MONTGOMERY — It's beginning to look like Sine Die is approaching in the Alabama State House.

In an apparent feud between the House of Representatives and the Senate, the House purposefully delayed voting on several Senate bills Tuesday evening, carrying them over to the call of the chair.

In what appeared to be a standoff between the two Houses, the Senate decided not to include any House bills on its calendar, to which the House responded by delaying voting on Senate bills. With this legislative session winding down, it appears members in both bodies are getting testy about the success of their respective legislation.

The Senate gaveled in at 2 p.m., one hour after the House. First to the podium was State Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham), who began by complaining about how the House was handling Senate bills and applauding the Senate rules chair for not including any House bills on the calendar.

"Some of y'all know who I'm talking to," Smitherman said. "I can't speak about everybody over here, but I know a couple bills, I got a couple places that's sitting there and they been sedated."

"We need a resolution from the Senate to the House, asking them to quit reviewing our bills – that's the term they use – reviewing our bills, and put them on the calendar. This review has been going on for a long time down there, and now it's time to un-review," he continued.

The House calendar for Tuesday featured over 30 bills, 14 of which were Senate bills.

The House did approve a Senate bill relating to labor unions earlier in the day. However, after the House reconvened at 7 p.m., House leadership began carrying over all of the Senate bills.

When a bill is carried over to the call of the chair, it means that the House Speaker carries the sole discretion for bringing the bill back up for a vote.

After carrying over multiple bills in the House, State Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) inquired of House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) about the apparent tactic.

"I noticed that we are carrying over a lot of the Senate bills. Is there a reason why?" Givan asked. "Because I want to commend you if there is."

"Well, there is a reason why," Ledbetter responded coyly.

"I remember the days that we had a very, very strong House down here, and hopefully we can get back to that point where the House rules the House," Givan said."

In one instance, State Rep. Mark Gidley (R-Hokes Bluff) brought a bill to the floor with a Senate companion. When Gidley attempted to substitute his bill for the Senate version, jeers broke out across the House floor with cries of "Carry it over."

Ledbetter then quipped, "How about let's just go with the House bill," which was met with scattered applause from House members.  

The House went late into Tuesday evening. Each time a Senate Bill came up for a vote, lawmakers would exclaim, "Carry it over." House Rules Committee chairman State Rep. Joe Lovvorn (R-Auburn) would then oblige, motioning to carry the bills over to the call of the chair.

Lawmakers gave scant reasoning for the holdout, and House leadership would not immediately elaborate on whether the apparent tactics are expected to continue into the week.

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