The bills removed funds from local governments and agencies at a time of economic hardship. The money from the three counties would then go into a large fund that could be spent by Sen. Gerald Dial, Rep. Richard Laird and Rep. DuWayne Bridges as they pleased. This is commonly known as a political “slush fund” and it is the wrong way to operate government. These legislators would be given legislative power (the ability to establish tax sources) and executive power (the ability to administer the funds).
Our Founding Fathers would recoil at this. It places too much power in the hands of three men. When the Republican Party ran candidates for the legislature, those candidates were supposed to eliminate this type of activity in Montgomery. In Randolph County, both political parties united to oppose this legislation. This was one of those rare occasions when everyone on both sides agreed this was bad legislation.
Asked to meet with local citizens, Dial and Laird ignored the requests. When a town-hall meeting was held, they failed to attend. This is not how democracy is supposed to work. Our legislators are not above the people. They should see themselves as servants of the people.
Bentley did the right thing. He vetoed the three bills. This took political courage on his part. The three local legislators may attempt to run their bills through again and get their colleagues to override these vetoes. However that turns out, I want to thank Bentley for restoring my confidence that there are still some good and honest people in our state government.