SUMMARY: Poole did not vote for a proposed state constitutional amendment intended to block key parts of the federal act, but said he does not know yet whether he supports the health care changes.
ANALYSIS: Rep. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, introduced an amendment to the Alabama Constitution this past legislative session to exempt Alabamians from being compelled to participate in any health care system. One part of the new health care law would require most Americans to have health insurance beginning in 2014.
After several days of talks and a filibuster, Beason’s bill passed the Senate 23-8 with four senators, including Poole, not voting on April 1.
Since all constitutional amendments must be approved by voters, Allen said it would have allowed Alabamians to express their voice on the federal health car law.
“Phil had the opportunity to vote with the people, and he didn’t. He took a walk,” Allen said.
Yet there is no public documentation of Poole supporting the federal health care measure. Poole said he has not read the entire bill to decide whether he supports it.
Poole said the state amendment was irrelevant. It’s long been legal precedent that federal laws trump state law, and the federal health care reform has nothing to do with the issues confronting state senators, he said.
“What (Beason’s) bill does is nothing,” Poole said. “It’s an old Republican trick to get some sort of hot button issue on the ballot.”
The ad claims Poole wasn’t there for the vote, which he denies.
After passage in the Senate, the proposed amendment was assigned to a House committee where it remained till the end of the legislative session.