Jones to chair powerful House Rules Committee [updated]

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, will have the second most powerful job in the Alabama House of Representatives as a result of changes made in Montgomery this week.

On Monday, State Rep. Alan Boothe, R – Troy, announced that he will not seek re-election to the District 89 legislative seat that he has held since 1998 and that he is stepping down as chairman of the House Rules Committee so that someone who will serve in the next quadrennium may gather needed experience in the post.

On Wednesday, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, tapped Jones to serve as Rules chairman.

It is one of the most powerful positions in state government, both former Speaker Seth Hammett and current Clerk of the House Jeff Woodard agreed.

“That position is part of the Speaker’s primary leadership team,” Woodard said. “The Rules Committee sets the agenda for the bills that are considered. As chairman, he has a great deal of influence over bills that get on the calendars.”

Woodard explained that the Rules chairman also coordinates the movement of resolutions through the legislature.

“That includes congratulatory resolutions, as well as those directing Congress to take a certain position,” he said. “It is a very important and influential job.”

Former Speaker Hammett said the chairmanship is the second most powerful job in the House.

“The responsibility of the Rules chairman are very clearly spelled out,” he said. “He determines which bills are to be considered on any legislative day. The Speaker will tell him the first couple of things he wants on the special order calendar. After that, the Rules chairman has great latitude to determine which other bills are considered on any given day.”

Hammett described the position as a funnel through which legislation must pass in order to be approved.

“Thousands of bills get introduced each year,” Hammett said. “Only a few hundred actually get a favorable review out of committee. The Rules Committee’s selections are the few dozen that are ever considered by the House. So you get to pick which ones are to be voted upon. It is a very powerful position.”

In making the appointment, McCutcheon praised Jones’ handling of impeachment proceedings about former Gov. Robert Bentley.

“Mike Jones was given a difficult and delicate task when he chaired the Bentley Impeachment Committee, and he won universal praise from his colleagues throughout the process,” McCutcheon said. “The attention to detail and fairness that he demonstrated and the deep respect that he earned from members on both sides of the aisle are exactly what we need in a House Rules Committee chairman, so I am proud to make this appointment.”

Jones was elected to the Alabama House representing District 92, which covers portions of Covington, Escambia, and Coffee counties, in 2010 and has chaired the House Judiciary Committee since 2015. He will relinquish the Judiciary Committee gavel in order to head the Rules Committee.

“I deeply appreciate the confidence that the Speaker has placed in me and will work hard to fulfill the duties that the job entails to the best of my abilities,” Jones said. “As Rules Committee chairman, members across the political spectrum will find that I have an open door and an open mind toward issues, bills, and resolutions that they consider important.”

Jones operates a private law practice in Andalusia, where he served as a city council member from 2000 – 2008 and as mayor pro tem from 2004 – 2008. He has also presided as a municipal court judge in Andalusia from 2008 to the present.

The family law section of the Alabama State Bar selected him as “Lawyer of the Year” in 2016, and Lurleen B. Wallace Community College awarded him its “Outstanding Alumnus” honor earlier this year.

He and his wife, Kathy, have two daughters, Olivia and Sophia.