According to various local and national media outlets, “chaos” erupted on the floor of the Alabama Senate Thursday afternoon as a result of an effort to strip an amendment from HB 314, a bill that would criminalize performing abortions in Alabama.
The amendment would have provided exceptions for rape and incest. However, opponents of the amendment argue it would weaken the bill given its intended purpose is to establish personhood for an unborn child during a likely legal challenge.
Media outlets captured Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) shouting down Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who had ruled the motion made by Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) to remove the amendment had been approved by a voice vote.
During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Friday, Ainsworth insisted the procedure was followed according to the rules.
“We were just doing a normal procedural motion that is in the rules – basically a motion to table,” he explained. “And the way that works is Senator [Clyde] Chambliss, who had the mic, made the motion to table. The people in opposition to his motion weren’t paying attention. The way it works is if there’s a motion to table, it’s not debatable. If there’s three people to object, you would call the roll. No one objected on the motion. As a matter of fact, Senator Singleton, that was seen in the videos arguing with us on multiple occasions, didn’t even hear the motion that was made.”
Ainsworth said Singleton was saying, “You didn’t make a motion, you didn’t make a motion.”
“I was like, ‘No, he definitely made a motion,’” Ainsworth said. “You can clearly hear that in the video. He said ‘motion to table.’ But it’s not debatable. At that point, the only thing he could have done was say, ‘I object,’ and ‘I want a roll call.’ And he’d have to have two other people at that time by a show of hands. That did not occur, so we called the roll, voice vote – you know, yeas and nays.”
“Anyway, he got upset about that,” he continued. “But we talked after and it, and he’s fine. He realized the rules were followed. I think, obviously, Senator [Del] Marsh made the same comment. Secretary of the Senate Pat Harris said the same thing. Our deal is this: We operate fast. We’re quick. You’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on. But, if you’re not paying attention, you’re asleep. You’ve got to pay attention to procedure. But everything was followed properly.”
Ainsworth also noted that the tabling by voice vote procedure used in that circumstance had been consistently used throughout this year’s legislative session while presiding over the Senate.
One critic of the proceeding was Alabama Media Group columnist Kyle Whitmire. However, in his screed condemning Senate Republicans and Ainsworth, Whitmire had gotten some of the facts incorrect, a point which Ainsworth noted.
“With Kyle, my issue is just reporting the truth and actually reporting the facts,” he explained. “I don’t want to get into whether or not he’s a good journalist or not. That’s not really my thing. But to me, a good journalist reports on the truth. They do their due diligence to make sure the facts are accurate. And you know, one of the things he put in there in his article because he’s trying to push this narrative – a couple of things he did, but one thing that’s very egregious I think that hurts his credibility, is he said, you know, the guy with the mic, which was Senator Singleton, was in the committee and he had fought hard to get this committee amendment on there and said it was a small win for them.”
Ainsworth went on to point out Whitmire’s factual errors, which included Singleton having not been the one to offer the amendment in committee the day before given he was at the Regions Tradition golf tournament’s pro-am in Birmingham while the bill was before the committee and the amendment was being offered.
Whitmire had since corrected the inaccuracy.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.