Alabama House approves bill to revamp the state ethics law

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Montgomery, Alabama

The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday advanced a revamp of the state ethics law that supporters said would provide clearer rules but was opposed by the state attorney general who said it would make prosecutions more difficult.

Republican Rep. Matt Simpson, the sponsor of the legislation, said the current ethics law is often confusing and convoluted for the estimated 300,000 public employees and officials who fall under it. He said the goal was to provide clearer definitions. Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office said in a statement that he “strongly opposes this proposed rewrite of our ethics laws.”

The bill would raise the gift ban limit to public officials and employees to $100 per occasion and $500 per year. Current law prohibits public officials and employees from receiving a “thing of value” from a lobbyist or person who employs a lobbyist but allows exemptions for items of minimal value, now defined as less than $33.

 

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