With less than a month in his new role as State Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) is working on ways to improve the Republican caucus and prepare for the next legislative session.

He recently discussed with 1819 News his new leadership position and what he can do to better serve the Senate Republican Caucus.

He said communication between leadership and members was one of the most pressing issues the caucus wanted addressed.

"I am learning every day, and I think the number one thing that is important to my members is they want to be able to know what is going on and to be able to communicate back home with their folks," he said. "That's going to be my number one goal."

The last legislative session saw friction between Senate Republicans and Democrats as well as the Senate and House, which at times brought both chambers to a standstill.

When asked about Democrat obstruction in the Senate, Livingston said he did not support a rules change.

"The rules are for both sides, and we won't change them to skew for us or them. We've got to have fair rules and that gives them the opportunity to do what they do, and we will manage our way around that situation."

Livingston said he and Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) have a great working relationship with leaders in the House. He added that his personal relationship with House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) "couldn't be better."

"I would say that Speaker Ledbetter and I have a very good working relationship," he said. "I think we might have the best relationship, as I was the Senator, and he was in the House from a part of the district. We were able to get a lot done, and he is a fair, honest and good gentleman." 

Livingston brought up the possibility of gaming legislation being introduced next session and mentioned the speaker's most recent work on gaming.

"The speaker has a task force that has been out looking at gaming and illegal gaming going on in the state," he continued. "I am not totally privy to that situation yet; I haven't met with them in that regard. I think that we will wait and see as we get a little closer to session. We may then have some ideas of what they're interested in doing, and we will have to see if it fits a plan or not."

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, Reed and former Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield had nothing but kind words to say when discussing Livingston's new role. 

"I am pleased with the election of Senator Livingston as Majority Leader of the Alabama Senate," Reed said. "Senator Livingston has an impeccable legislative record, and I am confident he will continue to make a positive impact on all Alabamians in his new role as Majority Leader."

Scofield added, "Senator Livingston and I have been friends and colleagues for many years, and we have worked together on countless projects to make Alabama a better place to live for all Alabamians. Steve is a statesman, and I know that he will be a champion of the people and will serve as Majority Leader with honor and dignity."

"Beyond being a veteran legislator and a dedicated public servant, Sen. Livingston is also a close and trusted friend of mine," Ainsworth said. "His ability to resolve conflict, his skill in navigating the legislative process, and his commitment to always putting Alabama first will serve our state well as Senate Majority Leader."

Alabama's next legislative session begins on Feb. 6, 2024.

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