State Treasurer John Kennedy says he's fighting a battle he thought was put to rest long ago. He says it's over a sugar mill Senate President Don Hines wanted built in his district. Kennedy says a bill to reduce the bond commission's power is nothing less than political revenge. Hines and House Speaker Joe Salter say the bill has nothing to do that. They say it's about checks and balances. WAFB Capitol Correspondent Caroline Moses has more on the "back and forth" debate at the Capitol.
Speaker Joe Salter says Kennedy has abused his power as head of the bond commission; not once, but multiple times, so he and Doc Hines want to make sure Kennedy and future state treasurers will not be able to push the power lines. Their bill would rotate themselves in with the treasurer, as head of the executive committee for the bond commission. They say it's a way to keep the treasurer's power in check. However, Kennedy says the bill is trying to solve a problem that does not exist.
Treasurer Kennedy says, "Right and wrong, black and white often turns to shades of grey, I understand that." Speaker Joe Salter says, "I'm not pleased with him on the bond commission. It's not illegal he has the authority, but he has abused it on more than one occasion." At the end of the debates, Kennedy said he is not in agreement with any part of this bill, but Speaker Salter said he was told Kennedy had previously agreed to compromise.
Enough representatives agreed with Salter that the bill passed out of a House committee and goes next to the House floor for debate. Later this evening, the Senate will decide what to do with House Bill 1, which is the bulk of the state budget, and House members could cast a crucial vote to stop gambling at cockfights. We'll have more coming up tonight.