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THE CAPITOL BEAT
Riley: Lawmakers did right thing on steel mill incentive legislation

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Gov. Bob Riley praised lawmakers for putting aside pride and politics to suspend a session-long feud in the Alabama Senate long enough to pass key economic development legislation.

Riley, a Republican, spent much of Thursday at the Statehouse working with Democratic Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. and other legislative leaders to mediate a dispute that it appeared would jeopardize incentives in the state’s effort to bring a German steel mill to South Alabama.

Riley said he was meeting at about 9 p.m. Thursday with the minority faction, a group that includes the Senate’s 12 Republicans and five Democrats, who have been slowing down action for weeks to protest new operating rules they say disenfranchise the minority. Riley said the discussion between him and the senators took place in his legislative office at the Statehouse and was very emotional.

“When it finally came down to them having to put their personal feelings aside, their pride aside, it was absolutely encouraging to see that group come together and say we are going to do something that’s best for the state,” Riley said.

After that meeting, the Senate voted to approve a package of tax incentives for large industries that locate in Alabama.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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