Lawmakers approves ethics exemption for economic developers
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers voted Tuesday to exempt economic developers from the state law that governs lobbyists, making permanent a temporary exemption that was approved last year.
The Alabama Senate voted 31-0 for the bill. It now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature.
Under the bill, economic developers would not be considered lobbyists and would not register with the state or be required to disclose their employers and activity. Proponents said developers often sign confidentiality agreements as they work on projects and that the disclosure requirements would hinder their work.
Lawmakers last year approved a temporary exemption that expired April 1. The bill approved Tuesday makes the exemption permanent.
“It has been in effect for a year and caused no problems that we’ve heard of,” Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston said.
The measure was approved after a broader proposal to make sweeping changes to the state ethics law stalled in committee amid criticism by the state attorney general and head of the Alabama Ethics Commission.
Marsh said they made the decision to deal with the urgent bill that focused solely on the economic developer issue.
Marsh said he believed lawmakers do need to address ambiguities in the state ethics law. However, he also seemed uncertain if the measure would resurface this session as lawmakers focus on other issues, including lottery legislation and education bills.
“We’ve got big issues this session to deal with,” Marsh said.