Senate Rules Relating to Committees




RULE 48.

(a) There shall be sixteen (16) standing committees. The Chairperson of each standing committee shall have the power to appoint subcommittees to aid in the work of the Committee. However, all subcommittee reports shall be subject to review and approval by the standing committee as a whole. A majority of the membership of each standing committee shall constitute a quorum to conduct business, and all standing committees shall meet formally to consider bills before it. In no instance shall any committee report for second reading a bill which was not considered in formal committee meeting. For purposes of this rule, a formal meeting shall be one in which all the members of the committee have been notified of the time and place of the committee meeting, and the committee meeting so held with a quorum present. The standing committees of the Senate shall be on the following subjects:

(1) The Committee on Rules shall have supervision over the Revision of the Journal, Enrolled Bills, and Engrossed Bills. In addition, the Committee on Rules shall consider and report on matters required by the Rules of the Senate, as follows: motions or resolutions to set aside a regular order of business (Rule 9); motions or resolutions for a Special Order (Rules 9 and 13); special rules that debate on a pending measure shall cease at a certain hour and a vote be taken on the measure (Rule 20); propositions to suspend, modify, or amend any rule or any part thereof (Rule 35); all resolutions that may be referred to it (Rule 55). Also, the Committee on Rules shall render advisory opinions to any lobbyist who seeks advice about the rules relating to lobbying, and the committee shall make recommendations regarding the imposition of penalties prescribed for violations of the rules relating to lobbying. The Chairperson of the Committee on Rules shall have power to designate the Vice Chairperson of the Committee to act as Chairperson. Such designation shall be in writing and shall be filed with the Secretary of the Senate. The Committee on Rules shall not exceed 16 members.

(2) The Committee on Finance and Taxation Education, to which committee shall be referred bills and other matters concerning the Education Trust Fund in regard to revenues, appropriations, expenditures, state bond issues relating to projects which fall within the scope of education fund expenditures, and public debts of the State, and the administration of the State's taxation and revenue law, including measures that would require new expenditures or increases in appropriations of state funds or that would affect any reductions in state revenue, as well as comprehensive accountability of all departments and entities which are funded by the Education Budget, including, but not limited to, competent expenditures of all monies appropriated from the Education Budget and performance accountability at all levels. The Committee on Finance and Taxation Education shall not exceed 15 members.

(3) The Committee on Finance and Taxation General Fund, to which committee shall be referred bills and other matters concerning the State General Fund in regard to revenues, appropriations, expenditures, state bond issues relating to projects which fall within the scope of general fund expenditures, and public debts of the State, and the administration of the State's taxation and revenue law, including measures that would require new expenditures or increases in appropriations of state funds or that would affect any reductions in state revenue, as well as comprehensive accountability of all departments and entities which are funded by the General Fund Budget, including, but not limited to, competent expenditures of all monies appropriated from the General Fund Budget and performance accountability at all levels. The Committee on Finance and Taxation General Fund shall not exceed 15 members.

(4) The Committee on Confirmations, to which shall be referred nominations, appointments by the Governor and all other appointments requiring confirmation (Rule 32), is empowered to hold hearings and take testimony regarding those matters where deemed appropriate. The Committee on Confirmations shall not exceed 13 members.

(5) The Committee on the Judiciary, to which committee shall be referred bills and other matters concerning crime and punishment, law enforcement, the judiciary and other matters affecting the criminal or civil laws of Alabama. The Committee on the Judiciary shall not exceed 13 members.

(6) The Committee on Governmental Affairs, to which committee shall be referred bills and other matters concerning the organization and operation of state government, reforming the budgetary process, state procurement practices, state bid laws, state contracts, as well as state agency sunset and reauthorization. The Committee on Governmental Affairs shall not exceed 11 members.

(7) The Committee on County and Municipal Government, to which committee shall be referred all bills and other matters concerning the organization and government of any incorporated municipality in the State of Alabama and matters relating to the organization and government of counties in Alabama. The Committee on County and Municipal Government shall not exceed 11 members.

(8) The Committee on Education and Youth Affairs, to which committee shall be referred bills addressing all education reforms in primary, secondary, post secondary, higher education and the Department of Education, as well as other matters relating to the children and youth of Alabama. The Committee on Education and Youth Affairs shall not exceed 9 members.

(9) The Committee on Constitution, Ethics, and Elections, to which committee shall be referred bills and other matters concerning proposed amendments or revisions to the Constitution of Alabama, as well as a new Alabama Constitution, reforming campaign finance laws, strengthening laws related to ethics of public officials, lobbyists, and state election laws. The Committee on Constitution, Ethics, and Elections shall not exceed 9 members.

