We are on the Sunset Bills this week – our rules require us to take up these set of bills every year by the 15th Legislative Day – the halfway point of our session. Sunset Bills serve as the means by which boards, agencies and commissions are periodically re-established. These boards, agencies and commissions govern varying interests and industry across the state and in order to allow for legislative oversight will expire – or sunset – if we do not periodically renew their status through legislation.
The Democrats were in somewhat of an ornery mood today – turns out the Minority Leader had gotten word that Majority Leadership wanted to introduce and debate Senate Joint Resolution 34 (SJR 34) today which states that the Legislature does not intend to expand Medicaid Services in Alabama....while some will deny it, Medicaid expansion is a larger part of the budget crisis. I’m a co-sponsor of SJR34 – as is every Republican Senator I believe. So the Democrats starting “slow rolling” the day through procedural maneuvers and ultimately delayed as best they could the passing of the first Sunset Bill. Majority leadership decided to bring up SJR34 which after some grand posturing by the Democrats was passed in a 22-8-1 (one abstention – really?). Leadership decided to adjourn for the day – effectively we burned today’s legislative day as we only passed one bill. We will go back into session on Thursday and I hope everyone is in a better mood or at least willing to press on. The sooner we complete the package of Sunset Bills the quicker we can get back to work on other pressing legislation.
I have several committee meetings in the morning starting with the House Public Safety Committee where SB44, legislation to reset Driver’s License Fees will be debated.
Semper Fi – Bill