Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Debate over Senate Special Order Calendar

The Alabama Senate convened at 2:00 pm CST this afternoon. Upon convening tensions began to rise quickly. Upon Senator Lowell Barron (D) introducing the Special Order Calendar from the Rule Committee, Senator Jabo Waggoner (R) approached the podium to discuss his concerns and the timeliness of receiving the Senate special order calendar.

Senator Jabo Waggoner spoke to Senator Barron and the entire body conveying that the minority (Republicans) does not receive the special order calendar until convening each day. Senator Waggoner said that the minority party does not have time to review the bills and prepare for discussion and debate.

Speaking on behalf of the minority, Senator Waggoner noted that the minority requests that the Rules Committee provides them with the Special Order Calendar at least 24 hours-one legislative day prior to the legislative day. Senator Waggoner said the minority thinks its only fair and would give the minority the same opportunity as the majority (Democrats) to discuss and debate on that legislative day.

Senator Waggoner warned that if the minority cannot make that agreement on Thursday they are going to give the minority ample time to read and discuss the bills because the minority will stall the senate until the minority has time to read and discuss the bills. Senator Waggoner asks that the minority have the same advantage as the majority does.

Lt. Governor Folsom stepped in after Senator Author Orr threatened to use his fifteen minutes while he colleagues had a chance to review the bills on the special order. Lt. Governor Folsom said he would not like to see this turn into a major problem when its not. He feels that everyone is getting a long, and would like to continue that way.

Following Lt. Governor Folsom, Senator Barron, Chairman of the Rules Committee which produces the Special Order Calendar, said he is surprised that the minority did not come forward and discuss this with him earlier. He said he has been in the Senate a long time and has never been a part of this process were the rules committee had a more open and fair process of handling the special order calendar.
Senator Barron said he gave the rules calendar to Senator Waggoner about 10:30 am this morning and that he doesn’t want to hear anymore of this harping. Barron noted that he has been fair and said the minority is getting under his skin.

Addressing Senator Waggoner’s request for the special order calendar 24 hours-one legislative day before the legislative day, Senator Barron said that no chairman has ever passed out a rules calendar any earlier than the morning of the legislative day. Barron said the Senate is not the House (The House receives their calendar no later than 24 hours before the following legislative day) and they are not going to operate like the House.

As for the threats by the minority party, Senator Barron replied saying that they can shut down the Senate until the cows come home but as for him, he is going to keep coming with good non controversial bills without any surprises. In closing Senator Barron said that if the minority really cared about the calendar that they should have attended the rules committee meeting this afternoon at 1:30 pm which is open to anyone to attend.

1 comment:

  1. Senator Barron needs to hear more harping, as far as I am concerned. As the minority needs more time to review everything so they do not make any hasty or unsafe decisions. Each Senate member has the duty to review every document that comes in, and that is a responsibility that cannot be rushed over. I have confidence in my districts senate member, Charles Bishop, that more time is warranted to ensure that every voice is heard.