Tensions are brewing early in the Alabama House of Representatives, with some Democratic lawmakers accusing leadership of silencing debate and discussion.

On Thursday, the House voted on the first legislation in the 2023 regular session.

State Rep. Mary Moore (D-Birmingham) said her complaint stemmed from the recently changed rules in the House, which were designed to streamline the legislative process. Moore and other House Democrats opposed the rules, claiming they would reduce the Democrat's ability to have their voice heard.

One rule packaged all committee amendments into a substitute bill to be voted on the House floor instead of all amendments voted on individually on the floor.

"Is it going to be the practice in this body that certain ones of us speech will be limited?" Moore asked Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville). "Because that's what it appeared to be when I was in the committee on yesterday, that certain ones of us could talk. We are not on these major committees, you didn't put us on these major committees, so we don't have a voice. And then if you're going to come back and change the rules, that you going to put all these amendments on in the committee, then the only time I'll have to speak to that will be once it hits the floor."

"Do you intend to have whoever your minion is going to be? Do you intend to bring the previous motion to limit our conversation or speech in the Alabama House of Representatives, that's supposed to be the people's house?"

When Ledbetter attempted to respond, Moore interrupted him, to which Ledbetter threatened to "gavel" Moore.

Moore continued, "I know you're going to gavel me, but I think that it's wrong, and the public need to know. You smile at people, but then…." Ledbetter slammed his gavel before she finished her thought, indicating her time was up, to which she responded that she would speak on every bill to get her point across.

True to her promise, Moore used every available opportunity to air out her grievances on the House floor, regardless if she supported a bill or not.

" We have people that are not legislators," Moore continued. "There are also people that don't work for the Alabama legislature, and It's a terrible shame that they would have more input in the process of us governing the state of Alabama than some of us because of the party we are associated [with] or the color of our skin. And I'm going to get that point out on every bill."

House Rules Committee Chairman, State Rep. Joe Lovvorn (R-Auburn), said later that day on Capitol Journal that Moore's consternation stemmed from confusion on the changed rules.

"I think there's just some confusion in this first week," Lovvorn said. "She certainly has the right to ask that question at the appropriate time. And I look forward to working with her to make sure she understands that, and [I am] happy to help her in any way."

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.