76 days and counting: Gov. Bentley impeachment process continues

76 days and counting: Gov. Bentley impeachment process continues

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - On April 5, Alabama state Rep. Ed Henry announced he would file articles of impeachment against Gov. Bentley. Seventy-six days have passed, and lawmakers have not yet begun the investigation of those articles.

The process has been slowed, in large part, because of a lack of rules. The Alabama Constitution, the longest in the US, is vague when it comes to impeachment. With no recent impeachment to draw from (the last coming in 1915) lawmakers were then forced to create a new set of guidelines.

Three weeks after Henry held his press conference, new rules for dealing with impeachment, which would send the articles to the House Judiciary Committee, were passed. Two days later, Henry received enough signatures to move the process forward.

Since then the articles have been in the hands of the Judicial Committee, which spent more than a month coming up with a process. Using the impeachment process for ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the federal government as templates, the new rules were finally created.

Then 71 days after Henry filed his articles, the House Judiciary Committee met for the first time. However, any work on what the articles alleged was delayed as the meeting focused on nailing down a procedure on how to move forward.

Lawmakers left, ready to re-adjourn after a sub-committee finds someone who could serve as special counsel.

Then, once that is done, lawmakers may begin to hear testimony.  However, questions on the validity of subpoenas and what to do with witnesses still leave issues to be worked out.

Copyright 2016. WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.