Alabama House of Representatives
|Alabama House of Representatives|
|2015 session start:||March 3, 2015|
|Website:||Official House Page|
|House Speaker:||Mike Hubbard (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Micky Hammon (R)|
|Minority Leader:||Craig Ford (D)|
Democratic Party (33)
Republican Party (72)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art IV, Alabama Constitution|
|Salary:||$10/day + $4,308/month|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (105 seats)|
|Next election:||November 6, 2018 (105 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Alabama Legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Representatives
- 6 Standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The Alabama House of Representatives is the lower house of the Alabama State Legislature. There are 105 members to the Assembly, representing a relatively equal amount of constituencies. Each member represents an average of 45,521 residents, as of the 2010 Census. After the 2000 census, each member represented about 42,353 residents.
Elected officials are not subjected to term limits and Alabama House members are one of only five lower house officials in the United States that are elected every four years. The majority of state legislatures abide by the model set in place by the U.S. House of Representatives, which are two-year terms.
As of March 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 House is a part of. However, these rules have 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.
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 legislature 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 House of Representatives 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.
Elections for the office of Alabama House of Representatives 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.
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 House candidates was $19,792,124. The top 10 contributors were:
|2010 Donors, Alabama House of Representatives|
|Alabama Republican Party||$1,170,549|
|Alabama Education Association||$1,097,446|
|Business Council of Alabama||$716,500|
|Alabama Farmers Federation||$597,594|
|Alabama Democratic Party||$385,421|
|Alabama Association of Realtors||$340,772|
|136 Years PAC||$330,728|
|Alabama State Employees Association||$277,600|
Elections for the office of Alabama House of Representatives 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 House candidates was $17,109,524. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Alabama House of Representatives|
|Alabama Education Association||$1,163,411|
|Seth Hammett Campaign||$762,762|
|Alabama Farmers Federation||$640,139|
|Business Council of Alabama||$557,250|
|Alabama Republican Party||$415,841|
|Alabama Democratic Party||$332,857|
|Alabama Association Of Realtors||$321,000|
|Alabama State Employees Association||$293,428|
|Medical Association Of The State of Alabama||$248,000|
Elections for the office of Alabama House of Representatives consisted of a primary election on June 4, 2002 and a general election on November 5, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to House candidates was $12,397,003. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Alabama House of Representatives|
|Alabama Education Association||$1,233,289|
|Business Council of Alabama||$530,004|
|Alabama State Employees Association||$302,275|
|Medical Association of The State of Alabama||$297,500|
|Alabama Power Co||$202,250|
|Alabama Trial Lawyers Association||$199,500|
|Alabama Association of Realtors||$146,000|
|Alabama Farmers Federation||$143,102|
Members of the House must be 21 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 House, 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 House 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. 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 houses
|Party||As of March 2015|
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the body. Duties of the Speaker include preserving order and decorum and appointing all committee and subcommittee members.
|Current Leadership, Alabama House of Representatives|
|Speaker of the House||Mike Hubbard||Republican|
|State House Majority Leader||Micky Hammon||Republican|
|State House Minority Leader||Craig Ford||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 representatives assume office on midnight of the day that they are elected.
The Alabama House of Representatives has 31 standing committees. Per the House Rules, committees of the Alabama House of Representatives are assigned by the Speaker of the House. A majority of appointed members make up a committee's quorum. The Speaker is not recognized as an "ex officio" member of any committee.
See rules: House Rules
- Agriculture and Forestry Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Baldwin County Legislation Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Boards, Agencies and Commissions Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Children and Senior Advocacy Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Commerce and Small Business Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- County and Municipal Government Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Economic Development and Tourism Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Education Policy Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Financial Services Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Health Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Insurance Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Internal Affairs Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Jefferson County Legislation Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Judiciary Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Lee County Legislation Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Local Legislation Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Madison County Legislation Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Mobile County Legislation Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Montgomery County Legislation Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Rules Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Shelby County Legislation Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- State Government Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Technology and Research Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Tuscaloosa County Legislation Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Ways and Means Education Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
- Ways and Means General Fund Committee, Alabama House of Representatives
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Alabama State House of Representatives for 19 years while the Republicans were the majority for three years. The Alabama State House is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. 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 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives 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.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 44.33
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 43.50
- SQLI average with divided government: 42.83
- Official website of the Alabama House of Representatives
- Official list of the current members of the Alabama House of Representatives
- Alabama House of Representatives on Wikipedia
- U.S. Census Bureau, "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, "Visitor's Guide to the Alabama Legislature," 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
- WAAY, "Alabama Legislature passes redistricting plans," May 24, 2012
- South Carolina Policy Council, "50 State Legislative Session Interactive Map," February 2011 (dead link)
- 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 House of Representatives 2010 Campaign Contributions," accessed May 15, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Alabama 2006 Candidates," accessed April 9, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Alabama 2002 Candidates," accessed April 9, 2013
- Alabama State Legislature, "The Alabama House of Representatives," accessed December 12, 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
- WAAY, "Alabama Legislature passes redistricting plans," May 24, 2012
- Alabama State Legislature, "Rules Relating to the Presiding Officer," accessed May 15, 2014
- 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, "House Rules," accessed January 15, 2014 (Rule 63)
- Alabama State Legislature, "House Rules," accessed January 15, 2014 (Rule 70)
State of Alabama
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