I started this morning calling in to the Toni and Gary Radio Show at 6:20. We chatted for approximately 20 minutes on several items occurring in the legislature. I then called in to the Dale Jackson show at 7:00 to discuss the results of the three hour public hearing I attended last night in Madison concerning the proposed property tax referendum. I was able to get on the road a little before 8 AM, southbound to Montgomery.
Upon arrival in Montgomery around 11:00 I attended a couple of meetings concerning legislation I have pending in committee this week, I have two bills on deck tomorrow. SB192, the Brewpub Modernization Act will be debated in the House Economic Development Committee. Another bill, SB361, a bill allowing limited, direct access to physical therapist will be in the Senate Health Committee. I spent a significant portion of the day touching base with members of both committees, answering any lingering concerns on these bills.
The Senate went into session at 3 PM this afternoon. We started debate on what should have been a fairly non-controversial group of bills addressing a host of governmental issues from both sides of the aisle. However, our friends across the aisle had other plans and decided to once again intentionally slow the process by filibustering. Our first bill was SB239, allocating funding for the Children First Trust Fund. We decided to recess at 5 PM, to reconvene at 8 PM, allowing them to work through their concerns…turns out, they are a divided body. The filibustering quickly started again when we returned from recess at 8 PM and, after another brief 15 minute recess allowing the other side to get on the same page, we once again attempted to move forward with the Children First Trust Fund. The first bill finally passed at 9:15 PM…one down, many more bills to go on today’s calendar.
The next bill introduced was SB240, appropriations for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. I ask myself, why would anyone want to filibuster this bill? At this point we are no longer surprised but readers of this blog need to be aware of the tactics being used. The Democrats first proposed an amendment to double the appropriation to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, taking it from $250,000 to $500,000. Of course we’d like to provide more funding to this program; however, the funding established in this bill is equal to funding from last year. At this point everyone understands that funding for every program is limited due to the economic conditions in our state. So, why are they playing these games…simple, they want to show that Republicans are not willing to increase funding for a domestic violence program. In reality, they know we are matching past funding and know that additional funding is not available. We’ll likely be here awhile!
I’ll be clear; I will not support pushing legislation through when meaningful, honest, open debate is occurring. However, when the intent is to clearly derail the process, preventing sound legislation from moving forward – I’m ready, willing and able to move for cloture, ending debate and passing good legislation. Case in point, after almost 4 hours of filibustering, SB239 passed the Senate in a 34 – 0 vote. It is now 10 PM and we have passed two bills today. Ask yourself, what agenda is being pushed by the Democrats in Montgomery?
UPDATED @ 12:24 Wed 4/27/2011
The Senate continues to work into Wednesday. We adjourned at 1145 and reconvened at 1205 this morning to continue working Tuesday's calendar. We start each day with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. I was honored to be asked to lead the Alabama State Senate in the pledge and yes, I started - in my rusty Marine voice - by calling "Attention on Deck!"