And if it does?
Some things are fairly certain. For example, it will become less likely that any effort to bring in casino gambling or a state lottery will be successful. There may be a push for a statewide vote on a bingo/lottery initiative, but getting it through a Republican Legislature will be difficult.
Also, there will be less of a chance that the state sales tax on groceries will be repealed and replaced with some measure to make up what is lost by raising taxes of the well-to-do. Republicans have shown no stomach for this in the past. If they take control of Goat Hill, it will be dead on arrival.
With the GOP in control, the Alabama Ethics Commission might finally get subpoena powers. However, ethics reform as a campaign issue tends to die once the election is settled.
Beyond that, not much is likely to change because of the system we have allowed legislators to impose upon us.
First, Alabamians and politicians have created conditions that have allowed lobbying groups — the Alabama Education Association, the Business Council of Alabama, and the Alabama Farmers Federation — to control legislative agendas and the votes to get them passed. This will not change, no matter which party is in power.
Second, because the state’s 1901 constitution requires that three-fifths of the lawmakers must give their approval for a bill to be debated and brought up for a vote if the state budget has not passed, it will still be hard to get legislation passed if a majority is slim. Although this can be circumvented by mutual agreement in many cases, with a new majority such agreement will be less likely. Observers are talking about some sort of coalition government forming in the Legislature, but don’t hold your breath on that one.
So, what is all the fuss about? Remember, the state Legislature is supposed to redraw the state’s congressional districts before the 2012 election, and before the 2014 election the state’s House and Senate districts are to be redrawn. The party that controls the Legislature gets to do the redrawing. And the party that does the redrawing can tweak district lines to favor their constituencies.
That is reason enough to want to win. But will it bring change?