Alabama State Senate
|Alabama State Senate|
|2015 session start:||March 3, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Kay Ivey (R)|
|Majority Leader:||J.T. Waggoner (R)|
|Minority Leader:||Vivian Figures (D)|
Democratic Party (8)
Republican Party (26)Independent (1)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art IV, Alabama Constitution|
|Salary:||$10/day + $4,308/month|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (35 seats)|
|Next election:||November 6, 2018 (35 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Alabama Legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Senators
- 6 Senate committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The criteria for senators under Article IV, Section 47, of the Alabama Constitution include: at least 25 years of age at the time of their election, a citizen and resident of the State of Alabama for at least 3 years, and resident of their district for at least one year prior to election.
As of May 2015, Alabama is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.
Section 48 of Article IV of the Alabama Constitution initially set the rules for the timing and length of sessions for the Alabama State Legislature, which the Senate is a part of. However, these rules have since been changed by state statute.
The Alabama Legislature convenes in regular annual sessions on the first Tuesday in February, except during the first year of the four-year term, when the session begins on the first Tuesday in March. In the last year of a four-year term, the legislative session begins on the second Tuesday in January. The length of the regular session is limited to 30 meeting days within a period of 105 calendar days. There are usually two meeting or "legislative" days per week, with other days devoted to committee meetings.
The governor of Alabama can call, by proclamation, special sessions of the Alabama legislature. The governor must list the subjects on which legislation will be debated upon. These sessions are limited to 12 legislative days within a 30 calendar day span. In a regular session, bills may be enacted on any subject. In a special session, legislation must be enacted only on those subjects which the governor announces on their proclamation or "call." Anything not in the "call" requires a two-thirds vote of each house to be enacted.
Bills can be prefiled before sessions, starting at the end of the previous session and ending at the beginning of the session for which they are being filed. The exception to this is for sessions beginning in March every four years.
The Alabama Legislature has a constitutional session length limit of 105 calendar days.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature is in session from March 3 through June 15.
Major issues during the 2015 legislative session include a $265 million deficit in the state's General Fund. If left unchecked, this deficit is expected to reach nearly $700 million in a few years' time. This fund provides money for the judicial branch, prisons, Medicaid and state troopers.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 14 through April 4.
Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included creating a new budget, a pay raise for teachers, Common Core and banning legislators from serving as lobbyists immediately following their departure.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from February 5 through May 20.
Major issues during the 2013 legislative session included the general fund, maintaining Medicaid, raises for teachers, giving schools more flexibility over state policies, and gun laws. Heading into the session, the general fund was estimated to be $200 million short of requests.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in regular session from February 7 through May 16. It held a special session from May 17 through May 24 to address redistricting.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the Legislature was in session from March 1 through June 9.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 12 through April 12.
Role in state budget
- See also: Alabama state budget and finances
The state operates on an annual budget cycle. Alabama's fiscal year runs from October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:
- In September of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year, budget instructions are sent to state agencies.
- In November, agencies submit their budget requests to the governor.
- Budget hearings are held with state agencies in January.
- By the second legislative day of each regular session of the legislature, the governor must submit his or her proposed budget to the state legislature. These dates vary from session to session, occurring as early as January and as late as March.
- The legislature must pass a budget with a simple majority. The fiscal year begins in October.
The governor is required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. In turn, the legislature must pass a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Alabama was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Alabama received a grade of D and a numerical score of 55, indicating that Alabama was "lagging" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Alabama was given a grade of F in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
- See also: Alabama State Senate elections, 2014
Elections for the office of Alabama State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 3, 2014; a runoff election took place where necessary on July 15, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was February 7, 2014.
- See also: Alabama State Senate elections, 2010
All 35 Alabama state senate seats were up for re-election on November 2, 2010.
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was April 2, 2010, and the primary Election Day was June 1, 2010.
