- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard brought down the gavel to begin a legislative session that begins seven months before he goes to trial on ethics charges.

Republicans on Tuesday expressed continued support for Hubbard. But some Democrats questioned whether he could be an effective leader while under the legal cloud.

Decatur Rep. Micky Hammon says Hubbard has the respect and the support of legislators. Del Marsh, the Republican leader of the Alabama Senate, says he expects Hubbard will continue to be an efficient leader.

However, Montgomery Rep. Alvin Holmes, a Democrat, says he doesn’t think anyone could be an effective speaker while facing 23 felony ethics charges.

Hubbard is expected to go to trial in October on charges accusing him of using his public offices for personal gain.

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