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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Democrats blast Republicans for restricting access to legislators

The Alabama Democratic Party is taking the new Republican legislative leadership to task for its proposal to restrict public access to legislative hallways and offices in the upcoming regular session.

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro-Tem Del Marsh announced plans Monday to restrict access in the wake of the shootings in Tuscon, Ariz. The plan calls for stopping the public and lobbyists from being able to wander in and out of legislative offices on days when the Legislature is in session.

New Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy said in a press release Wednesday that the new rules would only allow legislators the opportunity to duck questions and concerns from voters.

“After 136 years of open door policies under Democratic leadership, a new day of Republican control has dawned in the Alabama Legislature, but the sun isn't shining," he said.

Kennedy went on to say in the press release that Hubbard’s use of the Tuscon shooting to draw a parallel to security at the Alabama State House was a stretch, because that incident took place outside the walls of the U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings. He said both the capitol and office buildings were the public has free access.

Kennedy also said that there is a police presence at the State House and visitors are required to pass through metal detectors and security checkpoints at the door.

Kennedy said the changes would do nothing more than facilitate questionable closed door meetings and possibly skirt the new ethics law recently passed in the special session.

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks

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February 3, 2011 at 5:21 AM  

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