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Gov. Riley eyes special session

With newly elected legislators already having taken office, Gov. Bob Riley has revealed his consideration for holding a special legislative session a full month before incoming Gov. Robert Bentley takes office.

Some legislators have requested the early session to discuss ethics reform in order to capitalize on the attention the issue received during the November election while many candidates ran on the platform.

Riley has until Jan. 17 to call such a session and many have speculated Dec. 13 would be a likely target date for such an endeavor. The Monday date would put the session opening just a week after the beginning of a three-day legislative orientation session scheduled for Dec. 6-8 at the University of Alabama.

Rep. A.J. McCampbell, D-Demopolis, considers the session a likely, albeit unnecessary, expense.

“They are probably going to do it,” the District 71 representative said. “The reason being is you have a big turnover in the legislature. With that big turnover, they think that’s a mandate.”

McCampbell said the discussion of ethics reform is needed, but viewed the summoning of legislators for a special session as fiscally irresponsible amid a difficult economic climate.

“People are hurting right now and want to see some changes. Right now America is mad at everybody,” McCampbell said. “I don’t think it is a cost that we should be bearing right now. There are some realities of (a special session) that are not fiscally responsible.”

Furthermore, McCampbell pointed out, new legislation will not take affect for 90 days after the date on which it is passed. He said that window of time made the extra expense even less feasible.

“I would tend to agree with Gov. Bentley because he was saying he was going to call a special session during our legislative session,” McCampbell said, indicating his preference to discuss ethics reform legislation and any alterations to the nearly 40-year-old Alabama Ethics Law during the regularly scheduled session in January 2011