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Divided Alabama Senate approves ethics exemption

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A divided Alabama Senate has voted to exempt economic developers from the state law that governs lobbyists.

The 15-14 vote on Wednesday came after contentious debate over whether the bill was an economic development necessity or creates a wide new loophole in state ethics law. The House of Representatives will decide whether to go along with Senate changes.

Under the bill, economic developers would not be considered lobbyists and would not register with the state and disclose their activity.

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield has argued site selectors, who help companies decide where to locate, won’t work in Alabama if they must register as lobbyists and disclose projects that could be in the works.

Sen. Bobby Singleton, a Democrat from Greensboro, said that creating the exemption “stinks.”

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