Tuesday, February 01, 2005
On this day:

Legislative Agenda - Common Ground

Republicans announced a legislative agenda for the 2005 session back in November, and Democratic legislators came out with their agenda (sorry...that link is to an editorial) just last week. I'd guess that at least some of the Republican proposals will appear in the "Contract with Alabama" that they will be releasing very soon.

There are a few items that are on both parties' wish lists - 1) a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, 2) a ban on transfers of money between political action committees, and 3) a ban on "pass-through pork."

The proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage should pass the legislature easily. The chief disagreement between the parties concerns the timing of ratification by voters. Democrats want the measure to appear on the ballot in the June primary. Republicans, who believe the amendment will attract large numbers of conservative voters more likely to vote for Republican candidates, favor putting putting it off until the November general election.

Proponents of the ban of PAC-to-PAC transfers say that it would provide more transparency in political campaigns by ensuring that the "money trail" of campaign contributions can be traced easily. It was considered in the 2004 regular session, but it failed in the Senate.

The proposed ban on "pass-through pork" was one of the measures in Amendment 1, the tax and accountability package defeated by voters in 2003. "Pass-through" appropriations are expenditures of state funds at the direction of a legislator, which are not specified by a line item appropriation.