The 2012 Special Session came to a close at 4 AM on Thursday. This was a wild and wooly special session from the start and morphed into what one of my colleagues referred to as, “Is this the Alabama State Senate or a college frat house”. Yes, at the end it boarded on a circus sideshow.
Several items were included in the Governors Proclamation calling the special session, including immigration and legislative redistricting but in the end we didn’t touch immigration and the redistricting took center stage.
Linked below is a great article with embedded video of the final minutes of the special session. Before reading the article or watching the video, remember these points:
- They could’ve called the reading off at any time but choose not to, going the full 17 hours. You’ll note in the article that the House Democrats tried the same thing but only let the reading go 4 hours before calling it off. What nice guys!
- They repeatedly threatened to have the House bill read at length in the Senate. Beyond being pointless; this would’ve required another 36 hours to read and caused us to remain in session for two additional days – another $40,000.
Montgomery Advertiser article and video on last minutes of the 2012 Special Session.
It is important to note that the Alabama Constitution allows for a legislator to have a bill read at length, meaning word for word, page for page. Let’s think about why that is in the constitution:
- It was before the modern age when paper copies could be printed and distributed to members (we kill a lot trees printing 35 copies of 100+ page bills)
- This was a long time ago; perhaps a legislator could not read?
Now let’s think about how it is used today:
- As a stalling, blocking tactic to consume time in a legislative day; simple as that.
One Democrat Senator even said that he will have every bill read at length next year…that’s fine with me, incentive for my colleagues to write smaller bills.
I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day. Please take the time as you enjoy family, friends and BBQ to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom.
Semper Fi - Bill