The House took up the Senate bills in committee on Monday (theirs was a smaller committee, not comprised of all 105 members!). The House committee passed three of the four bills forwarded by the Senate but offered a substitute on SB14 – the Ethics Reform Bill. At this point I’ll just say there was significant collaboration and some compromise by all parties, mostly behind the scenes over the weekend and throughout Monday’s meetings. I remind myself, this is a process and so much as there is a process by which legislation must follow to be law, there is also a chess game of sorts by which opposing sides – seeking similar change – leverage proposed legislation during the process to reach an ultimate goal. This is all very interesting and certainly not lost on this freshman Senator.
The two bills to watch today are SB2 and SB14 in the House. I plan to spend some time in the House with members of the delegation to watch and listen to the debate.
Back to my amendment to HB11 – This bill provides for ethics training, which everyone needs but more so than ever with the ethics reform we are passing (hopefully) in the Special Session. The amendment provides for online training of local public officials (mayors, councilmen and county commissioners) to complete ethics training. The ethics training is broken down by Legislators, Executive Branch, Lobbyist, etc. Getting all of these people together in a central location is easy enough as most are or will be in Montgomery. However, getting local public officials together, even regionally, will be a challenge and falls into the “unfunded mandate” category. Another aspect, having been a city councilmen; there is a constant struggle between the demands of your “day job” and council duties. The amendment only applies to local public officials and is not intended to lessen the quality or quantity of the ethics training developed for local publ.
Another aspect of this amendment is that I’m gaining valuable firsthand knowledge of legislative process. Things moved quickly in committee and I was unable to introduce the amendment before HB11 was passed out of committee so I’ll introduce it when we consider the bill for passage on the floor today.
Looking forward to a spirited day in session; I’ll update as the day proceeds.