Hubbard: ALGOP request to suspend Speaker role 'ill-advised, premature'

Hubbard: ALGOP request to suspend Speaker role 'ill-advised, premature'
ALGOP resolution
ALGOP resolution

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) is being asked to suspend his role as Alabama's House Speaker in a resolution passed Sunday by the ALGOP's Steering Committee.

ALGOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan said in a statement released Monday that the party reached out to Rep. Hubbard "numerous times" in an effort to meet with a "small group of GOP leaders to discuss our concerns." Lathan said Hubbard never responded to the requests.

While adding that Hubbard, who has yet to go to trial on 23 felony ethics charges, remains innocent, Lathan urged him to put the interests of the state first.

"The Alabama Republican Party strongly believes the needs of our state must be the first priority of our elected officials," Lathan said. "The GOP controlled legislature needs full time focused attention on the people's business. The distractions of Representative Hubbard's legal situation will make it extremely difficult for him to meet the demands of his role as Alabama Speaker of the House of Representatives."

Monday afternoon Hubbard issued a statement in response to the ALGOP's request:

"With several motions to dismiss yet to be ruled upon, and discussions of a continuance taking place in court just last week, Lathan's request is both ill-advised and premature, but this effort on her part is about something else entirely.  During last year's budget crisis, Lathan was pushing for a shutdown of state government, and when the Legislature did the responsible thing and funded essential taxpayer services, she and a small group of her followers became angry.  Her request is simply a symptom of lingering resentment against the leadership. The fact that Lathan's resolution was approved in a hastily called Sunday night telephone call with less than half the Steering Committee voting in favor shows she was desperate and lacked widespread support."

Alabama's House Minority Leader, Craig Ford (D-Gasden) called the resolution part of "an internal fight among Republicans," and said Democrats are focused on creating jobs and passing a lottery.

The ALGOP's resolution comes just days after two members of Hubbard's legal team withdrew from the case. A gag order has also been issued.

Hubbard's trial is set to begin in March and would coincide with the 2016 legislative session. It's likely Hubbard's trial will be postponed.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.