By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Tuesday, the final gavel of Sine Die came down, but not without a great deal of consternation between the Senate, the House, and the Governor. All three have their heels dug-in on the General Fund Budget.
One of the first actions of the House yesterday was to bring up the budget bill, only to “postpone it indefinitely,” finally killing it for good.
Tensions were high as the Senate recessed to the call of the chair to, “see what the House is going to do,” said President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston).
The House continued to work bills that were not on the Governor’s call. After the main subject, the budget was no longer an option.
At one point, Rep. John Knight (D-Montgomery) announced on the Floor of the House, that he was blocking, SB24, a bill by Sen. Trip Pittman (R-Daphne), because Pittman had voted against HB27 (the Star Chamber Bill) in committee, and made several negative remarks about it during Regular Session. According to Pittman, he was not even in the committee meeting.
In response, Pittman stormed from his office on the 7th Floor to the House Floor to straighten out the allegations. “I wasn’t there when it was time to vote. I was in the committee early on, but John Knight was not there, the bill was carried over. Del Marsh had called me out of the meeting to meet with the Governor. I went down there because I wanted to let the House members know that I wasn’t there so I couldn’t have voted against it or made any disparaging remarks against.”
The bill, HB27, if enacted, would make it possible for the Legislature to manage both personnel and monies in any State agency…to include the Attorney General’s Office. It would grant them the power to totally fund, or defund, any agency they choose. Both Hubbard and Knight are scheduled to be on that initial committee.
Without a balanced General Fund Budget, the State cannot resume operations on October 1.
The Governor is now forced to call another Special Session; it is inevitable. The only question is, when? According to some legislators, it will be sometime in September, in order to allow frustrations, and tempers to simmer down.