- Associated Press - Thursday, April 4, 2019

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama House of Representatives has voted to exempt economic developers from the state law that governs lobbyists.

House members on Thursday approved the bill on a 94-4 to vote. It passed by a lopsided margin despite intense disagreements last year over whether the change created a broad loophole in the ethics law.

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

Lawmakers last year approved a temporary exemption that expired April 1. The House-passed bill makes the exemption permanent.

Rep. Alan Baker called it a “common sense” proposal to keep the state competitive with economic recruitment. Baker says developers often sign confidentiality agreements on projects.

The bill moves to the Alabama Senate.

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