Proposed Alabama legislative rules could shorten debate time

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Republicans in the Alabama Legislature have proposed rules that would curtail the ability of Democrats to temporarily slow down debate on bills pushed by the GOP majority.

Proposed House rules end a longstanding practice of allowing two hours of debate on the special order calendar listing what bills will get floor votes that day. The speaker would decide the time allowed.

House Democrats are concerned about changes aimed at speeding debate.

Minority Leader Anthony Daniels said it further "reduces our ability to have our voices heard."

Assistant Minority Leader Merika Coleman said better laws are produced when both sides work together.

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon and Rules Chairman Mike Jones issued a statement saying changes are being proposed to "encourage the deliberative process."

Lawmakers begin their organizational session Tuesday.

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