January 10, 2008

State of Alabama
Press Release: Lt. Governor Folsom (2007-11)

Lt. Governor Folsom, Mitchem take action to get senate on track

Democrats' removal of redistricting from senate agenda
paves way for Senate to unite to do the people's business


BIRMINGHAM, AL - Lt. Governor Jim Folsom and Sen. Hinton Mitchem (D-Union Grove), President Pro Tempore of the Alabama Senate, announced today that the Alabama Senate will not take up the issue of legislative redistricting this year, an issue that threatened to produce gridlock in both houses of the Alabama legislature.

"The people of Alabama deserve a legislature that works together to do the people's business," said Folsom in a press conference in Birmingham. "It's time to lay aside the issues that divide us and come together to address critical issues that affect the people of Alabama."

Last year, senate Republicans, with the blessing of Gov. Bob Riley, used stalling tactics to shut down the senate for most of the session over their disagreement with senate operating rules, which would have allowed senate redistricting by a simple majority of 18 votes. "Taking redistricting off the table should promote harmony and unity in the senate," Mitchem said.

"As long as redistricting was on the table, the senate faced a continuation of the gridlock that hindered the senate from focusing on many important issues last year," said Folsom. High on the list of pressing issues is addressing a huge predicted shortfall in the General Fund that funds agencies such as Medicaid. Folsom and Mitchem said the Alabama Supreme Court's recent decision to reverse a jury verdict against Exxon is largely responsible for the General Fund shortfall. "If the Alabama jury's verdict against Exxon had not been overturned, it would have meant billions for Medicaid hospital care, prescription drugs, and nursing home care for thousands of Alabamians," Folsom said. The Supreme Court's decision in favor of Exxon was 8-to-1, with all eight Republicans siding with Exxon, and the court's only Democrat, Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, casting the lone dissenting vote.

Folsom and Mitchem urged the Republican minority to respond to their gesture with unity. "We call upon the Republicans in the senate to forego dilatory tactics and unite with us to do the people's business," said Mitchem.


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