A bill reforming the Birmingham Water Works Board was killed Thursday, the final day of the legislative session. The House sponsor, state Rep. Paul DeMarco (R-Homewood), accused lawmakers on the House Rules Committee of caving in to the special interests. "Both Republicans and Democrats, instead of looking out for the people ... put money and the lobbyists first. It's a shame, it's a sad day." The bill would have made several changes, including expanding the board to give representation to areas outside Birmingham, and requiring public notice for hearings on rate hikes. The bill was strongly opposed by the city of Birmingham, which currently controls all appointments to the board. It was also opposed by the board itself. Both entities spent at least $360,000 dollars on lobbyists to defeat the bill. "The board used ratepayer dollars, to hire lobbyists, to kill a bill to reform the board," said DeMarco. "If I were a ratepayer, I'd be sick."
Posted April 3rd, 2014 @ 6:07pm