By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, December 19, 2016, the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) announced the members who will chair the body’s Rules, Internal Affairs, Public Safety and Homeland Security, Commerce and Small Business, and Insurance committees when the Legislature convenes for its 2017 Regular Session in February.
Speaker McCutcheon said in a statement, “Each of these legislators is a proven leader and possesses a skill set that makes them uniquely qualified to chair their committees.”
Speaker McCutcheon said, “Chairing a legislative committee significantly increases a lawmaker’s workload and demands a much greater time commitment, so I appreciate their willingness to serve in these important leadership positions.”
McCutcheon announced that state Rep. Alan Boothe (R-Troy) will chair the powerful House Rules Committee, which determines each day’s work agenda and decides which bills will come to the floor for debate and consideration. Rep. Boothe has served in the House since 1998, after previously serving on the Troy City Council.
Boothe previously had chaired the House Internal Affairs Committee, but will relinquish that post in order to lead the Rules Committee, which had been chaired by McCutcheon until his elevation to Speaker.
Former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) was found guilty of felony ethics violations by a Lee County jury of his peers in June, following a lengthy investigation led by original reporting by The Alabama Political Reporter. The House chose McCutcheon to replace Hubbard as Speaker during a special session over the summer.
McCutcheon announced that State Representative Randy Wood (R-Anniston) will take over as chair of the House Internal Affairs Committee, which is tasked with considering bills pertaining to the operations and ethics of the Alabama Legislature. It also holds disciplinary power over members who violate the body’s rules. Wood was first elected to the House in 2002 after previously serving on the Calhoun County Commission. He owns Wood’s Auto Body Shop in Anniston. Wood will relinquish his chairmanship of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security committee.
State Representative Allen Treadaway (R-Morris) will chair the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. Treadaway has served in the House since 2006. He is a captain in the Birmingham Police Department and was a member of the committee. Rep. Treadaway now joins the House leadership.
State Representative Jim Carns (R-Vestavia) will lead the House Commerce and Small Business Committee. Carns served in the Alabama House from 1990 to 2002 and returned to the body following a special legislative election in 2011. He also served as a member of the Jefferson County Commission and is a businessman with experience in manufacturing.
Rep. Carns had been outside the leadership after challenging Mike Hubbard (who was under felony indictment at the time) for Speaker in the GOP Caucus. Carns co-chaired Donald J. Trump’s Presidential Campaign in Alabama and was one of the first elected officials in the country to come out publicly for the New York City billionaire businessman and reality TV star. A triumphant Carns was a featured speaker at President-elect Trump’s victory tour in Mobile on Sunday.
State Representative Kerry Rich (R-Albertville) has been selected to chair the House Insurance Committee. Rich has served in the House since 2010, but was previously elected to two terms from 1974 to 1978 and from 1990 to 1994. Rich has owned and managed several radio stations throughout his career. Rich also served as a member of former Alabama Gov. Fob James’ (R) cabinet in the mid-1990s. The House Insurance Committee was previously chaired by Representative Mike Hill (R from Columbiana). Hill left the House over the summer after Governor Robert Bentley (R) appointed Hill served as Superintendent of the State Banking Department.
The 2017 Legislative Session begins on February 7, 2017, though there are reports that Governor Robert Bentley may call a January special session to consider his plan to borrow at least $800 million to build four massive new prisons.