Earlier this year Yellowhammer published a short piece on the significance of the Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR) in the legislative process. In short, the BIR is a procedural vote that allows a bill to come to the floor for debate prior to the budgets being passed. Passage of a BIR requires a 3/5 vote but it is fairly rare for a bill to fail on the BIR vote. However, this past week in the Senate, that’s exactly what happened.
HB 160, which passed the House in February, was being sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Phil Williams. The Alabama Job Creation and Retention Act (as it and its companion bill HB 159 were known) has been one of this session’s most controversial pieces of legislation. Regular Yellowhammer readers will be familiar with our coverage of the AEA tactics used to block its passage (see: here, here & here). We pointed out in March, “Unless the GOP unites behind this proposal, Senate Democrats (who often take their cues from the AEA) will be able to block the BIR and prevent Alabama from gaining a valuable tool in attracting and retaining companies and putting folks back to work.” Ever the optimists, we believed the GOP would stick together to get this done.
We were wrong.
Job creation supporters were short one vote on the BIR (Vote was 18-13 in favor, needed 19 to reach 3/5 threshold). As the clerk of the Senate announced the result, a celebration broke out in the Senate gallery and in the halls of the 7th floor. AEA and Democrat lobbyists, as well as left wing onlookers, erupted into applause.
Let’s not forget, this proposal passed the Senate unanimously last year before the AEA placed it on their kill list. So what changed, Senators? Take a look below to see how your Senator voted.