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Steve Flowers: Players to watch in the House as session opens

The 2024 legislative session began this week. It could last three and a half months until May 20th.

The Alabama Legislature is a very conservative institution. Republicans hold supermajorities in the House and Senate. The Senate is made up of 27 Republicans and just eight Democrats. There are 77 Republicans and 28 Democrats in the House of Representatives. Therefore, the budget created will be very conservative and prudent.

Alabama is one of the few states with two budgets. There is both an education budget and a general fund budget. Passing these two budgets is the only constitutional duty required of Congress during its annual session. The budget chairs of each agency are very powerful. Basically, they make the budget.

The House budget chairs are Rex Reynolds (R-Huntsville), who heads the general fund, and Danny Garrett (R-Trussville/Jefferson), who writes the education budget. In the Senate, Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Escambia) chairs the General Fund Committee, and Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) organizes the education budget. These gentlemen are wise and competent in budgeting.

Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter has built a great leadership team that works well and delivers results. General Fund Chairman Rex Reynolds was Huntsville's police chief and at the time the city administrator of the state's largest city. He approached his work like a duck to water. Education Budget Chairman Danny Garrett is a successful businessman who manages his education income as if it were his own money. Speaker pro tem Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) is a very active pro tem. He emerged as an outspoken leader. Rules Chairman Joe Lobborn (R-Auburn) has become the true leader of the House. He is widely liked for his winning personality.

The three major House committee chairs are doing a very good job. Rep. Jim Hill (R-Moody/St. Clair) chairs the Judiciary Committee. As a former judge, he is perfect for the job.

Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan) chairs the Health Committee. This is a good committee for Dothan to represent, as healthcare has become the most important industry for his Wiregrass hub. Rep. Terry Collins (R-Decatur) chairs the House Education Committee. Collins is a former banker and the go-to woman for educational matters.

Veteran Rep. Steve Close (R-Ozark) remains highly regarded in the House. He is mentoring new members. Andy Hoyt (R-Harvest/Madison) is a close ally of the House speaker and is emerging as a leader, as is Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Mobile).Simpson is a former prosecutor and powerful The law spearheaded the passage of anti-fentanyl drugs. Reed Ingram (R-Pike Road) is a quiet but powerful force. He usually wins no matter what he asks for.

The following members of the House of Representatives also served as leaders. Randy Wood (R-Anniston), Randall Shedd (R-Arab), Ginny Shaver (R-Cherokee), Tracy Estes (R-Winfield/Morgan), Rhett Marquis (R-Enterprise), David – Standridge (R-Hayden), David Faulkner (R-Mountain Brook), Jim Carnes (R-Birmingham), Arnold Mooney (R-Shelby), Corey Ellis (R-Columbia), Debbie Wood (R-Valley), Alan Baker (R-Escambia), Chris Sells (R-Butler) and Chris Brown (R-Mobile) are veteran conservative leaders. Chris Blackshear (R-Russell), Jeff Sorrells (R-Hartford), Margie Wilcox (R-Mobile), David Shaw (R-Vestavia), Cynthia Almond (R-Tuscaloosa), Jamie – Keel (R-Russellville) is very impressive. A popular and successful lawmaker. Young Republican hopefuls to watch include Scott Studhagen (R-Decatur), Corey Harbison (R-Good Hope), James Lomax (R-Huntsville), and Troy Stubbs (R-Huntsville). , Wetumpka/Elmore) and Ben Robbins (R-Sylacauga).

Several come to the House with some experience, including Marcus Parramore (R-Troy), Susan DuBose (R-Hoover), Lee Halsey (R-Helena), and Bill Lamb (R-Tuscaloosa). There are also several new students who have become immediately effective.

So far, the most effective Democrat in the House is Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville). There are a significant number of veteran Democratic leaders in the House. Most of them are women and have been serving in the House of Representatives for a long time. Replacing leaders like Laura Hall (D-Huntsville), Barbara Boyd (D-Anniston), Mary Moore (D-Birmingham), Pevlin Warren (D-Tuskegee), and Berry Forte (D-Barbour). would be difficult.

Other Democratic leaders include Prince Chestnut (D-Selma), Thomas Jackson (D-Thomasville), Kelvin Lawrence (D-Hayneville), Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), and AJ McCampbell (D-Tuscaloosa). , Marengo) and Mayor Sam Jones (Democratic Party). Mobile), Napoleon Bracey (D-Mobile).

Three Democratic freshmen from Montgomery are attracting attention: Penny McClamy, Kenyatte Hassell, and Philip Ensler.

Steve Flowers' weekly column appears in more than 60 Alabama newspapers. He has served in the state Legislature for his 16 years and can be contacted at: [email protected].

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