Three bills going to Governor so far

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 2, 2001

The Alabama Legislature began work this week with only eight meeting days remaining in this regular session, and only three general bills have passed both chambers and reached the Governor's desk for his signature.

On one side of the coin, you might assess the Legislature's work as unproductive.

After all, over six hundred proposed bills have been introduced and only three have passed.

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However, I hear from a number of my constituents who feel that we already have too many laws and they perhaps would give the Legislature high marks.

When all is said and done, we will probably send between fifty and seventy-five new laws to the Governor.

He will veto ten percent of these, and we will probably have a net increase of around fifty new laws.

I am of the school that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Therefore, I proceed with extra caution when considering putting a new law on the statutes in Alabama.

I have often been asked what is the genesis or starting point for a new law.

The answer to that is basically four-fold:

(1) a constituent or group of constituents who bring a concern to the legislator's attention that needs to be addressed by law; (2) model acts that are prepared specifically for use in all fifty states, commonly brought about with the design to streamline procedures and set up reciprocal arrangements with other states; (3) an idea brought forth by the legislator himself or herself, usually after much study and consultation with others; and (4) the current Administration which usually has a lot of ideas (some good and some bad) that require action by the Legislature.

I have now served under five governors, including George Wallace, Fob James, Guy Hunt, Jim Folsom, Jr., and Don Siegelman.

With the exception of Wallace, Siegelman has proposed more legislation through his office than all of the other governors combined.

Generally speaking he has gotten a good reception from the Legislature with regard to his proposals, but there have been some matters he has proposed that upon proper inspection and research by the Legislature did not seem, at least in our eyes, to be in the best interest of the citizens of Alabama.

I guess this is the way it should be if we are to maintain a check and balance in our system of government.

The Senate has both budgets scheduled for final consideration this week.

No doubt some changes will be made in the versions we vote on, therefore, they will have to go back to the House of Representatives for concurence.

If the House agrees with our changes, then the budgets will go to the Governor for his signature this week.

If they reject our changes, then the budgets will go to what is known as a House-Senate Conference Committee for resolution of the differences between the House passed and the Senate passed budgets.

Remember, "I'll go with you or I'll go for you" to help you solve any problem related to state government.

You can reach me during the legislative session at 334-242-7883, which is my office at the Alabama State House.