The Alabama legislative session begins in just a couple of week with calls for the House Speaker to step down.
Rep Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, was indicted in October 2014 on 23 criminal counts of using his office for personal gain by soliciting gifts from lobbyists.
Earlier this week, the Alabama Republican Party asked Hubbard to step down as speaker.
Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan said in a statement: “The distractions of Representative Hubbard’s legal situation will make it extremely difficult for him to meet the demands of his role as Alabama Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
Hubbard shot back with a statement that read: “Lathan’s request is both ill-advised and premature”
Despite the fact that the Republican hierarchy wants Hubbard out, local republican house members fully support him.
“We should wait until the verdict’s in,” said Rep. David Sessions, R-Grand Bay. “That’s my position on it. I know he’s always done a good job and treated everyone that I’ve been around fairly.”
“We feel very confident that the speaker is on solid ground,” added Rep. Randy Davis, R-Daphne. “We felt that nothing has changed from a year ago and we are confident where the speaker is in this process.”
Hubbard was under indictment last year when lawmakers needed two special sessions after the regular session to pass a General Fund budget.
But supporters say Hubbard’s leadership can’t be blamed.
“It was not a distraction last year,” said Rep. Margie Wilcox. “The distraction was the lack of funds in the state of Alabama.”
Friday Hubbard’s attorneys asked a judge to move the trial until the fall. Prosecutors oppose the postponement.
The 2016 Legislative Session opens February 1.