Riley agenda will receive fair hearing

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 17, 2002

A 30-day truce.

That’s what the Alabama Senate Democratic Caucus is offering Governor-elect Bob Riley for Christmas.

Members of the caucus have authored a resolution promising that Riley’s legislative agenda will receive &uot;a full and fair hearing&uot; for 30 days when the Senate begins its new session March 4.

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The resolution comes in response to published concerns from Riley, a Republican, intimating that his agenda could be as good as dead on arrival without a genuine spirit of cooperation from the heavily Democratic Senate.

Sanders explained that the members of the caucus issued the resolution in recognition that Alabama faces a number of pressing challenges as Riley prepares to take office, including finding increased funding for education, solving the state’s fiscal problems and dealing with the need for constitutional reform.

Sanders cautioned, however, that Riley should not expect a free ride. Just a full and fair hearing of his agenda. &uot;Not a fair hearing down the road,&uot; he added, &uot;but in the first 30 days of whenever he gets it to us.&uot;

The resolution notes that the three branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial – are intended to function as a system of checks and balances each on the other.

The resolution reads, in part, &uot;Just as the governor should not control the Alabama Judiciary, he should also not control the Alabama Legislature and vice versa.&uot;

In practical terms, Sanders added, that means the governor proposes, the Legislature enacts. What transpires between the proposing and the enacting is called &uot;politics.&uot;

Much was made prior to the election about Riley’s decision to forgo campaigning in the Black Belt in favor of concentrating on the more heavily populated areas of the state. While Riley still has yet to officially visit the area, Sanders affirmed that he has spoken with the governor-elect by phone, but said they discussed few specifics.

On a note closer to home, Sanders said he has yet to exchange a professional courtesy call with the newest member of the Black Belt legislative delegation, Rep. Yusuf Salaam, who represents District 21.

The other local delegation member is Rep. James Thomas, District 69.