Governor Kay Ivey has called the Alabama Legislature into a Special Session, following her 2019 State of the State Address on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Ivey's office says the governor called the Special Session to tackle Alabama’s ongoing infrastructure issues.
Below is a statement from Ivey regarding her decision:
“Due to the dire need to act now, I am the Alabama Legislature into a special session, focused solely on passing this critical infrastructure legislation. Beginning tomorrow, as we enter this special session, we must shift our focus and tackle this issue together! It’s time to make our crumbling infrastructure system a problem of the past.”
By declaring a special session she is forcing the legislature to debate the gas tax increase and the gas tax increase only without first having to pass a budget.
We still don't know exactly how much more it will cost you at the pump if a gas tax increase is passed during this special session, which starts Wednesday morning. We do know Governor Ivey is asking for a 10 cent per gallon increase.
Alabama's constitution requires the legislature pass a balanced budget. More often than not legislation needs to be passed first, so lawmakers use a procedure called a budget isolation resolution.
That means during a regular legislative session all bills have to pass by a super majority if they are being voted on before the budget is done, but if there is a special session called bills like this gas tax increase can pass with only a simple majority.
"It essentially stifles debate in the alabama legislature, because it limits how many people can stop it. That's all it's about. Basically, what happens here is it makes it easier to pass, therefore it limits debate," said WAAY 31's Political Analyst Dale Jackson.
State Senator Arthur Orr of north Alabama said this special session is not a surprise. It was expected Governor Ivey would do this. He said this move isolates the issue and prevents other bills from getting in the way.