State Sen. Elliott: Opposition to special, regular sessions due to COVID-19 threat a ‘double standard’
With Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration taking an active role on coronavirus, prisons and possibly gambling in the near future, the Alabama Legislature has not been in session and because of that, on the sidelines.
The legislature adjourned an abbreviated session sine die on May 18, and some speculated a special session would be called by Ivey to attend to unfinished business. However, with the COVID-19 threat still present and impacting members of both chambers of the legislature directly, there has been a reluctance from some at both the executive and legislative levels of government to reconvene.
According to Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Daphne), it is a “double standard” for the legislature to proclaim COVID-19 as a reason to avoid the Statehouse given the push by civic leaders to reopen schools and businesses. Elliott said he backed an argument made earlier in the week by former State Sen. Phil Williams, who is now chief policy officer for the Alabama Policy Institute.
“The majority of the legislators have not been clamoring to get back into session, or in my opinion, all too eager to get out of session earlier this year when COVID descended upon us,” he said. “There have been some folks — and I like to think I’ve been one of them — that have been fairly vocal on the fact that we need to get back and there are a number of issues that need to be taken up quickly, and you’ve enumerated some of them already.”
“Unfortunately, the Constitution lays out and prescribes when the legislature comes into session,” Elliott continued. “And failing that time period coming up, it’s up to the governor to call the legislature back into a special session and she has not done and has deemed instead to kind of proceed on her own. I’m ready to go back to work. I think it is indefensible to tell our children to go back to school, to tell our employees to go back to work, and for the legislature to simply not do that. Now is it fair to say there are some members of the legislature that have underlying health conditions and may be elderly and may be therefore at a higher risk? Absolutely, but that’s the case as well with teachers. That’s the case with employees as well. I just think it’s a double standard, frankly. And I think we need to get back and get to addressing some of these issues as quickly as possible and as safely as possible. Let’s get back to work.”
@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.