During the 2010 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $24,953,102. The top 10 contributors were:
|2010 Donors, Alabama State Senate|
|Alabama Republican Party||$1,493,942|
|Tennessee Valley Citizens for Economic Development||$1,397,160|
|Alabama Education Association||$868,675|
|Business Council of Alabama||$817,000|
|Senate Majority PAC||$745,634|
|Alabama Farmers Federation||$597,293|
|George Davis Flowers||$568,947|
|Progress for Alabama PAC||$525,696|
|Alabama Democratic Party||$435,499|
|Alabama Power Co||$390,250|
- See also: Alabama State Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the office of Alabama State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 6, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.
During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $24,792,035. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Alabama State Senate|
|Tennessee Valley Citizens for Economic Development||$1,230,962|
|Alabama Education Association||$1,003,393|
|Senate Majority PAC||$894,840|
|Alabama Republican Party||$829,311|
|Alabama Farmers Federation||$766,283|
|Business Council of Alabama||$584,000|
|Medical Association of the State of Alabama||$541,285|
|Alabama Forestry Association||$386,500|
- See also: Alabama State Senate elections, 2002
Elections for the office of Alabama State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 6, 2002, and a general election on November 7, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $15,536,155. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Alabama State Senate|
|Business Council of Alabama||$1,309,594|
|Alabama Education Association||$1,134,352|
|Medical Association of the State of Alabama||$499,242|
|Alabama Democratic Party||$477,761|
|Alabama Trial Lawyers Association||$425,000|
|Alabama Farmers Federation||$321,582|
|Alabama State Employees Association||$261,250|
|Alabama Power CO||$229,250|
|Uburn Trustee Improvement||$206,500|
Under Article IV, Section 47, of the Alabama Constitution, senators must be at least 25 years of age at the time of their election, must be citizens and residents of the State of Alabama for at least 3 years and residents of their district at least one year prior to election.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the Senate, a special election must be conducted in order to fill the vacant seat. The governor must call for a special election if the vacancy happened before next scheduled general election and the Senate is in session. The governor has all discretion in setting the date of the election along with nominating deadlines.
- See also: Redistricting in Alabama
The Alabama Legislative Committee on Reapportionment is responsible for drafting plans for redistricting in the state House and Senate.
Census date was shipped to Alabama on February 23, 2011. The state population increased by over 300,000 residents (~7.5%). 2011 was the first year in which the state's redistricting process was done using a GIS online platform. The legislative maps, however, were not worked on until May 2012, and Republicans were in charge of the process for the first time since Reconstruction. Maps for both chambers were passed in a controversial special session, in which a final vote was taken in the Senate without a reading of the bill originated in the House. Soon after the plan passed in the Senate, the House approved the new plan. It next went to Gov. Robert Bentley (R) for his signature, and then had to be approved by the U.S. Justice Department.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of May 2015|
The Lieutenant Governor serves as President of the Senate, but can only vote in the event of a tie. The President Pro Tempore is elected from the Senate membership during each organizational session and serves in the absence of the President of the Senate as well leader of the Senate and majority party.
|Current Leadership, Alabama State Senate|
|President of the Senate||Kay Ivey||Republican|
|President Pro Tempore of the Senate||Del Marsh||Republican|
|State Senate Majority Leader||J.T. Waggoner||Republican|
|State Senate Minority Leader||Vivian Figures||Democratic|
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Alabama legislature are paid $10/day plus $4,308/month plus $50/day for three days during each week that the legislature actually meets during any session.
Alabama does not provide pensions for legislators.
When sworn in
Alabama's state senators assume office on midnight of the day that they are elected.
The Alabama State Senate has 21 standing committees. Per Rule 47 of the Senate Rules, committees of the Alabama State Senate are assigned by the Committee on Assignments, consisting of the president pro tempore, lieutenant governor, senate majority leader and three additional members appointed by the president pro tempore. The rules do not specify how often committees are assigned. A majority of appointed members make up a committee's quorum. The president of the Senate serves as an ex officio member of each committee, except specific Local Legislation Committees, with the power to vote. The president may appoint a senator who is not already on a committee to serve as his official substitute.
