COMMENTARY — As the third regular legislative session of the quadrennium draws to an end, let us look at the makeup of the new super Republican majority.
Who makes up the leadership of this group? This week we will dwell on the House of Representatives. The Republicans own a 66 to 39 advantage over the Democrats in the House. This gives them a super majority and they have taken advantage of that power.
They are under the rule of Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn. He rules with an iron hand. Hubbard has amassed a czar-like control of the House. He is unquestionably the most powerful figure in the legislature. The Republican majority moves lockstep to his command.
There is some dissidence and independence in the Senate. This is not the case in the House. Hubbard has become one of the most powerful speakers in memory, and that includes Jimmy Clark, Seth Hammett and Rankin Fite.
The speaker pro pem is Victor Gaston of Mobile. Victor came to the House in 1982. He has a serene, thoughtful and grandfatherly-like demeanor. By virtue of his position he serves on every committee. His best friend is Steve Clouse from Ozark. Clouse and Gaston bonded when Steve first came to the House in 1994. Steve has the unenviable plight of leading the Ways and Means General Fund Committee.
Jay Love of Montgomery chairs the House Ways and Means Education Committee. His task of handling the Education Budget is easier than the General Fund.
Paul DeMarco of Homewood chairs Judiciary. He has become a mover and shaker in handling complex legal issues within the House labyrinth of bills. He successfully crafted and guided the recently revised and approved Banking Article to the State Constitution.
Howard Sanderford of Huntsville and Steve McMillan of Bay Minette are veterans of the House, who are quietly effective behind the scene.