(10) The Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, to which committee shall be referred all bills and matters relating to Alabama's agriculture and forestry, as well as wildlife, water resources, land, air, environmental protection, and ensuring the preservation of fish and game for future generations of Alabamians. The Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry shall not exceed 13 members.

(11) The Committee on Banking and Insurance, to which committee shall be referred all bills and other matters concerning: banks, banking, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and other financial institutions in this state, including the small loan business; and all bills and other matters concerning the business of insurance in Alabama, including bills and other matters relating to private pension and retirement systems. The Committee on Banking and Insurance shall not exceed 13 members.

(12) The Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development, to which committee shall be referred bills pertaining to job creation and economic development, the Alabama Department of Commerce, the Alabama Department of Labor, the expansion of existing industry, the creation of small businesses, the maintenance of existing small business, the recruitment of other small business, the economic development of communities, as well as matters pertaining to real estate, housing, the condition, development, and interest of the workforce, and other matters relating to economic growth, and also when appropriate, all bills and other matters related to bringing accountability to the use of taxpayer's dollars. The Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development shall not exceed 15 members.

(13) The Committee on Transportation and Energy, to which committee shall be referred bills and other matters concerning: motor vehicles; traffic regulation; highways; railways; airports; air transportation; mining and reclamation; waste and waste reduction; oil, gas, and all other energy matters; common carriers or other forms of transportation; utilities and utility systems; and ports, harbors, and docks. The Committee on Transportation and Energy shall not exceed 15 members.

(14) The Committee on Health and Human Services, to which committee shall be referred all bills and other matters concerning the health of the people of Alabama; the operation of programs managed by the Department of Human Resources; the needs of senior citizens; welfare reform; and any other matters which affect the health care of the citizens of Alabama. The Committee on Health and Human Services shall not exceed 13 members.

(15) The Committee on Tourism and Marketing, to which committee shall be referred all bills relating to increasing tourism from both domestic and international markets and the maintenance of the tourism-related industries in Alabama and any general bill providing for or dealing with pari-mutuel betting, gambling, or games of chance or affecting an existing facility thereof. The Committee on Tourism and Marketing shall not exceed 7 members.

(16) The Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, to which committee shall be referred bills and matters addressing military affairs, the National Guard, Reserve and veterans. The Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs shall not exceed 9 members.

(17) There shall be five (5) Local Legislative Committees described as follows:

a. Local Legislation, to which committee shall be referred all bills and other matters concerning local legislation in counties other than Jefferson, Mobile, Madison, and Shelby. Local legislation under this rule shall consist of any bill that applies to any political subdivision or subdivisions of the state less than the whole, exclusive of those counties excepted under this rule. The Committee on Local Legislation shall consist of 11 members.

b. Jefferson County Legislation, to which committee shall be referred all bills and other matters concerning local legislation in Jefferson County. Local legislation under this rule shall consist of any bill that applies to any political subdivision or subdivisions of the state less than the whole. The Committee on Jefferson County Legislation shall consist of all those Senators whose districts include any part of Jefferson County.

c. Mobile County Legislation, to which committee shall be referred all bills and other matters concerning local legislation in Mobile County. Local legislation under this rule shall consist of any bill that applies to any political subdivision or subdivisions of the state less than the whole. The Committee on Mobile County Legislation shall consist of all those Senators whose districts include any part of Mobile County.

d. Madison County Legislation, to which committee shall be referred all bills and other matters concerning local legislation in Madison County. The Committee on Madison County Legislation shall consist of all those Senators whose districts include any part of Madison County.

e. Shelby County Legislation, to which committee shall be referred all bills and other matters concerning local legislation in Shelby County. The Committee on Shelby County Legislation shall consist of all those Senators whose districts include any part of Shelby County.

(b) Pursuant to the provisions of Section 53 of Article IV of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, there is created a Senate Ethics and Conduct Committee whose responsibility shall be to consider and, when necessary, act upon complaints of misconduct brought against an individual Senator during his/her participation in a session of the Senate or his/her participation in a standing or interim committee.

(1) The committee shall be composed of five members of the Senate elected by the Senate at the earliest possible time after the convening of the first regular session of the quadrennium as designated by the President Pro Tempore and the members shall serve without compensation. Of the five members of this committee one member shall be elected from the minority party of the Senate. Members shall serve for a quadrennium.

(2) The procedure for the election of members to the committee shall be as herein provided. At the appointed time of election to be determined by the President of the Senate there shall be a call of districts. When his or her district is called, each Senator desiring to vote shall deliver to the Secretary of the Senate a list of five names of persons for whom the Senator votes. After each Senator who wishes to do so has submitted a list of five names, the Secretary shall receive the names for counting. The results of the election shall be tabulated by the Secretary under the supervision of a committee of three Senators appointed by the President of the Senate for that purpose. The Secretary shall certify to the Presiding Officer the names of the five Senators receiving the most votes. In the event of a tie vote, a second election shall be held in the same manner as the initial election was held. Senators shall vote for only the number of names that equals the number of positions on the committee to be filled. No ballot shall be counted if it contains a number of names greater than the number required to be elected. Any vacancy on the committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original members were elected.

