The members of this Section are attorneys interested in elections, ethics, campaign finance, lobbying, and government contracting disclosure issues at the federal, state, and local level. Attorneys in this Section wish to (1) foster communications and assist in the education of State Bar members on these subjects, and (2) serve as a resource for organizations and officials to assist in evaluating forms, rules, requirements, training programs, and proposed changes to the law. Annual dues are $15. For attorneys practicing for five years or less, dues are $10. Dues are waived ($0) for attorneys working in the government sector.
Article I: Name and Jurisdiction
Section 1. Name.
The name of this Section shall be the Section of Elections, Ethics, and Government Relations Law.
Section 2. Purpose.
The purpose of this Section shall be to promote the objects of the Alabama State Bar within the field of elections, ethics, and government relations law not assigned by the Board of Bar Commissioners of the Alabama State Bar to any other Section or to a Committee or Task Force of the Alabama State Bar.
Article II: Membership and Dues
Section 1. Membership.
Any active member of the Alabama State Bar Association who is in good standing upon request to the Secretary of this Section and upon payment of the Section dues for the current year, shall be enrolled as a member of this Section. The membership of this Section shall consist of members whose dues are paid where applicable. Members so enrolled shall constitute the membership of this Section, and shall be a member in good standing.
Section 2. Dues.
The initial Section dues shall be $15, and for any attorney practicing for five years or less, dues shall be $10. Dues are waived for attorneys working in the government sector. Dues may be fixed or adjusted by the membership at a regular annual meeting.
Article III: Officers
Section 1. Officers.
The minimum officers of this Section shall be a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and a Secretary and a Treasurer, or a Secretary-Treasurer.
Section 2. Council.
There shall be a council, which shall consist of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer (or the Secretary-Treasurer), the last retiring chairman, together with three other members to be elected by the Section, one for a term of one year, one fore a term of two years, and one for a term of three years. Hereafter the terms of members of the Council shall be for three years.
Section 3. Term of Office.
The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, (or the Secretary-Treasurer) shall be nominated and elected in the manner hereinafter provided at each annual meeting of this Section, to hold office for a term beginning at the close of the annual meeting at which they shall have been elected and ending at the close of the next succeeding annual meeting of the Section, or until their successors shall have been elected and qualified. The members of the Council shall be nominated and elected in the manner hereinafter provided at each annual meeting of this Section, and after the first year, to hold office for a term beginning at the close of the annual meeting at which they are elected and ending at the close of the third succeeding annual meeting of the Section, or until their successor shall been elected and qualified.
Article IV: Nomination, Election and Removal of Officers
Section 1. Nominations.
Not less than sixty days before the annual meeting, the Chairman shall appoint a Nomination Committee of at least three members of the Section of whom not more than one may be a member of the Council. The nominating committee shall make and report to the Section nominations for any offices and places on the Council held by members whose terms expire with said annual meeting, or for any offices which are then vacant. Other nominations may be made from the floor of the Section meeting.
Section 2. Elections.
All elections shall be by written ballot unless otherwise ordered by resolution duly adopted by the Section at the annual meeting at which the election is held.
Section 3. Removal.
The Section may remove any officer, with or without cause, at any time by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Section. If any elected member of the Council shall fail to attend two successive meetings of the Council, the office held by such member shall be automatically vacated, and the Council shall fill the vacancy for the unexpired term, unless the Council affirmatively votes otherwise.
Article V: Duties of Officers
Section 1. Chairperson.
The Chairperson shall be the chief executive officer of the Section and shall have charge of the general direction and promotion of its affairs, with authority to do such acts as are necessary or proper to carry on the business of the Section, including without limitation:
- presiding at all meetings of the Section and of the Council;
- formulating and presenting at each annual meeting of the Alabama State Bar a report of the work of the Section for the then past year if requested to do so by the President of the Bar;
- appointing such committees as are required or otherwise permitted by these By-laws;
- appointing members of the Section to act as liaison to groups and organizations as appropriate; and
- performing such other duties as are delegated by the Council.
Section 2. Vice-Chairperson.
Upon the death, resignation, or during the disability of the Chairperson, or upon the Chairperson’s refusal to act, the Vice-Chairperson shall perform the duties of the Chairperson for the remainder of the Chairperson’s term except in the case of the Chairperson’s disability and then only during so much of the term as the disability continues. In order to assure the greater continuity of the functioning of the Section, it shall be the duty of the Vice-Chairperson to collect and organize all available information essential and important to the appointment of committees.
