Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, said he anticipates the session will cover redistricting in the state of Alabama, and may include the budgets as well.
“As chairman of the redistricting committee … I would rather it not be that way,” McClendon said. “If the governor decides to put the budget in the call, we’ll figure out what to do with it.”
McClendon and Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, have submitted plans for a redistricted state already to each house of the legislature. The maps are available online, as well.
“We’re giving everybody in the world a full week to go in and look at our proposal,” McClendon said. “We’re not walking in the room and voting on something that nobody has seen.”
The proposed maps would change St. Clair County’s representation in each house — in the House of Representatives, the county would have three representatives, and in the Senate, the county would have three. Currently, the county is divided into four House districts and two Senate districts. Of the county’s delegation, only McClendon lives in the county.
“We may actually have a senator from St. Clair County, for the first time in my lifetime,” McClendon said.
Rep. Blaine Galliher, R-Rainbow City, said the House still other issues to discuss, including illegal immigration, the general fund and education trust fund budgets and Jefferson County’s financial woes.
“Passing the budget is the one thing we’re supposed to do as a legislature,” Galliher said.
Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston, said he was happy to have vocally opposed Jefferson County’s proposed tax bill, which would have included an occupational tax that he says would be unfair.
“No matter the problem, I don’t think we should be the ones to fund it,” Wood said. “If we have a problem in Pell City, I guarantee they won’t be over here helping us. It’s an unfair way of solving the problem, and that’s why hopefully we can hold tough and make sure that it doesn’t happen.”
Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, said that the debate about revisions to the illegal immigration bill reached an impasse late last week, when and members of the House could not agree on changing a section of the bill related to businesses.
“I want to keep one of the main provisions that deals with employers intact, and they want to change them,” Beason said. “My contention is that we have an issue with some of the requirements because they are being misapplied. But when I said I wasn’t for changing the other section, it kind of blew up.
“We just have a deep divide there. I’m hoping by the time we get back Wednesday, they will understand. When cooler heads prevail, I hope they’ll see my point.”
Only one day remains in the regular legislative session — Wednesday, May 16. If Bentley calls for a special session, that will keep legislators in Montgomery May 17-18, and possibly longer.
“I’m telling my legislative friends don’t plan your vacation based on these dates,” McClendon said. “Who knows what’s going to happen?”
Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Rep. Dickie Drake, R-Leeds, could not be reached for comment at press time.
Contact Will Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.