I started today at 8:30 AM with the final committee meeting of the 2012 session. The Senate went into session at 9:30 and we’ve been going strong for almost 10 hours now. It has been a long day as numerous, last minute bills came to the floor, some were passed, and some failed. The most significant bill to pass was the General Fund after an almost 4 hour debate. The General Fund and Education Fund budgets now go to a conference committee between the Senate and House.
School Calendar - I fought the good fight on the School Calendar bill but after two days and five attempts to carry over the Governor’s Veto with Executive Amendment, I was unable to gain support beyond the 8 members of the Senate who stood with me for the duration. The only good news in the bill is a 15 month hard sunset and a requirement for actual data to be gathered and reported to the legislature to determine how good the predictions were.
The Senate adjourned at 9:30 PM. We will return for the final day of the 2012 Regular Session next Wednesday at 9:00 AM. Several bills remain for us to take up, including the immigration tweak - should prove to be an interesting day.
Redistricting – An item I failed to mention that occurred on Wednesday was the unveiling of the proposed legislative redistricting plans. I’ve talked for months about the significance of the 2010 Census on our legislative redistricting, referring to the changes as “seismic”. As a snap-shot of this change, Madison County Senate Districts had to shrink by over 80,000 voters in order to stay within the 135,000 we are to represent. The Senate District I represent, District 2 was the largest District in the State, growing from the 2000 Census data of 125,000 to almost 180,000 – meaning I had to shrink by almost 40,000 voters; hence the seismic change. This is a testament to the continued growth in our state and the focus on North Alabama.
The plan is for the Governor to call a special session in the days ahead for the legislature to deal with these plans. We may even see a special session on budgets; who knows. I will stay the night in Montgomery and head home in the morning. I have a couple of meetings lined up for the afternoon and then I’m looking forward to a weekend at home with my girls…don’t forget, Sunday is Mother’s Day!
Readers can view the proposed Senate and House Redistricting plans at the links below. These are large PDF files and may take several minutes to download.
Senate Plan: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/reapportionment/Dial_Senate_Plan_Map.pdf
House Plan: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/reapportionment/McClendon_House_Plan_Map.pdf
Semper Fi - Bill