Ethics Commission Rethinks Gift Limits

Oct 9, 2016

The Alabama Ethics Commission says gifts to school teachers and other public employees might be able to cost more than $25.

Earlier this week, the state ethics panel gave preliminary approval to an advisory opinion saying gifts for public employees are not always subject to the $25 limit. Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton says the commission wanted to clear up confusion about gifts, including customary holiday gifts to teachers.

The new ruling stresses that employees need to exercise "proper judgment" in accepting gifts. A holiday gift to a teacher worth more than $25, for example, wouldn't break the law, unless it was an attempt to improperly influence action, such as a student's grade.

Bans on gifts to legislators and other state officials by lobbyists and those who hire them would remain in place.

The proposed change is open for public comment until the commission's December meeting.