Taylor looks forward to special session

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Troy Messenger

Governor Bob Riley will speak at a joint public hearing of the Alabama Legislature on Wednesday, December 8 shortly after the hearing is gaveled into session at 6 p.m.  The public hearing will take place in the historic Old House Chamber at the State Capitol.

Riley called legislators in to a special session starting on Wednesday to pass anti-corruption reform measures that will give Alabama the nation’s toughest ethics laws for public officials and public employees.

Email newsletter signup

Now that Republicans hold the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Governor Riley said lawmakers are eager to pass anti-corruption reforms during the special session.

And newly elected Republican state Sen. Bryan Taylor, who represents District 30 in the Senate, said he is looking forward to “for once, each and everyone of the governor’s ethics reform proposals being passed.”

“This election just showed us that voters are fed up with the arrogance we’ve seen from career politicians, and they’ve sent a message that they want to change the system,” Taylor said.

Riley is calling the new Alabama Legislature into special session Dec. 8 to address ethics and campaign finance legislation, including key items such as PAC-to-PAC transfers and double-dipping regulations. Riley’s package of legislation would restrict gifts and entertainment for public officials, bring more disclosure to campaign contributions, and stop legislators from having second jobs in state government. It comes after scandals that resulted in convictions or guilty pleas by three legislators and that left two current legislators and three lobbyists facing trial on corruption charges.

“You are about to see a sea change in the way lobbyists and legislators interact,” the lame-duck Republican governor said at a news conference announcing the special session.

Taylor, who is working with the legislative leadership to move the bills through the process, has a special interest in the reforms. Many are based on bills he drafted while working as policy director in Riley’s office.

“The momentum is there right now for successful passage,” he said. “These are the most important reforms in Alabama for decades.”

The governor wants to outlaw the transfer of money between political action committees, which has been used to hide the original source of campaign contributions.

Taylor said once passed, the ethics reforms “are going to be a cause for celebration. They are going to put Alabama, for the first time, at the top of a good list: that will be the strongest ethics laws in the country.”

Taylor defeated incumbent Democrat Wendell Mitchell in the November election.