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State Sen. Butler: Senate Republicans will urge Ivey to do more reopenings by Friday; Maintains governor doing ‘a great job’

As the House and the Senate are seemingly at odds over what measures to take up in the waning moments of the 2020 legislative session, one of which is underway under the duress of the coronavirus pandemic, expect some within the Senate to use the platform to urge Gov. Kay Ivey to be more aggressive in reopening some businesses.

During an interview that aired on Tuesday’s broadcast of Huntsville radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” State Sen. Tom Butler (R-Madison) previewed a letter he and his colleagues in the Senate would be sending to Ivey, encouraging her to allow barbershops, nail salons, beauty shops, restaurants, churches and theaters to open with some guidelines and restrictions.

“Quite frankly, I think the governor will hear from several senators, including leadership this week what we’re thinking,” Butler said. “We had a meeting yesterday of about 25, 26 of our colleagues in the Senate — had a meeting and we have, I think, as a consensus think that barbershops, nail salons, beauty shops, restaurants and other establishments like that — we put the hospitals back to doing elective procedures, which they need for steady income, and the patients need for their procedures. I think the governor will hear this week that the majority of the State Senate, at least, and I think many, many, many in the Statehouse, will be supportive of those kinds of reopenings.”

“The churches, you know — we let the beaches reopen,” he continued. “I heard from a couple of pastors … they were saying that they are also businesses, and in that, they have expenses that are ongoing, and in that when people are not there, it makes it hard for them to contribute. But to me, the churches are an essential business, too. And carryout is one thing from a restaurant, but most people like to go to a restaurant, enjoy a good meal and socialize. Theaters — if we think any business has been hurt hard, theaters are padlocked essentially, and how do you do curbside only at a theater unless you’ve got a drive-in theater of the past?”

“I think the governor will hear a lot of us are leaning very heavily on doing more reopenings, as far as churches, restaurants, barbershops, beauty salons — things of that nature, with the caveat you do social distancing, you do sanitizer, encourage people to use masks as appropriate,” Butler added. “The big thing is social distancing and constant washing of the hands. That will help a whole lot. But I think you’re going to see the majority of the Senate send a message to the governor this week that we would like to see that order amended down from [May 15] to maybe this Friday. I don’t know if that will come about, but I’m going to encourage her to look at that, and if we can make some movement on that towards getting us open quicker.”

Butler, who has spoken highly of Ivey’s coronavirus efforts in the past, indicated that based on his past interactions with her, he anticipates she will be receptive to the recommendations. Still, it remains to be seen if she will go about enacting them.

“I personally have been very, very supportive of Governor Ivey,” he said. “I think she does a great job. She has tremendous experience in state government. She has held this job now for almost for four years, and I think she has done a great job. Economic development has gone very well under Governor Ivey. She speaks to the public. She expresses her concerns in her heart. I’ve been very supportive of her, and I know when I have sent messages over there, they’ve been well received. I think most of the House and Senate members who are very supportive of the governor always have her ear. She may not always agree, but I think she is doing a good job. Any time, personally, when I recommend something to her — I do it from my heart and from the knowledge of knowing my district and loving this state of Alabama. I think she has been very receptive to getting advice. And I think her executive committee from what I have heard will make new recommendations to her to open earlier over the next few days.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

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