Inside the Statehouse
Posted by: Steve51
Date: May 15 2019 7:56 AM
Inside the Statehouse
By Steve Flowers
Infrastructure Package Passage will be Hallmark of Success for Governor Kay Ivey and the Legislature
The five day Special Legislative Session that addressed the increase in the gas tax to fund an Infrastructure Rebuilding Program for the state was a remarkable success. I still marvel at the adroitness, efficiency and expediency in which the governor accomplished this monumental initiative. She called for a Special Session on the night of her State of the State address and within one week it was signed, sealed, and delivered.
I have seen some successful special sessions in my lifetime of watching
Kay Ivey’s success made Wallace’s hardball ploys look minor league. She got her mission accomplished in the minimum five days. It was an amazing success story that will be told in political circles for years.
She did her homework. She dug in and made it clear that infrastructure improvement was a must for
She was not doing it for self-serving reasons nor was she doing it to secure her place in history. However, I am here to tell you as an
Gov. Ivey was astute to address the issue in a Special Session within the Regular Session for several reasons. In a Special Session, Legislators have to address only the issue the governor calls them in for. By calling for the concentrated Special Session within the Regular Session, it did not cost taxpayers any more. It also got them around the 3/5 vote needed to bring a bill up before the budgets which is required in the Regular Session.
Her ability to reach across the aisle and garner Democratic support for passage of the program was noteworthy. She brought in all of the Democratic legislative leaders. She sat down with them and diligently worked to explain how important this agenda was to not only their constituents, but to the entire state.
Her reaching out to them was not only important for passage of this package, but it built the foundation for a successful and harmonious working relationship with all the members of the Legislature which have been missing for over a decade.
The relationships Kay developed with state senators as presiding officer of the Senate for six years paid off with not only the Republican leadership but also with Democratic leaders like Bobby Singleton.
She forged new friendships with both Republican and Democratic legislators in the House. She worked hard and developed a close working relationship with House Democratic leader, Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville), who is a bright young star. This friendship will be good going forward for Ivey and the state.
Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) was the leader in the House that worked closely with Gov. Kay Ivey to align the stars for passage.
Expanding access to broadband internet in rural
This initiative has moved to the forefront for passage as the session evolves. The magic formula for success is engrossed in House Bill 400. This legislation would logically and effectively allow electric utilities to use their existing infrastructure to run broadband to areas that do not have service today.
Opposition has arisen from big cable companies for obvious self-serving reasons. To allow these large out-of-state companies to thwart the passage of this important piece of legislation would be bad for the state. The need to run new fiber optic lines at great expense would make the initiative almost cost prohibitive.
Regardless, the cable companies and AT&T are working to kill this logical plan to extend broadband internet service to all Alabamians. They are also using some unsavory tactics in their attempt to kill Gov. Ivey’s initiative. Hopefully, their transparent efforts to derail this important legislation will be ignored by legislators who want what is best for
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is