By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—The House Republican Caucus selected an ad hoc committee to suggest voting procedures for the next Speaker. The caucus will convene in Montgomery on August 2, to nominate a replacement for disgraced former Speaker Mike Hubbard. Caucus rules instituted by Hubbard requires members to abide by the caucus majority vote, when the entire house meets for the final election.
The Alabama Political Reporter obtained a copy of the suggestion from the ad hoc committee, which was chaired by Rep. Bill Poole and comprised of Representatives Jim Carns, Alan Baker, Becky Nordgren and Phillip Pettus.
According to the committee’s report, recommendations were necessary, because Caucus bylaws did not “clearly address the voting methodology for selection of the Caucus’ nominee for the Office of Speaker.”
When issues are not clearly outlined in the bylaws, Article V provides that Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure, “shall govern all proceedings of the Caucus where the bylaws or standing rules of the Caucus … do not apply,” any deviation requires a 3/5 vote of the caucus.
Concerning the nomination process the committee suggests, “that given the relatively large number of candidates seeking the nomination… who have made their intentions known…”there was no need to place members in the potentially awkward position of making nominations and seconds.”
Each candidate will be given 5 minutes to speak with 5 minutes for questions from the members.
The committee suggests the election be by a simple majority vote. They discussed several alternative voting procedures, including in conducting multiple rounds of voting, but conclude with “a process consistent with the normal party primary voting,” would be best. Absentee voting was “discussed at length,” but the committee found absentee voting did not conform to Mason’s rules and could set a potentially troubling precedent.
In in the event of a tie for second place, the three with the most votes will be placed in a runoff.
Finally, the committee was in unanimous agreement that existing rules and precedent should be respected, and that the bylaws should not be amended to allow for absentee voting.
Those who have declared their intentions to stand for election as Speaker are, Steve Clouse, Lynn Greer, Mac McCutcheon, Barry Moore, Phil Williams and Mike Jones.
The Caucus consists of 70 House members, due to the vacancies created by Mike Hubbard’s conviction of felony public corruption, and Mike Hill’s appointment as Superintendent of the State Banking Department.