State Sen. Chambliss: Special sessions likely needed to tackle gambling, prisons
With just one day remaining on the 2021 regular session legislative calendar, buzz has been swirling of eleventh-hour heroics on gambling and prisons in the Alabama Legislature before the clock runs out early next week.
However, most say such a scenario that would include major legislation being enacted on the last day of this regular session is a long shot given the other business each chamber has on the agenda before adjourning sine die.
State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) is one of those skeptics of a significant breakthrough being made on either the gaming or corrections issues on the final day. During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” the Autauga County lawmaker says it may be necessary for Gov. Kay Ivey to consider a special session of the legislation to seek solutions on each of those issues.
Chambliss, who does not consider himself pro-gambling but agrees the current system is unsustainable, suggested a group of lawmakers working after the sessions and reconvening in a special session with a better proposal versus a last-ditch effort on the final day of the 2021 session.
“Eleventh hour is very difficult,” he said. “We live in a republic, and there are mechanisms and maneuvers and rules and procedures that are used to try to block that type of thing, and that’s a good thing. Legislation should be difficult to pass. It seems to me the best track forward would be a House and Senate group of diverse and bipartisan members sit down out of session, work through all the details, come to some type of agreement. Obviously, the Governor would need to be involved in that because she has control over a special session. Get all the details worked out, ironed out, then come into a five-day short special session to make it work. That would be, in my opinion, the way to do it if I were on the proponent side, and even on my side where I just want the proper controls — that in my opinion is the better way to do it, as well because when you’re in a regular session, there’s so many issues, so many other items that, you know, interact and relate, and prohibit, and people use as leverage — that kind of thing. That’s not necessarily wrong. It is what it is. That’s the way our system is set up, and doing it in a special session by itself is probably the better track.”
As Ivey’s lease-build prison proposal has run into unforeseen hurdles for financing options, Chambliss argued the situation required a special session out of urgency before the Department of Justice formally intervenes.
“[I] think if we get out of this session, if we don’t have a special session fairly soon after that, say June to address it — and again, if all of the financing fails on CoreCivic’s side — if we don’t have a special session at that point, I think the DOJ is going to be very serious about their next steps,” Chambliss added.
@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 Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.