Riley happy with session
By M.J. Ellington
MONTGOMERY — Lawmakers worked together with unusual cordiality during the special session, but there were hints of rumblings ahead as they ended their week in the capital city Friday.
Unity is the word
The Legislature and Gov. Bob Riley’s administration said they had a one-word message for the large industries trying to choose between Alabama and other states for a new location.
The word is “unity,” and the message it conveys is that Alabama’s sometimes-fractious Legislature and the administration with which it often locks horns can get together when the payoff possibly means thousands of jobs for Alabama.
“This was a great special session,” Gov. Bob Riley said in a statement after the special session.
“... I hope the strong bipartisan cooperation we saw, the willingness to come together and address critical needs of our state is something that will continue in the regular session.”
Sticking his hand out
Members of the Senate were just starting to leave the floor after the session when Finance Director Jim Main arrived to shake hands.
“This is great,” he said. “When Louisiana met in special session in December, they fought the whole time.”
Louisiana and Alabama are finalists for a German steel company’s mammoth new plant, expected to have 2,600 jobs.
In another show of unity, Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom and Speaker of the House Seth Hammett, both Democrats, held a joint news conference to celebrate the events of the week.
House Minority Leader Mike Hubbard issued a news release with a different tone.
“The success of this special session belongs to Gov. Bob Riley, whose tireless economic development efforts brought us together in the first place ...
“Some Democrats started out the session threatening to be obstructionists, but I believe they realized that it would be politically damaging to intentionally derail the work Gov. Riley has done for the betterment of the state.”
Some Republican senators who were chatting outside their offices after the session predicted Friday a return to Senate business as usual when the regular session begins Tuesday afternoon.
Business as usual means slowdowns and filibusters in an upper chamber that is almost evenly divided in political philosophy.
Maybe, maybe not
Senate President Pro Tem Hinton Mitchem, D-Union Grove, said he hopes the regular session will not begin with a fight.
“We plan to begin work with something like the school bond issue that most people support strongly,” said Mitchem.
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