Lt Gov: Mend It or End It
We all know that since the Windom/Siegelman showdown in early 1999, that the office is no longer necessary. Let's either get rid of the office altogether or actually give the LG something to do. Either eliminate it and save Alabama taxpayers from subsidizing boredom or find a new way to get our money's worth from the office.
Several states don't have a Lieutenat Governor at all. NH, VT, TN, NJ, WY, OR, and AZ all don't have an LG and they seem to get by ok. "What happens when the governor has to leave office before his term is up?", you may ask. They just have another official take over. In some states it's the State Senate leader and in others it's the Secretary of State. But Alabamians can devise their own order of succession. In short, a LG is not necessary for a smooth transition if a governor leaves office early.
Or if we just have to have a Lieutenant Governor, let's at least give them something to do. It'd be naive to think that the State Senate will cede the power it gained in the 1999 coup back to the LG, but there's no reason not to give the office some power.
What about giving the LG the duties of the State Auditor? Many people, including the current state auditor Beth Chapman, have discussed eliminating the office. Why don't we just put the auditor's duties under the LG's purview. Since the LG is already elected independently of the governor, there is no reason to think that the LG wouldn't be any less independent of the governor's office than under the current system of the partisanly elected auditor.
Or if you can't go for that, then let's find some new role for the Lieutenant Governor. In Louisiana, the LG is in charge of tourism. Alabama certianly doesn't have the tourism industry that LA does (or at least did), but that's not a bad idea for starters. There is no reason why the LG couldn't be charged with tackling such an issue (or issues) to earn their paycheck.
Seeing the once omnipotent office of Alabama's Lieutenant Governor now impotently idling away their term yawing in the State Senate is depressing. It's like Willie Mays playing for the Mets or Johnny Unitas in a Chargers uniform. It's just unnatural.
It doesn't really matter to me what happens to the LG's office, as long as changes are made. Eliminate it. Merge it. Empower it. Just do something.