Friday, May 19, 2006

Whaddaya know? Bipartisanship

The $249.95 lunch is infamous in Montgomery. That's because Alabama's ridiculously lax disclosure laws allow lobbyists to spend up to $250 apiece on each legislator each day and report not a one of those gifts. No good can come of that system, and it's past due for an overhaul.

In a glorious instance of bipartisan unity, Democratic Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley and Republican lieutenant governor candidate George Wallace, Jr., seem to agree on that sentiment. Baxley wants to cap the amount that lobbyists can give a legislator at $250 a year, while Wallace wants to ban such gifts altogether.

Wallace also calls for members of the state Ethics Commission to be elected, not appointed, and for members to have independent authority to launch investigations. Both ideas deserve strong consideration, though the legislation would have to be carefully crafted to prevent highly partisan commission races and probes.

It's good to hear politicians talk about cleaning up Montgomery again. Now let's hope that discussion doesn't fizzle out after election year passes, as it has so many times before.

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