Senate committee gives approval to bill allowing legislature to call itself into special session
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday afternoon gave a favorable report to SB 259, which is sponsored by Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road).
This bill would allow the legislature to call itself into a special session through a joint proclamation by the Senate president pro tem and the speaker of the House.
Once convened, a resolution carrying the support of 2/3 of each chamber would then have to be adopted before business could be taken up in such a special session. If the resolution does not garner the needed support, the special session would adjourn sine die, meaning it would end.
The committee action on Tuesday came on an uncontested voice vote, albeit with no Democrats present.
SB 259 was officially introduced last week on the first legislative day following Governor Kay Ivey’s “herd of turtles” remarks. Between Barfoot and 16 cosponsors, the bill already has the support of an effective majority of the Senate, which only has a maximum of 32 members in attendance so far this session. SB 259 is a companion bill to Rep. Becky Nordgren’s (R-Gadsden) HB 21, which was prefiled back in October. Her bill is set to be considered in a House committee on Wednesday.
Barfoot did stress on Tuesday that his bill is not aimed at any particular person, seemingly referring to the governor. He outlined that Alabama is one of only 14 states in which the legislature cannot currently call itself into a special session.
“This is not an assault at anybody,” Barfoot said. “This is an opportunity for the legislature … specifically looking forward, not behind us, but looking forward should that need arise (to hold a special session).”
He added, “Fortunately our governor, in my opinion, has acted appropriately in most situations — and I’m appreciative of that.”
The bill could be considered on the Senate floor as soon as Wednesday. If passed by the upper chamber, the measure would then advance to the House.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn