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Senator Calls Foul

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Senator Vivian Figures (D-Mobile) took issue with the way the Special Rules Calendar was submitted while on the Senate floor Wednesday. She contended that the Rules Committee had not met to vote on the calendar but that it was simply decided upon and signed by the Rules Committee Chairman Jabo Wagonner (R-Birmingham).

Rule 9 reads, “The regular act of business shall not be set aside accept by a majority vote of the senate upon a resolution reported on the committee on rules following a meeting of the rules committee which a majority of it members are recorded as voting in the affirmative to submit such resolution before the Senate.”

Figures said, “I pointed out that I will stand in committees and have to have a quorum which is 51 percent of the membership and then they have to have the affirmative vote of those meeting so that they can do a report. Rule nine, that she pointed out, states that very clearly.”

Figures asked Lt. Governor Kay Ivey for proof that the meeting had occurred but none was provided. She also asked if the Rules Chair could approach the well and state whether a meeting had occurred. She was denied.

Ivey ruled that since there was a report submitted, she assumed that a meeting had occurred. That was her final ruling on the matter.

Although Figures admitted that this had been an acceptable practice in past years and administrations. She said, “Even though we have done that in the past we said and committed that we were going to start our session following the rules…The Lt. Governor promised that she would go by the rules and that it wouldn’t the traditional way of the Senate of the past.”

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Three Republicans and one Independent voted to not accept the ruling by Ivey but the motion was overturned by a vote of 16 to 12. Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale), Senator Harri Anne Smith (I-Slocomb), Senator Sanford (R-Huntsville) and Senator Shadrack McGill (R-Scottsboro) all voted with Figures.

“This is the second day of the Senate and when you have something like this done to you of course they [republicans] are going to get the vote it is just the principle of the thing. Actually when they said they were going to be fair, especially the Lt. Governor said she was going to be fair especially with her new parliamentarian that is supposed to be an expert,” said Figures.

Saying that she was very disappointed she continued, “As long as we are going to go by the rules and everyone is treated fairly than lets go by the rules.”

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