Governor Riley sets special ethics reform session for Dec. 8

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Next week a special legislative session gets underway over ethics reform. Governor Bob Riley called the session in wake of Republicans taking control of the statehouse and with the indictments of lawmakers and lobbyists over electronic bingo. Taxpayers say something must be done.

"Believe me, there are crooks out there and theY need to do something about it," Anthony Fizzle, a taxpayer, said.

The package of bills calls for limiting the amount of money lobbyists can spend on lawmakers, eliminating PAC to PAC transfers and stopping lawmakers from double dipping with two government jobs. Lawmakers believe the session will make a difference.

"I think we are going to pass very solid and strong ethics reform. We are poised and ready to pass solid bills," Rep. Jack Williams of Vestavia Hills said.

Ethics reform bills died in the past when Democrats controlled the statehouse. Birmingham Rep. John Rogers says Democrats will support the reform effort.

"Democrats support tough bills. We are not going to fight what they are going to do for ethics," Rogers said.

Rogers could be forced to decide between being a lawmaker or an employee at UAB if the double dipping ban passes.

"If they want to be fair, I have no problem with any law they want to pass, as long as it's fair," Rogers said.

But not all taxpayers believe the lawmakers will pass anything that will make a difference.

"I don't see it happening. I think it's the same old, same old. That's all I see. The same thing over and over again," taxpayer Paul Strickland  said.

The special session begins December 8th at four o'clock. There will be a public hearing at six o'clock on the anti-corruption package.

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