Resigning state officials must abide by certain laws

Resigning state officials must abide by certain laws

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

For Rep. Jay Love and Secretary of State Beth Chapman, if they start new jobs that include lobbying, there are certain limits spelled out in the state ethics code.

Chapman will be prohibited from lobbying the Office of the Secretary of State for a period of two years. The same goes for Rep. Love relating to lobbying of the Alabama House of Representatives.

"The ethics law specifically separates the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate as legislative bodies" said Jim Sumner, Director of the Alabama Ethics Commission. "It's not just the Alabama Legislature as far as the law is concerned."

Chapman will take a government relations job with ALFA, an insurance company with a main office in Montgomery.

Rep. Love, the outgoing chairman of the Ways & Means Education Committee, said he would work on education advocacy and policy efforts in the private sector. He said there are several groups he's interested in working with but didn't specify which ones.

"I'm willing to work with anybody who wants to move the ball forward on education" Rep. Love said. "I've not made a decision on exactly who I'm going with but I hope to align myself with, but I hope I can do a good job."

Specifically, Rep. Love isn't allowed to push for a particular issue with former colleagues in the Alabama House. Sumner said it's a difficult balance for someone like Love, who chaired one of the most powerful committees in the legislature.

Sumner said "You don't give up your friendships. You don't give up your ability to go to lunch or dinner and have friendships or play golf with people but you do have to actually stop at the line of advocating something on behalf of a client."

For Beth Chapman, she can't lobby the Secretary of State's Office once she's resigned because of how close she may be with some of the staff in the office.

"Those are people that she's probably had a hand in hiring, promoting, giving raises to, evaluating and so forth so she would have an upper hand in dealing with them."

When Republicans took over the State House in 2010, their first order of business was a Special Session to overhaul ethics laws called by then-Governor Bob Riley.

They left in provisions allowing former lawmakers to lobby the branch that they did not serve in at the time of their resignation or retirement. Democrats who controlled the legislature in 1995 were the ones who made the change to the ethics code allowing for the practice.

"[The legislative process] is a multiple step process and things have to move from one House to the other or vice versa so it does limit what you can do and you have to be very careful as you go about it."

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