The leading proposal for a new building to house the state government's legislative branch appears to involve a public-private partnership between the State of Alabama and the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA).

Last week, the Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 222, sponsored by State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville), which would also give the Legislative Council "authority to contract with an appropriate party, including, but not limited to, the Retirement Systems of Alabama, to construct and maintain a building that, upon completion, would be designated as the Alabama State House."

Givhan defended a partnership between the RSA and the state during an appearance on Huntsville radio WVNN's "The Dale Jackson Show" last week.

"What is the big boogeyman with the state retirement system owning it?" he said. "They're going to make a certain return, and if they don't make a return, guess what, Dale? We kick the money in anyway."

"I don't see that as a conflict," Givhan added. "It's not like they're going to go, 'Hey, we want you to vote this way as a body,' which, you know, good luck getting 140 people to take their cue anyway or anybody's necessarily. 'If you don't, we're going to evict you.' Who the hell else ... are they going to rent it to?"

According to the Madison County lawmaker, RSA would have built-in advantages over the state regarding construction costs and financing.

"You lease it for a period of time," he explained. "When you get done, you buy it for a dollar or whatever. We're way down the road from getting to those terms."

Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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