Legislation seeking to preclude lawmakers from resigning early

Published 1:28pm Saturday, November 2, 2013

Four months after Rep. Barry Mask (R-Wetumpka, District 31) was named the new CEO of the Alabama Association of Realtors, he became part of a “revolving door” like other former lawmakers within the state.

Sen. President Pro Tem Del Marsh hopes to stop the “revolving door,” filing a bill Thursday aimed at discouraging lawmakers from leaving office early to engage in lobbying activities.

Mask is potentially an example of what Marsh is trying to avoid.

After Mask took over as the CEO of the AAR, he told The Herald that he may have to do some “lobbying” as the new CEO.

Marsh’s bill would restrict someone like Mask from lobbying either the House or Senate for two years after leaving office as well as prohibit them from lobbying either legislative chamber during the term for which he or she was elected.

The proposal would help ensure lawmakers keep their commitment to voters who elected them, Marsh said.

“When someone is elected to public office, they owe it to voters to finish their term,” Marsh said. “Leaving office early to become a lobbyist ultimately casts a bad light on the majority of lawmakers who have a genuine interest in serving their constituents.”

Mask is not a registered lobbyist.

A similar law is presently on the books for lawmakers who leave office early. The law prohibits a former representative from lobbying in the House, but it would be OK in the Senate.

The same for a former senator. He would not be able to lobby in the Senate, but could do so in the House.

In addition to Marsh, Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Pike Road) said it should be more difficult to become a lobbyist after leaving office in order to maintain the public’s trust in elected officials.

“We have clearly seen a spike in lawmaker-to-lobbyist activity in recent years and it is time that we take action to make that transition more difficult,” he said. “I look forward to working with Sen. Marsh and others who are committed to upholding high standards for elected officials.”

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