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Committee head to put Bible class on agenda

By M.J. Ellington
DAILY Staff Writer

mjellington@decaturdaily.com (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — A legislator who prefiled a bill to allow Bible courses in state high schools will chair the House committee that determines which bills the full House votes on each day.

Speaker of the House Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, announced the appointment of Rep. Ken Guin, D-Carbon Hill, as the new Rules Committee chairman in a memo to House members. Guin's appointment came after longtime rules chairman Rep. Jack Venable, D-Tallassee, died of leukemia in November.

The Rules Committee determines which of the hundreds of bills introduced in the House each year actually make it to the House floor for a vote. Each day the Legislature is in session, the committee sets items on the calendar for the day.

Rep. Tommy Carter, D-Elkmont, chaired the Rules Committee for 12 years. Carter said the rules chair wields power, but also takes heat from people pushing to get a vote for their bill.

"Everybody wants on the agenda," Carter said. "It can get real hectic, especially in the last day or two of a session."

Hammett also appointed Rep. Neal Morrison, D-Cullman, to chair the Special Order Calendar's subcommittee.

The subcommittee makes recommendations to the Rules Committee about the order in which the House takes up the bills each day.

Teaching the Bible

Guin prefiled his Bible as literature bill for the 2006 session Thursday. He said it gives local boards of education authority to offer it as an elective in grades nine through 12 and to specify that the course use the textbook, "The Bible and Its Influence," and its supporting teaching materials.

Bible Literacy Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in Fairfax, Va., published the book as a way to teach students the influence of the Bible on civilization in a way that supporters say does not prompt a legal fight.

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