(3) A chair and vice chair of the committee shall be elected from among the membership of the committee.

(4) If a complaint is brought against a member of the committee, that member shall not participate as a member of the committee in considering the complaint. The President of the Senate shall appoint a temporary replacement for that member to participate in the review of the complaint. The temporary member shall possess the same powers as other members of the committee.

(5) The committee shall receive complaints of misconduct against an individual Senator and recommend such action as it deems necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the committee.

(6) For the purposes of this Rule, misconduct means any of the following:

a. Any conduct constituting a legal wrong that materially impairs the ability of the member to perform the duties of his or her office or substantially impairs public confidence in the Legislature.

b. Any conduct by a Senator that intentionally violates any Senate Rule in the conduct of Senate business, whether official or unofficial business, and which persists after instruction or warning in writing by the Presiding Officer if the Senate is in session, or by the President Pro Tempore if the Senate is not in session.

c. Any conduct by a Senator which, during his or her term of office, sexually harasses any other person of either sex including, but not limited to, Senate Pages. For purposes of this rule, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment,

2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or

3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the committee will look at the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of the sexual advances and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. The determination of the legality of a particular action will be made from the facts, on a case-by-case basis.

d. Any conduct by a Senator which violates any provision of the State Ethics Law, Chapter 25 of Title 36 of the Code of Alabama 1975.

e. Any conduct prohibited by the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.

f. The intentional filing of a false complaint with the committee or the filing of a complaint in reckless disregard of the truth.

(7) The procedure to be followed by the committee is as follows:

a. Only a member of the Senate may file a written complaint with the committee. The complaint shall include all of the following information:

1. The name of the Senator alleged to have committed the violation.

2. The name of the Senator filing the complaint.

3. The nature of the alleged violation.

4. Facts that support the complaint.

5. The date of the alleged violation. The complaint shall be in writing, signed by the Senator filing the complaint, and specify in detail the conduct in question. No complaint alleging a violation shall be filed more than one year after the date the alleged violation occurred. The Senator against whom the complaint has been brought shall be notified in writing by the committee and provided a copy of the complaint. Within 15 days after receipt of the complaint, the Senator may file a written answer to the complaint with the committee. Failure to file a written answer shall not be deemed to be an admission or create an inference or presumption that the complaint is true.

b. At all times during any proceeding conducted pursuant to this rule, the Senator accused of misconduct shall be given such notice and hearing as is requisite to due process of law guaranteed under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Alabama. Prior to taking any action, the committee shall notify the Senator accused of misconduct and shall grant the Senator an opportunity to respond at a hearing on the complaint. Since, by the very nature of a hearing on a complaint filed pursuant to this rule, the character or good name of a woman or man will be involved in the hearing, the filing of the complaint shall be confidential and the committee shall meet in executive session for purposes of hearing and deciding complaints filed.

c. After thorough investigation, by a majority vote, the committee may determine that no misconduct has occurred.

d. The committee, in executive session, may address the accused Senator by issuing a warning.

e. The committee by a four-fifths vote may recommend to the Senate as a whole that further action against the accused Senator be initiated. Such action may include, but is not limited to, censure, removal from committee assignments, barring from recognition to hold the floor, suspension, or in extreme cases, expulsion from the Senate, or referral of the complaint to the Ethics Commission or Attorney General, all of which actions require the vote of two-thirds of the elected Senators. The committee may adopt rules of procedure, not inconsistent with this rule, for the orderly conduct of its affairs, investigations, hearings, and meetings.

(c) If a law or executive order refers to the Chair of the Finance and Taxation Committee as a member or ex officio member of a committee, council, task force, or commission, both the Chair of the Finance and Taxation Education Committee and the Chair of the Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee shall serve.

(d) If a law or executive order imposes duties or responsibilities on a standing committee or standing committee chairmanship which no longer exists under these rules, the Committee on Assignments shall designate a substitute when necessary, and shall notify the Secretary in writing.

RULE 49.

(a) No committee, with the exception of the Committee on Rules and the Committee on Assignments shall meet on the Senate floor while the Senate is in session. No committee shall meet off the Senate floor while the Senate is in session unless the time and place shall be previously announced by the Presiding Officer of the Senate.

(b) Each committee shall have investigatory powers and is authorized to hold hearings on any subject under its jurisdiction, to require attendance, upon appropriate notice, of state government officials, state employees, or representatives of any entity receiving state or federal funds through a state agency to give testimony at such hearings, and to formulate reports and recommendations regarding the activities or actions of such agency or department being investigated or reviewed by such committee.

