By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—An email to members of the House Sunset Committee acquired by the Alabama Political Reporter states, the meeting scheduled for July 28, was canceled “due to lack of attendance.”
But, that’s just the cover story.
A controversy erupted last week after Republican Committee Chair Howard Sanderford (R-Huntsville) rescheduled a meeting of the committee, which conflicted with the Republican Convention in Cleveland.
Sanderford moved the meeting to July 28, which conflicts with the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. His action spurred Representative Laura Hall (D-Huntsville), a Democrat on the committee, to call foul, sending an email disclosing she had sent him an earlier message hoping the Committee’s meeting would not conflict with either convention. Hall’s correspondence indicates Sanderford sent a letter to her concerning rescheduling the meeting, which she found offensive: “I have received your letter and the response indicating what may be interpreted in a manner that quite frankly we don’t need in Alabama at this present time,” wrote Hall. She also added, “It is Senator Figures and my hope that you would want to create an environment of cooperation during these turbulent times in Alabama.”
The corrosive effects of divisive politics, nationally and statewide, were punctuated last week, during the Republican Convention when speakers hurled invectives at Democrats from the Convention stage. The same may likely be on display during the Democratic Convention.
Closer to home: The State House is struggling to find its footing, after the first Republican Speaker since Reconstruction, Mike Hubbard’s conviction on 12 counts of felony public corruption. Adding to the “turbulent times in Alabama” is Gov. Robert Bentley’s alleged inappropriate relationship with his former senior advisor and the firing of Law Enforcement Chief, Spencer Collier, which appears to have led to a Special Grand Jury investigation in Montgomery County. Added to these troubles, a US Attorney’s probe, and “turbulent” may be a weak adjective.
The cancellation premise is not likely to assuage the strains introduced into the committee or Sanderford’s slight.