MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Governor Kay Ivey’s chief of staff today gave Business Council of Alabama Pathways to Policy committee members an insider’s look at events on April 10 when Ivey became Alabama’s 54th governor.
Chief of Staff Steve Pelham said although then-Lt. Gov. Ivey had a transition plan because Governor Robert Bentley might have to leave office before his elected term was up, the events leading up to his guilty plea to two campaign finance charges and his resignation in the face of an almost sure House impeachment try gave her office only a few hours to prepare for the historical transition.
Pelham spoke at the BCA’s Pathways to Policy luncheon at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center that formally moves the BCA’s 2018 state and federal agendas to the BCA executive Committee and ultimately to the BCA’s Dec. 1 board meeting in Birmingham.
BCA policy committees meeting in the fall of each year create the advocacy organization’s state legislative recommendations and one federal affairs policy recommendation that will guide the BCA during the 2018 legislative session that begins in January and the second year of the current Congress in Washington, D.C.
Today’s half-day committee-as-a-whole structure was a condensed departure to previous two-day committee meetings.
BCA Chairman Jeff Coleman, president and CEO of Coleman Worldwide Moving in Dothan, presided over the meeting where committee members discussed education and workforce preparedness, environment and energy, health, judicial and legal reform, labor and employment, small business, and tax and fiscal policy.
The federal legislative agenda consists of issues on economic development, education and work force development, environment and energy, financial services, health care, labor relations, legal reform, OSHA, regulatory reform, taxes, trade, and transportation and infrastructure.
Jim Page, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Alabama, and chairman of the Alabama Alliance for Infrastructure, said the committee is preparing a broader look at infrastructure development in readiness for the 2019 legislative session. Progressive programs are tough to pass in the last year of an Alabama legislative quadrennium, which is next year.
Pelham gave an inside look at events leading to Bentley’s resignation on April 10 and Ivey’s swearing-in as governor, the first Republican female governor in Alabama and only the second female governor in the state’s history.
Her ascension occurred during the mid-point in the 2017 legislative session that, ironically, included her signing bills into law which she had signed as lieutenant governor, who presides over the Senate.
In her six-plus months in office, Governor Ivey has traveled the state, attended domestic and overseas economic development events, appointed new cabinet officers and made nearly 300 political appointments, negotiated with legislators over an important education bill, dissolved previously existing task forces, proclaimed that no lobbyist could be appointed to a state board, set dates for four special elections, and conducted five states of emergency, including hurricanes, appointed a chief justice of Alabama and an associate justice of the Supreme Court.
“She’s a busy governor,” Pelham said. “Almost every minute of her time is accounted for.”