By Steve Flowers, Guest Columnist
As the first quarter of 2019 closes, a lot has happened. The governor and all of our constitutional officials have been sworn in and have begun their four-year terms in office with Kay Ivey as Governor, Will Ainsworth as Lt. Governor, John Merrill as Secretary of State, John McMillan as State Treasurer, Rick Pate as Agriculture Commissioner, and Jim Ziegler begins his second term as State Auditor.
More importantly, the State Legislature has organized and the Regular Session begins next week. They will be dealing with a myriad of major issues, not the least of which are the two state budgets. The Legislature is more important than who the Governor is in state government. The reason being is they appropriate the money. Those who have the gold make the rules. Another apropos adage is the Governor proposes but the Legislature disposes.
The powers in the 35-member Senate are Senator Del Marsh (R-Anniston), Senator Greg Reed (R-Jasper), Senator Jabo Waggonner (R-Vestavia), Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and Senator Greg Albritton (R-Escambia). Orr and Albritton chair the Finance and Taxation Committees.
The leadership of the House consists of Speaker Mac McCutchen (R-Madison), Representative Victor Gaston (R-Mobile), Representative Mike Jones (R-Covington), Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa), and Representative Steve Clouse (R-Ozark). Poole and Clouse chair the Budget Committees in the House.
All of the above lawmakers are Republicans. There is a super majority Republican domination in both Chambers. There are 77 Republicans in the House and only 28 Democrats. The State Senate is comprised of 28 Republicans with only 7 Democrats. There is only one white Democrat in the Senate. Senator Billy Beasley of Barbour, George Wallace’s home county.
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.