Section 3. Secretary.
The Secretary shall be the custodian of all books, papers, documents, and other property of the Section, except funds and membership records. The Secretary shall keep a true record of the proceedings of all meetings of the Section and of the Council, whether assembled or acting under submission. The Secretary shall issue notices of all meetings of the Council and of the Section. The Secretary, in conjunction with the Chairperson, as authorized by the Council, shall attend generally to the business of the Section and shall perform other such duties as are incidental to the Secretary’s office or as delegated to the Secretary by the Chairperson.
Section 4. Treasurer.
The Treasurer shall be the general custodian of all funds of the Section and shall maintain the Section’s membership records. The Treasurer shall keep an accurate record of all moneys received, appropriated to, and expended for the use of the Section. At such times as may be requested by the Chairperson, or the Alabama State Bar, the Treasurer shall render an account of all the Treasurer’s transactions as Treasurer and of the financial condition of the Section. The treasurer shall perform other such duties as are incidental to the Treasurer’s office or which may be delegated to the Treasurer by the Chairperson.
Section 5. Secretary-Treasurer.
If the Section chooses to combine the offices of Secretary and Treasurer into one office, the person so elected to serve as Secretary-Treasurer of the Section shall perform the duties listed in Section 3 and Section 4 of Article V.
Article VI: Duties and Powers of the Council
Section 1. General Duties and Powers.
The Council shall have general supervision and control of the affairs of the Section, subject to the direction of the Board of Commissioners of the State Bar, and these By-Laws. During the interval between meetings of the Section, the Council shall have full authority to act for the Section in any way in which the Section itself would be authorized to act, and any such action taken by the Council pursuant to this provision shall be reported to the members of the Section at the next meeting of the Section. The Council shall authorize all commitments or contracts which shall entail the payment of money, and shall authorize the expenditures of all moneys appropriated for the use of benefit of the Section. It shall not, however, authorize commitments or contracts which shall entail the payment of more money during any fiscal year that the amount which shall have been previously received or appropriated to the Section for such fiscal year.
Section 2. Appointment of Committees.
The Council may authorize the Chairperson to appoint committees from the Section members to perform such duties and exercise such powers as the Council may direct, subject to the limitations of these By-Laws and the direction of the Board of Commissioners of the Alabama State Bar.
Section 3. Filling of Vacancies.
The Council, during the interim between annual meetings of the Section, may fill vacancies in its own membership or in the offices of the Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, or Secretary-Treasurer. In the event of a vacancy in both the offices of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, the Council may fill the vacancy in the office of Chairperson. Members of the Council and officers, so elected shall serve until the close of the next annual meeting of the Section.
Section 4. Quorum and Voting.
Members of the Council may participate in Council meetings either in person or by telephone. A majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum. The Council may take binding action by a majority vote of those participating in a meeting during which a quorum of the Council is participating.
Section 5. Informal Action.
The Chairperson of the Section may, or upon the request of any member of the Council shall, submit or cause to be submitted in writing, to each of the members of the Council, any proposition upon which the Council may be authorized to act. The members of the Council may vote upon such proposition so submitted by communicating their vote thereon in writing, by facsimile, or by electronic mail to the Secretary, who shall record upon the minutes each proposition so submitted, when, how, at whose request same was submitted, and the vote of each member of the Council thereon, and keep on file such written and signed votes. In such event, a majority vote of the Council shall constitute the binding action of the Council.
Article VII: Committees
Section 1. Eligibility, Appointment, and Meetings.
All members appointed to Committees shall be members in good standing of the Section. The chair of each committee will be appointed by the Chairperson of the Section, with the advice and consent of the Council. The chair of each committee shall decide the appropriate number of members to serve on his or her committee and shall appoint such members with the advice and consent of the Council. Meetings shall be at such time and place as designated by the chair.
Section 2. Council Approval.
No recommendation of any committee may be adopted by this Section without the prior approval of the Council.
Section 3. Legislative Standing Committee.
There shall be a standing committee designated as the Legislative Committee of this Section. It shall consist of the Chairperson and such other officers and as many members with terms as fixed by the Council at the annual meeting. The chairman and members of this committee shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Section, with the advice and consent of the Council. This committee shall report to the Section at each annual meeting all matters of legislation enacted or under consideration by the Legislature of Alabama that is within the scope of this Section, together with any proposals for legislation in the field of law within the scope of this Section. The Committee shall perform such other duties as are delegated to it by the Council.
