By Benjamin Bullard
The Cullman Times
Cullman-area legislators welcomed news Thursday that Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) had named Republican Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Capshaw chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee in the Alabama House of Representatives.
McCutcheon, who’s served in the House since 2006, fills a seat left vacant by former Rules chair Blaine Galliher of Gadsden, who left the legislature to join Gov. Robert Bentley’s administration as legislative director earlier this year. McCutcheon’s legislative district lies within Limestone and Madison counties.
Ala. Rep. Mac Buttram (R-Cullman) lauded the decision Thursday, saying McCutcheon has never let him down through a friendship that’s lasted more than 20 years.
“I think it’s a great appointment,” Buttram said. “I’ve known Mac since 1988 or so, when I lived in Huntsville. I was police chaplain, and he was a detective in Huntsville, and I think the world of him. He’s a great choice who’s respected across the board. I think even the Democrats in the legislature would say he’s a good choice.”
McCutcheon worked in law enforcement in the Huntsville area for 25 years before being elected to the legislature. He has served on the House Ways and Means-General Fund Committee, and the Utilities and Infrastructure Committee. He also chaired the Transportation Committee on which Buttram sits.
Like Buttram, House Rep. Jeremy Oden (R-Eva) agreed that McCutcheon is the right person to fill the role.
“It’s great; there’s no better choice,” Oden said Thursday. “Mac is one of the best guys I know. He’s very considerate, and very well liked among all the members. The Speaker could not have chosen anyone better.”
The 16-member Rules Committee controls whether proposed legislation may reach the House floor, making McCutcheon’s position especially important.
“Through a committee vote, the Rules Committee decides on which bills come to the floor of the House, that committee sets the calendar,” Buttram explained.
“If there’s something that the Rules chair doesn’t want to come up, he can keep it from coming up. If there’s something that the Speaker, or the governor, doesn’t want to come up, that’s also one of the stopping places for it. That’s why it’s so powerful — because nothing can come to the floor unless it comes through the Rules Committee.”
Cullman-area legislator Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) could not be reached for comment by deadline for this article.
*Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.
* The Associated Press contributed to this report.