Fallout from Accountability Act hinders progress in Congress this week
by Shane Dunaway
In the wake of the recent backlash regarding the Alabama Accountability Act, increasing frustrations seemed to interfere with production on the floor of Alabama’s Senate and House.

Rep. Barbara Boyd, D-Anniston, expressed her ire toward the situation, stating she wore black every day last week because she was mourning the state of affairs facing our school systems.

“The bill should not have come out the way it was written,” Boyd said. “If the bill is voted out of the House and Senate, it goes to a conference committee. From there, the committee inserted several new pages into the bill.”

Boyd said she also wore a guardian angel pin on her lapel last week to signify her hope that our leaders would be guided to make the best decision for the state’s public schools. She seemed to be let down by the conference committee’s efforts.

“They are not following the legislative process,” she said.

Sen. Jerry Fielding, R-Sylacauga, sounded optimistic despite only having one measure passed by the Senate — a request to add Alabama’s right-to-work law to the State’s constitution.

“We didn’t have a lot of bills passed this week,” Fielding said. “Our committees have been working hard to push some new bills up to the floor in preparation for the coming weeks.”

Fielding said the Confirmations Committee has recommended 12 names for various board positions, including appointing Robert Kelly to the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Board of Trustees, appointing Harris B. Morrissett to the University of Alabama Board of Trustees and re-appointing Marietta M. Urquhart to the University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

The Health Committee established a bill providing for enhanced safety requirements for abortion clinics.

“Some of the doctors who perform these abortions are based out of various locations and often aren’t on hand to provide aftercare if there are complications,” Fielding said. “Putting this bill into place will ensure women who seek these services can receive ambulatory care if the need arises.”

The Judiciary Committee passed 13 bills up to the Senate floor. One of the bills Fielding dubbed “Caylee’s Law,” pushes for stiffer penalties for failing to report a missing child.

Other bills the committee pushed through to the Senate included a bill allowing state employees’ wages to be garnished, a bill pushing for people to be jailed for driving without a license after having their license revoked or suspended, and a bill that seeks to penalize individuals who obtain multiple prescriptions for a controlled substance from different doctors.

Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga, placed the blame of inactivity in the House on the shoulders of the Democrats, who he claimed made numerous efforts to delay proceedings through filibustering

“It was a very busy week in the committees, but not very productive on the floor,” Johnson said.

Johnson noted the House passed a supplemental appropriations bill and said eight more appropriation bills are on the special order for Tuesday.

“These bills are high priority and need to be passed,” Johnson said.

Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, could not be reached for comment.

Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome.com

© 2013