Effort to repeal Ala. immigration law likely to fail

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Several Facebook groups have surfaced aimed at spreading the word on repealing Alabama's toughest-in-the-nation immigration law, known as HB56.

But repealing a law in Alabama is easier said than done. Only the legislature has that ability.

"Yes it would still have to go through the constitutional requirements of three readings in each house and that's a minimum of five days" said Pat Harris, Secretary of the Alabama Senate.

According to Harris, the process for repealing or changing an act is the same as passing a bill into law. "It takes a minimum of five days to pass a bill so it has to go through the same process yes."

Alabama's constitution doesn't allow for recall or referendums to change state law.

State Sen. Billy Beasley (D – Clayton) has proposed a bill for the 2012 legislative session, aimed at repealing the immigration law. He says he hopes his bill gets taken seriously because he says the state's agriculture business has been hurt the most by the law.

"We've got to work out a way to provide a labor force for these particular industries in Alabama" Beasley said.

Members of the Alabama GOP, including the governor, have called for changes to the legislation but none have called for an outright repeal.

Rep. Mike Hubbard (R – Auburn), Alabama's Speaker of the House has said on numerous occasions that he is not opposed to changes to the law, but that a repeal and anything that would weaken it are off the table.

"We've said from the beginning there may need to be some tweaks made to it" Hubbard said in a recent interview. "We do that on legislation all the time."

Harris, the non-partisan Secretary of the Senate, echoed Hubbard's line. Harris said that during the many years he's worked in the Alabama State House, he's seen bills, acts, and laws changed for a variety of reasons.

Harris said "As laws are passed and you begin to realize the consequences of those, of that new statute, what those consequences are you may want to come back and repeal or change certain aspects of that."

He continued that changes are made to pieces of legislation during every regular session. He said changes are."

He continued that changes are made to pieces of legislation during every regular session. He said changes are made to the most controversial pieces of legislation as well as the most benign and reiterated that people shouldn't read too closely into them.

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