Thursday, December 9, 2010

House Democratic leader Craig Ford says caucus will support most of the special session bills urged by Gov. Bob Riley

Published: Wednesday, December 08, 2010, 8:09 PM ??? Updated: Wednesday, December 08, 2010, 8:25 PM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, the minority leader of the 39 Democrats in the House of Representatives, said tonight that the Democratic House caucus will support six of the seven bills that Gov. Bob Riley asked lawmakers to pass in this special session that started at Riley's request today.

The exception: Senate Bill 2 by Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, which is designed to ban state and local governments and school boards from deducting from employees' salaries dues for unions or other membership organizations or contributions to political action committees.

[RELATED STORY: AEA, teachers speak out against Gov. Bob Riley's ethics proposals on payroll deductions for dues]

Ford said some private companies deduct union dues or other deductions from employees' paychecks and he thinks the bill discriminates against employees of governments and public schools by not allowing dues check-offs for them too.

''The bill of concern to us is the check-off bill. I feel personally that it discriminates against them,'' Ford said.

Referring to the other six bills, Ford said, ''We've read them. We're definitely in support of the ethics bills. We've told the (Republican legislative) leadership we're willing to work in a bipartisan manner.''

The other six bills, among other things, would give subpoena power to the state Ethics Commission and ban transfers of money between political action committees, which can hide a candidate's source of campaign money.

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