February 2, 2011
Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro-Tem Del Marsh suggested Monday they may block citizens' access to duly-elected public servants by attempting to close off legislative hallways during the regular session and to make the legislative offices available to Alabamians by appointment only.
By doing so, Rep. Hubbard and Sen. Marsh will be allowing legislators the opportunity to avoid questions and concerns from voters by refusing them access.
Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy said, "After 136 years of open door policies under Democratic leadership, a new day of Republican control has dawned in the Alabama Legislature, but the sun isn't shining."
When announcing the potential change, Hubbard referenced the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D - AZ). However Kennedy asserted that Hubbard's use of the tragedy in Tuscon to draw a parallel to security at the Alabama State House was a stretch, noting the incident took place well outside the walls of the U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings where citizens are still able to walk freely today.
Kennedy also pointed out that there is a police presence at the state house and visitors are required to pass through metal detectors and security checkpoints at the door. This move by Representative Hubbard will do nothing more than facilitate questionable closed door meetings and possibly skirt the new ethics law recently passed in the special session.