It is being reported that the leadership in the Alabama Legislature wants to speed up the pace of the 2014 regular session. The session starts in January, as it always does during an election year, and lawmakers must meet on no more than 30 legislative days within 105 calendar days. Usually, both the house and senate meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Wednesdays being reserved for committee meetings. I really can see no legitimate reason to change that schedule. In fact, I believe such a change could prove to be very bad and not in the best interest for Alabama citizens.
Some of the legislative bosses reportedly want to make at least some Wednesdays legislative days in order to end the session more quickly. It will be interesting to see if their plan works out. I find it hard to justify putting less emphasis on the work of committees. It would be a big mistake to reduce the effectiveness of the committees. Persons and groups who are interested in specific pieces of legislation should be allowed access to the legislative process. Obviously, that includes the work of committees. Legislators should use the committee structure to learn more about the bills they will be called on to vote for or against. All legislation should be studied carefully before bills are voted on for final passage on the floor in the house and senate.
Rushing important legislation through the process without adequate study and debate is not in the best interest of the people of Alabama. Those in control of the house and senate should let the legislative process work as it is intended to work. There are many important problems facing our state that must be addressed in the next legislative session. It’s high time for those in state government to face up to these lingering problems and find workable solutions. Short-cutting the legislative process, without allowing full and adequate study in committee and debate on the floor, can only result in the problems facing our state once again being ignored. There is one thing for certain and that is rushing through the session is not the answer.
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