Link HT: Turnbow
MONTGOMERY - A Huntsville lawmaker admitted Wednesday he voted for absent House members to give a bill to remove the state sales tax on food the margin it needed to pass Tuesday.
But Rep. Randy Hinshaw, D-Meridianville, said he was doing only what was best for his House district.
"I'm here to represent my district, and cutting sales taxes on groceries is in the interest of my district," he said.
Hinshaw declined to say how many machines he voted or which members he voted for.
"I voted some members' machines around me," he said. "It's commonplace when Rule 32 is not in place. We vote other people's machines."
House Rule 32 requires that a member vote only his or her electronic voting machine.
The rule was invoked at the start of debate Tuesday by Rep. Jack Williams, R-Birmingham, but surprisingly, shortly before the final vote was taken, Williams asked that it be lifted.
The House then voted 63-38 for the proposed constitutional amendment, which also would eliminate Alabama taxpayers' federal income tax deduction to make up for the lost sales tax revenue.
"When Rule 32 came off ... then you had all these (absent) people voting (for the bill)," said Hubbard. "You've had Thad McClammy (D-Montgomery), who was having surgery, voted. Duwayne Bridges (R-Valley), who was on a trade mission in Korea. Democrat Randy Hinshaw gets up and goes over and votes his (Bridges') machine."