This is the third special session that I’ve participated in. The first was called by Governor Riley shortly after we were elected in 2010 for what we refer to as the Ethic’s Special Session. The second was called by Governor Bentley in 2012 for redistricting. The pace of a Special Session is decidedly slower than a Regular Session in that we are focused – for the most part – on legislation that addresses the budget.
The Senate went into session this afternoon and worked through an agenda of bills that you may review here.
The Senate is closely watching the House and the House is closely watching the Senate and the Governor is working angles in both bodies yet a solution to our current situation seems to be slipping further and further away.
The House passed a General Fund budget later this afternoon, after considerable wrangling on the floor resulting in cuts to Medicaid by some $150M; obviously not a workable solution as rather than balance cuts across several agencies like they did with the budget back in June, they pushed the cuts onto a single agency. It is not lost on me that pushing these cuts singularly onto Medicaid and the thousands of Alabamians who rely on this program, only increases the public outcry to raise your taxes.
At this point my greatest concern is our ability to remain focused on the reason we are in a special session – to fix the budget. There are a host of bills that have made it out of committees and are ready to be debated on the Senate floor. Unfortunately a majority of these bills have nothing to do with solving the budget. The Senate returns for day 5 at noon tomorrow.
Semper Fi - Bill