You’ve probably heard by now. The next Governor consistently voted against Free the Hops legislation as a state representative. Also, both chambers of the Alabama legislature have switched control from a Democratic majority to a Republican majority. This means that the leadership in the Alabama Senate and Alabama House will shift to the GOP.
Free the Hops has never given endorsements in state elections – we’ll work with the members the people choose for us to work with. And there’s no reason to worry too much about how this change will affect beer legislation for the next four years.
For Governor-elect Robert Bentley, being a No vote in the legislature is a lot different than being a veto as Governor. During a radio interview in north Alabama during the primary, Bentley indicated to the listening audience that he would not have vetoed the Gourmet Beer Bill had it been sent to his desk as Governor. While he was personally against one of our issues in the legislature, he did not think his opposition rose to the level of veto. Also remember that a veto in Alabama has little weight. A simple majority can override a veto – it’s harder to pass a bill in Alabama than it is to override a veto. Most bills effectively take a 60% super majority in order to pass. A veto simply takes 50% plus 1.
As for the legislature, there’s no reason yet to assume that a change in leadership and majority will negatively affect our agenda. We don’t yet know who the new Senate Pro Tem or Rules Chair will be, but many of the front runners have been friendly to Free the Hops bills in the past. The presumed House Speaker, Mike Hubbard, is a supporter.
We are very interested in how the new makeup of state politics will affect beer legislation in Montgomery, and we will be monitoring things very closely in the next few months.