The Montgomery Advertiser newspaper's blog on all things related to Alabama politics and state government, featuring the writings of Sebastian Kitchen and Markeshia Ricks
State Reps. Jay Love, Jim Barton and Blaine Galliher were appointed to be chairmen of the three key committees in the Alabama House of Representatives on Wednesday.
House members found out on Wednesday which committees they would serve on.
Galliher, R-Gadsden, will be chairman of the Rules Committee, which decides which bills comes to the House floor for debate.
Love, R-Montgomery, will be chairman of the education budget committee.
Barton, R-Mobile, will be chairman of the general fund budget committee that sets funding levels for Medicaid, prisons, public safety and most other non-education entities.
Love and Barton are both small business owners. They acknowledged that the coming budget years will be difficult. Barton called the situation "dire" and said he was nervous, cautious and anxious about his post, which he said Speaker Mike Hubbard asked him to serve in.
"I have a steep learning curve," Barton said.
He acknowledged there will be drastic cuts, but said he will try to stay away from public safety. Barton also asked that his predecessor, Rep. John Knight of Montgomery, serve on the committee with him along with House Majority Leader Victor Gaston of Mobile, who was the ranking minority member when Democrats controlled the Legislature.
Love said that sometimes the best reforms emerge in tough times. He said he is excited and this is his first opportunity to chair a committee.
Love said there could be a $500 million to $600 million hole in the budget. He said he would also wait to see the priorities and policies of Gov.-elect Robert Bentley.
Galliher vowed to be courteous and fair to members and their legislation as chairman of the Rules Committee.
"I think a member has a right to have his day in court," he said.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen
South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.