Are Alabama Lawmakers Living Up to Your Expectations?

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By Jessica Gertler

We are almost halfway through the legislative session in Alabama. So far, three bills have been signed into law while many hot button issues have been debated. But are lawmakers living up to your expectations?

In a dozen days, lawmakers in the House and Senate have debated a handful of bills including law enforcement consolidation, gun rights and giving school systems more local control.

Three bills have been signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley including a plan to pay back $437 million to the Alabama Trust Fund that was borrowed last year.

So what grade do Alabamians give lawmakers this session?

"This session I would give them a 'C,'" says Antonio Donald. "There is room for improvement, and they need to work together."

Lena Shamblin of Montgomery gives them a 'F,' because "they say one thing and do another. They don't follow their own rules."

Many Alabamians like Shamblin say lawmakers got a bad rep last week in a conference committee when Republicans rewrote a bill that includes giving parents a tax break for shifting their children from failing public schools to private schools.

Democrats like Rodger Smitherman of Birmingham are also mad about the way things were handled. Smitherman, who gives this session a failing grade, says Democrats plan on questioning every bill until the end of the session.

"The minority side, the Democratic side, has decided to be more deliberate," he says. "In other words, we are going to read this bill, and let people know what they are voting on."

Republican Rep. Jay Love of Montgomery gives the session a 'B.'

"As long as at the end of the day, we pass the budgets and do what is required of us and address the needs," Love says. "I am sure that will happen at the end of the session."

Love says he hopes the house discusses the budget in the next two weeks.

Some of the other bills on this session's agenda: stricter standards for abortion clinics, Medicaid, and legalizing home brewing in the state.

 

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