Only in Alabama

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It has been said that many times the truth is stranger than fiction. You need look no farther than Alabama State Government, and Alabama in general, to see graphic evidence of the validity of that statement. When the Alabama Legislature returned to Montgomery this past week from a two week Spring Break it could be likened to beginning the Second Act of a stage play. In the First Act the story is set up, the actors are identified and you learn some basic information about who they are and what their motives may be. As the First Act comes to a close and you go to intermission the audience is left wondering what will happen when the Second Act starts. Often there are twists and turns in the plot. There are surprises. There are disappointments and then ultimately there is a climax. By law, the climax (adjournment sine die) must happen no later than May 22, 2017 however with all that is going on it is widely expected that date will move up and the Legislature could possibly adjourn before May 1.
Consider for a moment the following:

  • Only in Alabama will you find four consecutive National Championships in college football (Alabama, Alabama, Auburn, Alabama);
  • Only in Alabama will you find that in WalletHub’s rankings of the most stressed states and cities that Alabama tops the list as being the most stressed state in the country;
  • Only in Alabama will you find that at the same time the former Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives has been removed from office after being convicted of 12 felony ethics violation, the sitting Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court has been suspended for the balance of his term after being convicted by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary of flagrantly disregarding a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (remember this is the second time the Chief Justice has been removed from office) and the current Governor having four possible violations of the Alabama Ethics law being referred to the Montgomery County District Attorney and the subject of an impeachment process by the Alabama House of Representatives;
  • Only in Alabama will you find a Legislature that goes to great lengths to protect unborn children yet they will not require faith based daycare programs to be regulated by the Alabama Department of Human Resources to ensure the safety of our children;
  • Only in Alabama will you find a Member of the Alabama Ethics Commission make a motion that explicitly declares that the Ethics Commission finds that sex is a thing of value for purposes of the Ethics law and have that motion die for a lack of a second. As one reporter commented after that happened “I guess lobbyists can now move forward without concern about what is a thing of value;
  • Only in Alabama will you find an ordained Pastor, and leader of the strongest to Christian values effort lobbying the Alabama Legislature and a self-described former porn star both testify supporting legislation designed to deal with pornography;
  • Only in Alabama will you find religious groups opposing any attempt at regulation by the state on grounds of separation of church and state and at the same time attempt to pass legislation that will grant state certification of security personnel at churches so that the security personnel will be state sanctioned law enforcement officers;
  • Only in Alabama will you find, simultaneously, a minimum of four separate Grand Juries investigating elected officials at the state level; and
  • Only in Alabama will you find attorneys calling for the Attorney General of the United Sates and the former Attorney General of the State of Alabama, who replaced the Attorney General of the United States in the U. S Senate, to be disbarred.

Any one of the issues listed above standing alone would be a significant issue. When taken in their entirety it seems as if an academy award winning screen writer put it together. In the coming week it is expected that:

  • The House Judiciary Committee will meet starting at 10:00am CDT Monday to resume impeachment related hearings and discussions. These hearing and discussions are expected to continue throughout the week;
  • The Senate Finance & Taxation Committee – General Fund is expected to take up debate on the General Fund Budget;
  • The House Ways & Means Committee – Education is expected to take up debate on the Education Trust Fund Budget; and
  • Both formal and informal discussions about the Governor’s situation and what will come next will reach a fever pitch among other this.

With all of this happening, important issues including, but not limited to Medicaid, prisons and redistricting hang in the balance and likely will have to be resolved in multiple Special Sessions this summer. Stay tuned because the Second Act will be an actioned packed show.
The Alabama House will reconvene at 4:30pm on Tuesday, April 11, 2017
The Alabama Senate will reconvene at 2:00pm on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The views and opinions contained in this report do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the clients of Public Strategies, LLC.