Key Points to Alabama Ethics Law Revisions
Effective August 1, 2012
Guidance on Gifts and Gift-Giving
The Alabama Ethics Law has recently been revised to delete any reference to “seasonal” gift-giving and to define “de minimis value.” A public employee may receive items/services of de minimis value as long as there is no requirement that the employee do something or otherwise reciprocate as a condition of receiving the items/services. In other words, the de minimis item/service must be a gift. The statute defines “de minimis” as a value of $25 or less per occasion with an aggregate of $50 or less in a calendar year from a single provider. Other amounts may be prescribed by the Ethics Commission. These statutory amounts will be adjusted every four years to allow for cost-of-living increases.
Statement of Economic Interests Form Requirements
This revision to Alabama Ethics Law raised the annual base salary requirement for filing this form from $50,000 to $75,000. Any UAB employee whose annual base pay is greater than or equal to $75,000 must file a Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) with the Alabama Ethics Commission no later than April 30 of each year covering the preceding calendar year. However, the requirement to file an SEI is not limited to a salary threshold. Over 25 categories of public employees must do so regardless of salary, including anyone whose job includes authority to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, or discipline other public employees. All such employees are also required to participate in Alabama Ethics Law training. If you have not received this training, please visit www.uab.edu/learningsystem to enroll in the class called “AL Ethics Training Video.”
To learn more about Alabama statutes on gifts and other important criteria for filing a Statement of Economic Interests, see the Alabama Ethics Commission’s guidelines. This information includes additional information, Do’s & Don’ts, and FAQs on Alabama Ethics Law: http://ethics.alabama.gov/docs/GuidelinesPublicOfficialsEmployees7-2012.pdf.