House Majority Ldr Ledbetter urges action on ethics — ‘If we don’t, we’re going to lose jobs’
Thursday on Huntsville radio’s WVNN, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) explained the current push behind adjusting Alabama’s ethics law within his body and the Alabama Senate.
Ledbetter said one issue that needed to be addressed was the current law’s clarity, and he cited a lack of a “clear opinion” offered by governing boards whenever a question about ethics arose.
“I think there’s no question it has got to be more clear,” Ledbetter said. “You know, the thing about it is as long as our members know what they can and can’t do, I think 99.9 percent of the members are going to do what they’re supposed to do. But when there’s a moving target, and you can’t get a clear opinion from the ethics committee, that’s a problem.”
“That’s something that’s being addressed,” he continued. “Now, I know that there’s a conversation today about the bill that was brought through the House that cleaned up the language to recruit industry. That’s purely, and simple just a tool to recruit industry and I’m a little bit conflicted why people dig into that more than what’s there. I don’t really understand that.”
The DeKalb County Republican questioned the motivations of the news media on the topic, and he noted a dust-up Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) had with Birmingham’s Talk 99.5 host Matt Murphy earlier in the day.
“I know there was a little bit of confusion this morning with the Pro Tem and I heard a little bit about that,” Ledbetter said. “But the bill that comes through the House was simply a bill to enable economic developers to do their jobs so we could create more commerce in Alabama. It’s almost like we got people out in the area that’s trying to create news instead of report it. I’m conflicted a little bit with that.”
Ledbetter went on to explain to listeners how aspects of the ethics law impacts economic development with regards to recruiting industry to the state.
“Last year, we corrected the portion of the ethics bill that would hurt us in recruiting business,” Ledbetter said. “It’s a little bit complicated. The people that does the recruiting are called ‘partners,’ and they have to register as lobbyists because they’re asking for certain things to bring business within the state of Alabama. That was kind of a conflict. We corrected that last year inside that ethics law by itself.”
“What happened was, the Senate passed it but they sunsetted it, which was kind of odd but they got it out like that, and you know, this year the sunset – April 1 was when it went into sunset, so right now we don’t have anything to help our commerce. We met with Greg Canfield, who is over commerce for Alabama, economic development. What we got now is you’ve got large companies that does recruiting for these large companies like Toyota-Mazda. And can assure you this is on their radar and we don’t need to hurt our state and what’s been going on with our growth by not having something clear. It needs to be out open and transparent. I think it has been.”
“This is just the economic part of it that I’m speaking of,” he added. “So, I hope that we can get something done on that. It’s imperative that we do. My concern is if we don’t, we’re going to lose jobs because of it.”