RULE 50.

(a) Any local bill providing for or dealing with pari-mutuel betting, gambling, games of chance, or affecting existing facilities thereof, shall first be assigned to the appropriate Local Legislation Committee. If the appropriate Local Legislation Committee gives the bill a favorable report, said bill shall then be referred to the Committee on Tourism and Marketing for further action and be treated in all further respects as a local bill. Any general bill providing for or dealing with pari-mutuel betting, gambling, games of chance, or affecting existing facilities thereof, shall be assigned to the Committee on Tourism and Marketing.

(b) A local bill dealing with any environmental issue shall first be assigned to the appropriate local legislation committee. If the appropriate local legislation committee give the bill a favorable report, then upon the local bill's second reading, the President Pro Tempore may, if the question is raised by a Member of the body, determine if the bill deals with an environmental issue. If such determination is made, then the President Pro Tempore may refer said bill to the appropriate standing committee and said bill shall be treated in all further respects as a general bill. A local bill dealing with issues related to facilities as defined by Section 22-27-2(26) of the Code of Alabama 1975, shall not be subject to such referral to a standing committee or treatment.

RULE 51.

Smoking shall not be permitted in any committee meetings held in a private office of the Senate.

RULE 52.

(a) The drafts of all bills which are for introduction at any session of the Legislature, and which are not prepared by the Legislative Reference Service, the Legislative Fiscal Office, or the Executive Budget Office must be presented to the Legislative Reference Service for review of form only and for entry into the Legislative Data Bank.

(b) All substitutes offered on the floor of the Senate must be in the Legislative Data Bank prior to offering.

(c) The title of any bill introduced in the Senate shall be no more than two (2) typed pages.

(d) All substitutes and amendments offered on the floor of the Senate shall be signed by the member prior to being offered.

RULE 53.

When motions are made for reference of the same subject to a select committee and to a standing committee, the question on reference to the standing committee shall be put first. A select committee is a committee appointed by the Committee on Assignments, pursuant to Senate Rule 47(b), to study one specific question and ceases to exist when the purpose for which it was selected has been resolved.

RULE 54.

A Senate bill or resolution carrying an appropriation may be referred to a committee other than the appropriate finance and taxation committee if the subject matter requires such referral in the judgment of the Presiding Officer, after consultation with the President Pro Tempore. A House message containing a House bill or resolution carrying an appropriation may be referred to a committee other than the appropriate finance and taxation committee if the subject matter requires such referral in the judgment of the President Pro Tempore. However, such Senate or House bill or resolution shall also be referred to the appropriate committee on finance and taxation after being given a second reading.

RULE 55.

All resolutions shall be referred to and reported from the Committee on Rules before consideration by the Senate. Reported resolutions of congratulation, commendation, or sympathy may be considered en masse. All Senate resolutions issued for presentation shall be signed by the Secretary and the President of the Senate.

RULE 56.

When a bill has been acted upon by a standing committee, the committee's Chairperson shall endorse on said bill: This bill was referred to the Standing Committee of the Senate on ______________________________ and was acted upon by such Committee in session and is by order of the Committee returned therefrom with ______________ report by a vote of yeas __________ nays _______________ this _____ day of ____________________ 20____.

______________________________________ Chairperson

RULE 57.

The final vote of a committee on a bill shall be recorded and kept as a permanent record in the office of the Secretary of the Senate. No bill shall receive its second reading without a final favorable vote of a committee attached thereto. This rule shall not apply to local bills. Whenever possible, it shall be the responsibility of the Chairperson of each committee to post at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance, unless such notice shall be suspended by a majority of those present and voting in committee, notice of the committee agenda, which shall include the bill number or a short synopsis of each bill, along with the time and place of each meeting. No bill shall receive its second reading without a favorable vote by the standing committee reporting it in formal meeting. The twenty-four (24) hour meeting notice shall not apply in Special Sessions.

RULE 58. [Reserved]

RULE 59.

No bill shall be reported out of committee by any means without having been considered and acted upon at a meeting of the committee to which such bill was assigned. If a meeting of a Senate standing committee convenes, pursuant to notice, and the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson are both absent, then the committee may elect an acting chairperson. However, before any bills are reported by a committee acting in such fashion, the Chairperson must still sign all reports of bills for second reading.

RULE 60.

The Committee on Rules may report at any time.

RULE 61.

When the Chairperson of a committee has scheduled a public hearing to be held on any bill and the hearing has been announced, the hearing may be convened and held after the posting of a notice to this effect, to the Alabama Legislative Information System, forty-eight (48) hours in advance of such hearing. Such notice of a public hearing should be posted so as to encourage public participation.