See rules: Senate Rules
- Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
- Banking and Insurance
- Constitution, Ethics and Elections
- County and Municipal Government
- Education and Youth Affairs
- Finance and Taxation Education
- Finance and Taxation General Fund
- Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development
- Governmental Affairs
- Health and Human Services
- Local Legislation
- Jefferson County Legislation
- Madison County Legislation
- Mobile County Legislation
- Shelby County Legislation
- Tourism and Marketing
- Transportation and Energy
- Veterans and Military Affairs
President of Senate
James Titus was the first President of the Alabama State Senate. He was elected in 1818.
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Alabama State Senate for 19 years while the Republicans were the majority for three years. The Alabama State Senate is 1 of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. However, starting with the Alabama State Senate elections in 2010, both legislative chambers took a turn toward the Republican side. Since Alabamans have elected Republican governors since November 2002, the state has had a Republican trifecta as of the November 2010 elections.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Alabama state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Between the years 1993-1994 and 1999-2002, Alabama had Democratic trifectas, and since 2011, Alabama has had a Republican trifecta. In every remaining year between 1992 and 2012, Alabama had a Republican governor with a Democratic legislature. In every year of the study, Alabama ranked in the bottom-10 on the SQLI ranking. Its lowest ranking occurred during the Democratic trifectas of 1999 and 2000 (46th), while the state’s highest ranking occurred during the divided government years of 2005 and 2006 (41st).
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 44.33
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 43.50
- SQLI average with divided government: 42.83
- Alabama House of Representatives
- Governor of Alabama
- Alabama State Legislature
- Alabama Constitution
- Alabama State Senate's official website
- Official list of Alabama state senators
- Wikipedia on the Alabama Senate
- www.census.gov, "Population in 2010 of the American states," accessed January 6, 2014
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population: 2000," April 2, 2001
- Alabama State Legislature, "The Alabama State Senate," accessed December 12, 2013
- Alabama State Legislature, "Rules Relating to the Presiding Officer," accessed April 21, 2015(Rule 42)
- Alabama State Legislature, "Visitor's Guide to the Alabama Legislature," accessed May 15, 2014
- Alabama State Legislature, "The Rules of the Senate of Alabama," accessed May 15, 2014
- AL.com, "What big issues will the Alabama Legislature solve in 2015? Let us know in the poll and comments," December 31, 2014
- blog.al.com, "Seven issues to watch in the 2014 legislative session," January 12, 2014
- AL.com, "Alabama Legislature 2013: 10 hot issues to watch in the upcoming session," February 2, 2013
- tuscaloosanews.com, "Alabama Legislature passes redistricting plans," accessed April 21, 2015
- ncsl.org, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed April 23, 2015
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- NCSL, "Gubernatorial Veto Authority with Respect to Major Budget Bill(s)," accessed March 2, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Alabama 2010 Senate Candidates," accessed May 15, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Alabama 2006 Senate Candidates," accessed April 9, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Alabama 2002 Senate Candidates," accessed April 9, 2013
- Alabama State Legislature, "Code of Alabama Section 17-15-1," accessed December 12, 2013
- Alabama State Legislature, "Code of Alabama Section 17-15-3," accessed December 12, 2013
- News Courier, "Census: Alabama won't gain, lose House seats," December 21, 2010
- Geo Community, "Alabama moves its redistricting process to the web," January 20, 2011
- tuscaloosanews.com, "Alabama Legislature passes redistricting plans," accessed April 21, 2015
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- USA Today, "State-by-state: Benefits available to state legislators," September 23, 2011
- Alabama State Legislature, "Senate Rules," accessed February 11, 2014(Rule 47-b)
- Alabama State Legislature, "Senate Rules," accessed January 15, 2014
- Alabama State Legislature, "Senate Rules," accessed January 15, 2014(Rule 48)
- Alabama State Legislature, "Past Presidents and Secretaries of the Alabama Senate," accessed May 15, 2014(Archived)
State of Alabama
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