Legislature springs into action after state address

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

Staff and wire

The Legislature sprung into action after Gov. Bob Riley&8217;s message Wednesday evening with the House passing several bills and the Senate approving a couple.

The House passed four bills Thursday, including one that would allow a five-person commission to appoint a transportation director, taking the control of the Alabama Department of Transportation from the governor.

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The bill was approved on a 95-1 vote.

Rep. Cam Ward, D-Alabaster, introduced the measure. Those who supported the bill it would strengthen the state&8217;s highway system by taking politics out of the mix.

But the members of the commission would be appointed by a governor on five-year staggered terms. The bill also calls for the state to be divided into three regions geographically, with one member from each region. Two members of the commission would serve at-large.

In other action, the House passed a bill that would ban the practice of transferring campaign donations from one political action committee to another; approved legislation prohibiting the practice known as &8220;pass-through pork,&8221; where a legislator hides money in a state agency so that the money can later be used for a special project; passed a bill requiring legislators to receive ethics training and passed a bill setting up a statewide building code. All the bills go to the Senate.

The Senate approved legislation to raise the minimum amount of auto liability insurance that motorists must by and to provide free college tuition to the spouse and children of volunteer firefighters killed or totally disabled in the line of duty

The House meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday, and the Senate at 2 p.m.