Saturday, May 27, 2006

Pork hogtied in court

Legislators are running out of time to bring home the state-funded bacon before next month's primaries.

For a couple of hours Friday, it looked like lawmakers would be free and clear to distribute pork allocations in their districts. A state judge rejected Republican attorney general candidate Mark Montiel's attempt to block a new version of the program -- the Alabama Supreme Court declared the old one unconstitutional last year -- by reviving his 2004 lawsuit. The judge dismissed Montiel's motion, saying the fresh law required a fresh lawsuit.

Quickly thereafter, Gov. Bob Riley and AG Troy King delivered one, asserting that the new "community services grants" program illegally impinges on executive powers because the governor isn't on the commission that has the final say on the grants. Because the spending will be on hold unless or until a judge clears it, the pork checks almost certainly won't be released in time for incumbents to exchange them for good press back home by June 6.

Time for Plan B: attack ads.

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