by Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Thursday, Senator Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) went to the podium empty handed when his bill was called by the Lt. Governor.
Bedford expressed his anger for the Legislative Reference Service for failing to have a substitute ready in time for discussion on the Floor of the Senate.
Before the bill was passed out of Judiciary Committee on Wednesday there were two amendments attached requiring it to go back to LRS for a substitute to be prepared. However, when the bill was called the substitute was still not ready.
“There were two amendments that I agreed to accept. Today, I asked for the substitute to be prepared and ready because Senator Waggoner had assured me that it was going to be on the Special Order [calendar] which, as always, he honored his word,” said Bedford. “I stand here before you today at this point in time [11:22 a.m.] without that. I have talked to [the LRS office and staff on the Senate floor] for an hour and a half to have this bill prepared.”
Bedford continued, “It is unacceptable to me that the senators are unable to debate and pass a bill dealing with an important subject matter of this nature. So at this time, Madam President, I am going to have to ask to carry my bill over subject to the call of the chair not because I am not prepared to debate it, not because the other 34 senators are not prepared to debate it, but because we have staff that is not doing the job.”
SB108, called the Expungement Bill, is designed to enable those found “not guilty” of a crime or if the charges are dismissed to have the records sealed or expunged. This would include any “arrest records, fingerprints, photographs, or index references in documentary or electronic form, relating to the arrest or charge, or both, and conviction in certain circumstanced.”
As the last bill on the Special Order Calendar were being called, Bedford approached the podium to ask that the bill be called by the chair. It was granted and the substitute was passed by the body but still carried over for further discussion.