Special session important

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Gov. Bob Riley has called the Alabama Legislature into a special legislative session on May 19 to deal with the current budget shortfalls facing the state.

This &uot;special&uot; session will deal with some of the most controversial issues ever faced by the Alabama Legislature.

I realize that this is a time when we are all getting ready for high school graduations and the family vacation, but this session is too important to be ignored.

The Legislative Fiscal Office estimates that the state budget will be anywhere from $500-$800 million dollars short next year.

The governor has introduced a package that will provide for both a reform in services and tax increases.

This will be one of the largest tax increases (more than $1.2 billion) ever proposed in this state.

There are several bills in this package that also provide for greater accountability in the way state government spends our tax dollars.

The debate promises to be heated but it is one of the most important debates that we will ever hold in state government.

Regardless of whether you are in favor of the governor’s plan or against it, the citizens of Alabama need to be engaged in this debate.

People need to call their legislator with questions and comments because the decisions made in this session will affect everything from our schools and nursing homes to the number of law enforcement personnel in out state.

Whether you are for small government like myself or favor big government solutions, this session is going to examine state government across the board and hopefully change the way we do business forever.

Whatever your thoughts, please get involved and let us know how you feel. I always appreciate your comments regardless of your political stance on the issue.

Editor’s Note: Last week, the Shelby County Reporter expressed is disappointment in the actions of Republican representatives regarding a bill allowing convicted felons to regain the right to vote after they have paid their debt to society.

In fact, Republican representatives fought hard for weeks to keep the measure from ever coming to a vote. In the end, however, they lost that fight and the bill was voted on. That vote saw the Republicans stand firmly against the measure. The measure passed the House because the Democratic majority voted for it.

The &uot;deal&uot; which was referred to by the editorial was one which allowed another bill to be voted on by the full body of the House if the Republicans would allow the felons voting act to be voted upon