Senate fights over Riley appointments
The state Senate started fighting late Tuesday over appointments recommended by Gov. Bob Riley to serve on boards, commissions and other state panels.
The Senate shut down and eventually adjourned after getting bogged down late Tuesday over the appointments.
Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, said Riley has had eight years to make appointments and that he is trying to push through political appointments in the last hours of his administration. He said there are about 60 pending confirmations.
"The truth is Governor Riley's term is over," Bedford said, before commending Riley for some of his work in the last eight years.
Even though he has friends who are on the list of appointees, Bedford said the appointments should be made by Gov.-elect Robert Bentley, a Republican. He said the new governor is able to "make his mark" through his appointments. Riley is also a Republican.
"Bob Riley is the governor until Jan. 17," said Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur.
Orr said the appointments to the Alabama A&M Board of Trustees "hang in the balance."
Bedford also argued that those appointments, which require confirmation by the Senate, did not belong in a special session about ethics.
"This has nothing to do with ethics," Bedford said.
Orr said they need to appoint a fifth member to the Alabama Ethics Commission to ensure there is a full panel.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said the Republicans have the votes to move forward with the confirmations, but had offered to move forward with just some of those appointments agreed on by the Democrats.
"The votes are there to approve all of them, but we want to compromise," Marsh said.
Orr added: "the olive branch was extended and it was rejected."
Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, said the appointments process has not always reflected the diversity of the state.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen