Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Continued frustrations and filibustering in the Senate

Frustrations ran high this afternoon when Senator Singleton stood at the podium for three solid hours. Senator Singleton yielded the mic but not his place at the podium for a number of local bills from both the House and Senate to receive final passage.

At 4:52 the Senate adjourned until this coming Thursday.

Whose Filibuster is it Anyway?

After the Black Caucus filibustered the special order calendar for the day, Republicans then began blocking the procedural vote that is required before a bill may be considered on the House floor.

According to a Republican source, they are upset that the Democratic leadership is not allowing their bills to come up for consideration on the floor and pointed out that the grocery tax bill has now come before the House three times. They feel that they are not able to represent their constituents well when their bills are not coming before the body for an up or down vote. Sources indicate that Republicans plan to continue blocking legislation until their bills begin to appear on the House calendar.

With two forces now filibustering in the House, one can’t help but wonder if an end is in sight, save for the end of the session coming in a few short weeks.

The House adjourned today at 3:15 to reconvene again on Thursday at 10:00.

Groundhog Day at the Alabama House

Borrowing an analogy used in the press room at the statehouse, the last two weeks at the Alabama House of Representatives is reminiscent of the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.

For those of you who may not have seen the movie, everyday that Bill Murray wakes up, it is Groundhog Day. He relives the same day over and over again.

If you were to visit the Alabama House today, the debate would sound almost identical to every other legislative day beginning two and a half weeks ago. The Black Caucus continues to filibuster over the House’s failure to pass HB 116 that would remove the state’s portion of the sales tax on groceries.

Those supporting and opposing this legislation have reached a stalemate. Proponents of the bill continue to argue that they owe it to the hardworking citizens of Alabama to give them a tax break on their groceries. Opponents are concerned about the effect HB 116 will have on small businesses in Alabama (including LLC’s, LLP’s, and S Corporations) that would bear the brunt of the tax burden created by removing the sales tax on groceries.

Senator Singleton Filibustering in the Alabama Senate

The Alabama Senate convened today at 1:00 pm. All moved smoothly, two locals bills were passed, until around 2:10 pm when Senator Bobby Singleton rose to the mic to filibuster because his local bill SB135 (Greene County Bingo Bill) has not passed the Alabama Senate. Senator Singleton threatened that he would filibuster the entire afternoon. He even encouraged other senators to go get some lunch, play some golf, get comfortable, etc. because he was going to be there for a while.

Yielding to let HB609 by Representative Hammet pass, Senator Singleton also yielded the mic for four of Senator Ted Little’s local bills.

Senator Singleton remains at the podium and it is still uncertain if the Senate will accomplish much on its special order calendar today.

Stay tuned for more up to date reports from the Alabama Senate.