alabama Ethics Commission;

• outlaw all transfers between political action committees;

• ban “double dipping” by legislators across the board;

• require mandatory ethics training for elected officials and public employees at all levels of government; and

• create of an online, searchable database of lobbyists’ disclosure reports so citizens can see who is trying to influence their elected leaders and how.

This legislation along with fact sheets to explain each bill is available online at