As it ever was on Goat Hill
Legislators could have made many Alabamians happy by leaving their pay unchanged. They also could have accompanied a raise with a measure converting their jobs into full-time positions. Instead, they went for the third way, voting to give themselves a roughly 62 percent pay increase but doing nothing to alter the part-time status that allows them to hold outside employment and opens the door to all manner of accusations of conflicts of interest.
It'd be bad enough if lawmakers approved that plan after extensive discussion, but this resolution escaped both chambers without a word of debate. Even worse, the proposal passed on a voice vote, meaning legislators didn't have to state a public position on the measure. Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom, Jr., provided fodder for opponents in a prospective 2010 gubernatorial run, gaveling the measure through the Senate despite reports that six senators -- two more than constitutionally necessary -- requested a recorded vote.
To say the least, the measure's supporters could have done a better job on the public-relations end. Then again, the truth of the whole spectacle may well look something like this assessment by Senate Majority Leader Zeb Little, D-Cullman: "I can tell you 90 percent of the Senate is for this. I just wish they had the guts to vote how they really believe."
Now that would be a surprise.