Lawmakers Return To State House After Winter Weather


By Alabama News Network

Business returns to normal at the State House in Montgomery.

Both the house and the senate had enough members make it into town to continue their legislative work. 
Lawmakers at the State House have to travel from all over Alabama to be in Montgomery. 
Some, like Representative Jim Patterson who lives near huntsville, have been in town since Tuesday, trying to beat the weather. 
"I was thinking that I've gone too far to turn around and go back. I'm going to Montgomery. When we got to Prattville the roads cleared up," said Rep. Patterson.
Senator Rodger Smitherman lives in Birmingham and was stuck on the freeway for hours. He says he was impressed with how not only state officials handled the storm, but how the people of Birmingham came together. 
"It was amazing the warmth and the caring and the willing to help each other, the kind of attitude. Even when I was on the freeway people were getting out of their cars going to help other people. And it was the same spirit I saw all over the city," said Sen. Smitherman.
Now that everyone is back, it's time to make up for the lost days. The senate had enough people to meet on Tuesday, but no one was at the state house Wednesday. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says it should be easy to get back to business. 
"We didn't miss a beat if you look at it. We were here Tuesday we had a quorum as we did today. We missed one day of committee meetings yesterday but we've actually had a few committees meet this morning and some are meeting right now. So the senate will be pretty much on schedule," said Sen. Marsh.
Unlike the house, which hasn't met since last Thursday. 
"We're going to have to make them up by working longer hours I think. The speaker's already talking about going back and changing the rules so if the governor declares a state of emergency we don't have to burn days, there will be an exception," said Rep. Patterson. 
Lawmakers plan on changing the rules so that under a state of emergency, they won't have to let days go to waste here at the State House like they did this week.