By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—“He’s come unhinged,” those are the words a lawmaker used to describe Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) as he announced that the House would pull and all-nighter. But before the marathon session was to continue, Hubbard allowed for a break so members could attend a Business Council of Alabama (BCA) party.
On Wednesday, the House convened at 3:30pm to finish its 26 legislative day. However, things didn’t go as the Speaker had planned because the Democrats were determined to filibuster every bill in retaliation for the ETF Budget that did not provide for a teacher pay raise. An item both the Governor and the Democrats and many Republicans wanted but Hubbard steadfastly resisted.
Hubbard and company had a set of controversial bills they wanted passed on Wednesday and the Democrats were standing in the way.
The big bills on the agenda were HB558 and SB11. HB558 would remove the cap on money available to for individuals and certain business interest to give to Scholarship Granting Organizations, under the Alabama Accountability Act. The bill has become known as the Bob Riley Act, after the former governor whose company has in the last few months made over $900,000 administering the scholarship funds. The bill would also make more funds available for wealthier children to attend private schools using taxpayer funds.
SB11, is a bill that President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) said he “Must have this year.” The bill if enacted would place total control of the entire legislative apparatus under Hubbard and Marsh who would command a 20 person junta known as the legislative Council.
Spectators said that Hubbard was “angry and vengeful” when he called for the all-nighter.
“Not only did he want to punish the Democrats, he wanted to punish Republicans who had wanted to offer a pay increase to teachers,” said one long-time political operative.
The House ended the 26th day at 11:59pm and started a new one at 12:01AM Thursday.
“This was a sad little stunt,” opined a House staffer, “but we have come to expect such things from that man.”
A Republican legislator who ask not to be identified said, “Look up there (pointing to were Hubbard sat) that is what is wrong with Alabama, that man who thinks he is the Government of the State.”
Hubbard has led the House with an iron fist, threats, bullying and retribution and they are the hallmarks of his leadership in the House.
One Legislator has said of Hubbard, “You know what kind of vindictive SOB the Speaker can be.”
Last night and into the wee hours of the morning that sentiment was on full display.