Lawmaker Concerned With Language In Lobbying Law


By Catalina Trivino

In the past couple of months, three republicans have quit the Legislature to take jobs elsewhere.  One of their fellow Republican legislators says he's concerned about why they're leaving before the end of their terms and the type of jobs they're taking.

State Representatives Jay Love, Barry Mask and Jim Barton have recently left the Alabama House of Representatives after taking other jobs, which now means three special elections are ahead to fill their seats.

While the resignations are a concern for Republican State Representative, Paul Beckman, he says it's the bigger picture that has him worried...

He says since the 2010 election, there've already been 9 special elections.. so now he wants to re-visit the the law that's supposed to stop lawmakers from turning around to become lobbyists.

"Basically, says that no public official can go to work with a lobbyist group if they served in the legislative body. That statute talks about the 'legislative body.' Now, when I think of the legislative body, I'm thinking of both branches of the government. I'm thinking of the house and the senate," Said Beckman.

Although that code does not specifically say "house or senate." Beckman thinks that could be a loophole for those who lobby before what he says is supposed to be a 2-year prohibitive period if former house members lobby in the senate and former senators lobby the house.

"You cant go working for the legislature then go out and work for a lobbyist group and it's not intended for to look at where if you came from th house, you can go do the senate and visa versa... whoever came up with that notion, I question it," Said Beckman.

And so does Alabama Ethics Commision President, Jim Sumner. He says the law was last changed in 1995...

"It needs to be more clear and it needs to be more prohibitive than it has been. I think that was clearly the intent of the legislature at the time of the 1995 ammndments," Said Sumner.

Alabama News Network tried to contact Barry Mask and Jay Love about whether they had taken lobbying jobs -- Mask did not return our calls. Love had no comment.


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