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Lawmakers, governor clash on lieutenant governor proposal

MGN Online

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is clashing with some lawmakers over a proposal to significantly alter the duties of lieutenant governor, the office she once held.

Posted: Jan 21, 2018 11:58 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is clashing with some lawmakers over a proposal to significantly alter the duties of lieutenant governor, the office she once held.

Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, has proposed legislation that would strip the lieutenant governor of any legislative duties so the person no longer presides over the Alabama Senate. The "sole duty" of the post, under Dial's proposal, would be to assist the governor as requested and succeed in the event of the governor's death, removal or resignation.

Currently, the lieutenant governor presides over the Alabama Senate — casting a vote only in case of a tie — and makes appointments to numerous state boards, including the Alabama Ethics Commission. Under Dial's proposal, senators would elect a president from their ranks who would take over those duties, including the appointments.

"It's a job that does not require hardly any work at all and it could be better used if the people are going to fund it," Dial said of the job of lieutenant governor.

Dial said he envisions the position acting something like a vice-governor, assisting the governor with functions like ribbon cuttings and industrial development. However, Ivey, who had been lieutenant governor but was moved into the governor's post last year by the resignation of then-Gov. Robert Bentley, spoke out against the proposal in her first State of the State address.

Ivey said she benefited from her time in the Alabama Legislature because it gave her experience with legislation she later signed into law.

"The smooth transition of government, brought me full circle - from the legislative to the executive - and I am better able to lead and govern because of it. I support having a lieutenant governor who presides over the Senate. Our current order of succession serves the state well. I know this firsthand, having experienced it. I strongly support our current order of succession," Ivey said in her speech.

There is currently no lieutenant governor in the state. Dial said the Senate has run smoothly without one as Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, or whoever he designates, presides. Dial said he thinks it is a better approach to have senators elect a leader, because they could come back and remove the person.

"Same as the House of Representatives. The House elects a speaker. If they don't like them, they elect another one," Dial said.

The job of lieutenant governor in the 1970s through 1990s had grown to be one of the most influential in state government - wielding great influence over the flow of legislation under the Senate's then operating rules.

The decline began in 1998 after the first Republican was elected to preside over the then-Democrat-dominated Senate. Senators opted not to give the power back even as both the Senate and lieutenant governorship both shifted to GOP control.

Dial's legislation is a proposed amendment to the Alabama Constitution. Alabama voters would have to approve the measure and Ivey would have no power to veto it.

Alabama Senate Secretary Pat Harris said people point to advantages of both approaches.

"The pros of a statewide elected person who presides over the body - supposedly, they would make independent decisions on recognizing people and of course they only vote in case of a tie. To some people, that's an advantage. The argument on the other side is that like the House of Representatives, is that we should be able to elect a member of our own body that supervises us, and if we don't like that person, or if that person has a problem, we can remove them," Harris said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 253932

Reported Deaths: 5524
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17197175
Hinds16280322
Harrison13502193
Rankin10749211
Jackson10407183
Lee8819141
Madison8262162
Jones6375110
Forrest5992119
Lauderdale5873180
Lowndes5381116
Lafayette496692
Lamar487565
Washington4800123
Bolivar3978108
Oktibbeha393880
Panola370779
Pontotoc365353
Monroe3543105
Warren353498
Union344760
Marshall342665
Neshoba3383152
Pearl River329799
Leflore3004105
Lincoln297685
Sunflower284969
Hancock273459
Tate272462
Alcorn264053
Pike263577
Itawamba262959
Scott246645
Yazoo245955
Prentiss245652
Copiah241949
Tippah241750
Simpson235767
Coahoma233754
Leake231164
Grenada218470
Covington213071
Marion212072
Adams205870
Wayne201331
Winston200564
George199338
Attala193759
Newton192842
Tishomingo186359
Chickasaw183944
Jasper170835
Holmes168767
Clay159433
Stone143621
Tallahatchie141034
Clarke138960
Calhoun136121
Smith120823
Yalobusha117034
Walthall112336
Noxubee110522
Greene110229
Montgomery109634
Carroll104521
Lawrence102617
Perry102231
Amite98025
Webster92424
Tunica86721
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis84825
Humphreys83024
Benton81823
Kemper77220
Quitman6918
Franklin66615
Choctaw60513
Wilkinson58425
Jefferson54319
Sharkey43017
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 424028

Reported Deaths: 6121
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62258921
Mobile30381549
Madison27160186
Tuscaloosa20779267
Montgomery19049305
Shelby18572114
Baldwin16346182
Lee12515101
Morgan12260113
Etowah11757168
Calhoun11161200
Marshall10199107
Houston8630148
Cullman8036105
Limestone802874
Elmore7849101
DeKalb768897
Lauderdale760083
St. Clair7555120
Talladega6180108
Walker5903174
Jackson581341
Colbert533573
Blount530883
Autauga519855
Coffee443956
Dale398581
Franklin367548
Chilton337665
Russell331710
Covington327768
Escambia319342
Dallas303396
Chambers284269
Clarke282133
Tallapoosa2617107
Pike249429
Marion246250
Lawrence244247
Winston227335
Bibb216247
Geneva202535
Marengo199729
Pickens197031
Hale176442
Barbour173036
Butler170258
Fayette169026
Cherokee160530
Henry154421
Monroe145617
Randolph140735
Washington137726
Clay126745
Crenshaw119544
Lamar118219
Cleburne117723
Macon115035
Lowndes110735
Wilcox103121
Bullock99128
Perry97719
Conecuh94420
Sumter89126
Greene76123
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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