Legislative session winding down with midnight bill reading

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama lawmakers have endured some late nights toward the end of the legislative session. A redistricting bill is currently being read, at length–something the Senate expects to take until midnight and then resume for at least 30 minutes on Friday.

Hundreds of pages were read by an automated voice in both the House and Senate on Thursday. This – after Legislative Black Caucus members complained that they were not involved in the planning of how the district lines were going to be drawn. That was all despite the fact that the Legislative Black Caucus filed a lawsuit that resulted in a panel of three judges’ January decision that found 12 districts to be unconstitutional–kick-starting the entire process.

“Until we’re treated fairly and be able to be a part of this process, we just want this in the record,” explained Senator Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro.

The bill is likely to pass, and Legislative Black Caucus members said they will be ready to file another lawsuit.

“Based on the criteria the courts gave us to work with–and I’ve talked with the legal counsel yesterday, they believe these fit,” explained Sen. President Pro Tem Del Marsh. “The argument from Birmingham, it’s all about Jefferson County, and the makeup of the delegation within the county–I get it. But I think that based on what I’ve seen, it will hold up in court.”

The Legislature has accomplished the bulk of it’s tasks, prior to the final day. Marsh said they were “in great shape” and that the mood among lawmakers is good.

Friday, there will be some loose ends tied up after the reading is finished in the Senate. Marsh said he remains hopeful on the prison bill–but if it doesn’t pass, he said he could see it being a contender for a possible special session. Marsh thinks the biggest thing left to tackle in the session will be the provider tax bill.

When asked about the midwife bill, Marsh said he thinks Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R)-Birmingham is going to try to get it on the floor on Friday in a Special Order Calendar. He acknowledged that there are some physicians in the body who still have concerns about the bill and safety. “We’ll just have to see where it goes,” he said.

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