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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.

Confirmed Cases: 98190

Reported Deaths: 2969
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7189161
DeSoto569464
Harrison394175
Jackson358570
Rankin337280
Madison334190
Lee293572
Forrest254275
Jones252780
Washington227879
Lafayette221240
Lauderdale2078126
Bolivar187370
Oktibbeha181952
Lamar176237
Lowndes160858
Neshoba1599104
Panola151631
Sunflower149146
Leflore143882
Warren141850
Pontotoc130116
Monroe125369
Pike124954
Copiah119933
Scott118027
Coahoma117530
Lincoln112353
Marshall111821
Grenada110136
Holmes110060
Yazoo106733
Simpson105847
Tate101938
Union101224
Leake96538
Adams94937
Wayne91521
Pearl River91453
Prentiss88418
Marion87537
Itawamba85921
Alcorn83411
Covington83223
George78513
Tallahatchie78324
Newton78124
Winston74619
Tishomingo71039
Tippah70518
Chickasaw69524
Attala67225
Clarke61149
Walthall60426
Clay59919
Hancock59822
Jasper58415
Noxubee55816
Smith55115
Calhoun52912
Tunica50015
Montgomery47020
Claiborne46516
Yalobusha44414
Lawrence43914
Perry43221
Quitman3905
Greene38917
Stone38013
Humphreys37715
Jefferson Davis34711
Amite34210
Webster33913
Carroll33112
Wilkinson30818
Kemper29115
Sharkey26714
Jefferson2439
Benton2333
Franklin1993
Choctaw1876
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 138162

Reported Deaths: 2405
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson20221352
Mobile13558295
Tuscaloosa9029118
Montgomery8894187
Madison800580
Shelby616450
Lee601761
Baldwin564052
Marshall398345
Etowah357545
Calhoun356944
Morgan334929
Houston295421
Elmore273948
DeKalb246121
St. Clair237937
Walker236987
Talladega219030
Limestone215720
Cullman192220
Dallas179926
Franklin179430
Autauga179127
Russell17903
Lauderdale175934
Colbert168426
Blount162915
Escambia162024
Jackson161112
Chilton160930
Dale141844
Covington141628
Coffee13936
Pike122011
Chambers117942
Tallapoosa117385
Clarke110916
Marion97629
Butler91740
Barbour8967
Winston75112
Marengo72820
Pickens67215
Randolph67213
Bibb66411
Lowndes65927
Hale65328
Geneva6505
Lawrence63625
Cherokee62013
Bullock61015
Clay5929
Monroe5928
Washington56012
Crenshaw54532
Perry5436
Conecuh53811
Wilcox53211
Henry5145
Macon48318
Fayette47311
Sumter43419
Cleburne4085
Lamar3822
Choctaw35212
Greene30615
Coosa1743
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