By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY — In 2010, newly-elected Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said he would “stop the embarrassing headlines and prevent public corruption before it occurred.” Now his followers are asking how to remove a sitting Speaker of the House from office before it’s too late.
Given the investigations into the potential wrong-doing by current Speaker Hubbard, it is not surprising that many in the ALGOP are asking, “What procedures do we need to follow to remove the Speaker?”
According to the former Clerk of the State House of Representatives Greg Pappas, “It is not a difficult process…procedurally.”
Pappas, who served in the Statehouse for 21 years before retiring in 2012 said, a motion to “reorganize the House” was the beginning of the process. He said this could be done by “a resolution or by a motion in writing” or someone could just stand up and call to vacate the chair in accordance with Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure. Mason’s Manual is the official parliamentary authority of most state legislatures in the United States. Mason’s manual is to legislatures what Robert’s Rules of Order is to civic clubs or other groups.
Pappas said, “There is some question as to whether it requires [a 2/3] vote of the entire House or just the majority vote (to remove the Speaker)…My contention has always been that if it takes a majority vote to elect, it should just take a majority vote to remove.”
It is also necessary for the legislature to be in session for such a vote to occur. Pappas, as well as the governor’s office, agrees that the Governor does have the constitutional power to call a special session for such an occasion.
“If you have a situation, let’s say, where the Speaker is convicted of a felony…once you are convicted you are no longer a member of the legislature, you would no longer have a speaker.” This could trigger the governor to call a special session, according to Pappas.
“The constitution is really kind of vague as to why [the Governor] could call a special session. It says emergency, pestilence, famine…,” said Pappas.
But even an indictment could lead to a call for the Speakers removal.
It would very likely be a political call by the governor, given the Speakers vast powers to set the tone and agenda for the legislative session.
However, the wide scandal created by an indictment of the Speaker of the House could be enough for smart politicians to choose to remove the current Speaker before the 2014 elections.
Hubbard, through relentless propaganda on Twitter, Facebook and the internet, has made his the face the face of the Alabama GOP. If he is indicted and hauled away in chains like former Gov. Don Siegelman the 2014 elections could very well see a reversal of fortunes for the republican supermajority.
Even now rumblings, and maneuvers are occurring inside the House Republican Caucus.
Legislators, who once swore by Hubbard’s innocence are now acknowledging that a storm of unknown proportions is growing.
From denial to how do we replace the Speaker, things have changed dramatically for the republicans who in 2010 claimed they would clean up Montgomery.
Just three short years later after declaring an end to “embarrassing headlines and a public corruption,” it is Hubbard who is the subject of so many of them.