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Senate GOP
blocks Hunt bill

By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Republicans in the state Senate blocked legislation Thursday that would provide $36,000 annually for former Republican Gov. Guy Hunt, who is battling lung cancer.

Sen. Zeb Little, who counts Hunt among his constituents, tried to get the Senate to consider his bill to provide state funding to Hunt, but the Senate split 16-16 on whether to bring up the bill for debate. The tie vote stalled the bill, but it could come up later in the legislative session.

Voting against consideration were all 12 Senate Republicans plus four Democrats who usually side with the GOP.

Little, D-Cullman, said Hunt is seriously ill and needs help since Alabama does not provide retirement for its former governors. "I'm surprised the Republicans serving in this body don't have the courtesy to support Governor Hunt," Little said.

Senate Minority Leader Jabo Waggoner said the vote had nothing to do with Hunt. He said Republicans have united to slow down bills sponsored by the Senate's Democratic leadership as a way to protest Senate operating rules they consider unfair to the minority.

"It had a lot to do with the sponsor of the bill and his attitude," Waggoner said.

Earlier in the day, some Senate Republicans tried to bring up legislation to provide state funding to rebuild two tornado-ravaged schools in Enterprise, but some Democrats used the Senate's rules to block debate on that bill. The stalling was one of the daily demonstrations of tension between the two parties in the Senate.

Like the Hunt bill, the Enterprise legislation could come up for consideration later.

After the two bills stalled Thursday, the Senate voted 32-0 for a bill that would allow gun and ammunition dealers in Alabama to sell to residents of any state where gun sales are legal. Currently, they can sell only to people from Alabama and the four neighboring states.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Pat Lindsey, D-Butler, said Louisiana residents lease hunting land in his West Alabama district, but can't buy guns and ammunition from stores in his district.

"That's about the dumbest law I've ever heard of," Lindsey said.

Waggoner said Republicans allowed the bill to pass because they are being selective about which Democratic-sponsored legislation to slow down.

But Little and Senate President Pro Tem Hinton Mitchem, D-Albertville, said it had more to do with Lindsey's bill being endorsed by gun and hunting groups that closely track legislative voting records.

"They don't want to go on record voting against the rifle association," Mitchem said.

Senate roll call on Gov. Hunt bill

Votes Thursday as the Alabama Senate split 16-16 on whether to bring up for consideration a bill to provide $36,000 annually to former Gov. Guy Hunt. Voting yes for consideration were zero Republicans and 16 Democrats. Voting no against consideration were 12 Republicans and four Democrats. Not voting were zero Republicans and three Democrats. No Republicans or Democrats abstained.

Republicans voting yes: None.

Republicans voting no: Beason, S. (Gardendale); Bishop, C. (Jasper); Brooks, B. (Mobile); Byrne, B. (Montrose); Dixon, L. (Montgomery); Erwin, H. (Montevallo); French, S. (Birmingham); Glover, R. (Semmes); Marsh, D. (Anniston); Orr, A. (Decatur); Smith, H.A. (Slocomb); Waggoner, J. (Vestavia Hills).

Democrats voting yes: Barron, L. (Fyffe); Bedford, R. (Russell-ville); Benefield, K. (Woodland); Denton, B. (Muscle Shoals); Figures, V. (Mobile); Lindsey, P. (Butler); Little, T. (Auburn); Little, Z. (Cullman); McClain, E.B. (Midfield); Mitchell, W. (Luverne); Mitchem, H. (Union Grove); Penn, M. (Union Springs); Poole, P. (Moundville); Ross, Q. (Montgomery); Sanders, H. (Selma); Singleton, B. (Greensboro).

Democrats voting no: Butler, T. (Madison); Holley, J. (Elba); Means, L. (Attalla); Preuitt, J. (Talladega).

Republicans not voting: None.

Democrats not voting: Coleman, L. (Birmingham); Griffith, P. (Huntsville); Smitherman, R. (Birmingham).

- The Associated Press

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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