Section 4. Significant Decisions Standing Committee.
There shall be a standing committee designated as the Significant Decisions Standing Committee of this Section. It shall consist of the Chairperson and such other officers and as many members with terms as fixed by the Council at the annual meeting. The chairman and members of this committee shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Section, with the advice and consent of the Council. This committee shall report to the Section at its annual meeting all significant decisions by the courts within the scope of this Section. The Committee shall perform such other duties as are delegated to it by the Council.
Article VIII: Meetings
Section 1. Annual Meeting.
The annual meeting of the Section shall be held at the time and place of the annual convention of the Alabama State Bar or at such other time and place as the Council may determine, upon such written notice as prescribed by the Council.
Section 2. Special Meetings.
A special meeting of the Section may be called by the Chairperson upon approval of a majority of the Council, at such time and place as the Council may determine, upon such written notice as prescribed by the Council.
Section 3. Quorum.
The members of the Section present at any meeting shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Section 4. Voting.
All binding action of the Section shall be by a majority vote of the members present.
Article IX: Miscellaneous Provisions
Section 1. Fiscal Year
. The fiscal year of the Section shall be July 1 through June 30.
Section 2. Approval of Section Liabilities.
All bills incurred by the Section, before being paid by the Treasurer or the Alabama State Bar, shall be approved by the Chairperson or such other person as the Council or the Alabama State Bar may direct.
Section 3. Compensation.
No salary or compensation shall be paid to any officer or member of the Council.
Section 4. Section Action Effective as Bar Action
. Any action of the Section must be approved by the Board of Bar Commissioners of the State Bar before the same becomes effective as the action of the Alabama State Bar. Any resolution adopted or action taken by this Section may, on request of the Section, be reported by the Chairperson of the Section to any meeting of the Board of Bar Commissioners for its action thereon.
Section 5. Effective Date of By-Laws.
These By-Laws were duly approved by the Board of Bar Commissioners for the Alabama State Bar on the 29th day of April 2011.
Article X: Amendments
Section 1. Amendments.
These By-Laws may be amended at any annual meeting of the Section by a majority vote of the Section present and voting, provided such proposed amendment shall first have been approved by a majority of the Council and provided, further, that no amendment so adopted shall become effective until approved by the Board of Commissioners of the Alabama State Bar.
The bylaws above will be approved by the section at there first meeting September 27, 2011.
The Elections, Ethics & Government Relations Section of the Alabama State Bar is pleased to provide you with updates on legislation of interest in this area. Below you will find a link to tracking of legislation that we believe is of interest to members. If there is other legislation of interest to section members that you would like included, please let us know. Additionally, the Alabama State Bar is now providing a weekly legislative update to its members that includes legislation that may be of interest to lawyers including criminal, civil, domestic relations, judiciary and court costs. Both the tracking and the legislative updates can be found here.
The Alabama State Bar has two appointees on the Alabama Code of Ethics Clarification and Reform Commission that is examining and recommending changes to the legislature regarding Alabama’s ethics laws. The appointees are President-elect designate Christy Crow and Birmingham attorney Mike Ermert. The commission was created by the Alabama Legislature in the passage of SJR 11 and will be meeting over the next few months. The ultimate goal of the commission is to make our ethics laws more straightforward.
The latest information, including meeting materials and the full text of SB 343, can be found here. If this affects your practice area, our appointees are asking for your input. Please submit your questions and comments to EEGR@alabar.org by June 12 or attend the meeting in person on June 14.
- JIC AO 1994-514 (holiday turkey) – https://www.alabar.org/assets/uploads/JIC/1994-514.pdf
- JIC AO 1994-518 (computer equipment) – https://www.alabar.org/assets/uploads/JIC/1994-518.pdf
- JIC AO 2000-748 (bank social hospitality) – https://www.alabar.org/assets/uploads/JIC/2000-748.pdf
- JIC AO 2002-803 (football tickets) – https://www.alabar.org/assets/uploads/JIC/2002-803.pdf
- AEC AO 2016-34 (Albritton) – http://ethics.alabama.gov/docs/pdf/AO2016-34.pdf.pdf
- AEC AO 2011-09 (McDonald) – http://ethics.alabama.gov/docs/pdf/AO2011-09ALL.pdf
- AEC AO 2011-12 (Howell) – http://ethics.alabama.gov/docs/pdf/AO2011-12ALL.pdf