House votes unanimously for AlabamaCare, not ObamaCare

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday the members of the Alabama House of Representatives unanimously passed HB245.

In a vote of 92-0 the house passed legislation that would establish a statewide healthcare exchange.

HB245 is a response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

The Affordable Care Act mandates that all states must form their own insurance exchanges or fall under a system instituted by the federal government.
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Shelby Criticizes HUD Budget Request

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Senator Richard C. Shelby released a transcript of his remarks delivered in the Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.  Senator Shelby was critical of the Obama Administration’s $45 billion Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) fiscal year 2013 budget.  Federal spending has grown exponentially under President Barack H. Obama’s term while economic growth has been almost stagnant.  Shelby said that the Federal Debt has reached 70% of GDP, levels that were last seen in the Second World War.
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Sessions Says Senate Democrats Refusal to Address Budget Is Willful and Knowing Defiance of the Law

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

United States Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama said that Sunday, April 29th, will mark the three year anniversary of the last time the Democrat led Senate has passed any budget.  Sen. Sessions is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

Sen. Sessions said, “This Sunday marks exactly three years since the last time the Senate’s Democrat majority adopted a budget. For three years, in the midst of fiscal crisis, the party running the Senate refused to even attempt to produce their financial plan in willful and knowing defiance of the law. They have proven themselves unworthy to lead.”
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Campaign Finance, Election Reform Bill Filed in Senate

By Armon Drysdale

MONTGOMERY – When Reform Alabama laid out its legislative agenda in January, the organization listed election law reform as a top priority for 2012. After several months of research and collaboration, the group’s first such bill was filed Tuesday in the Alabama Senate.

Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, is sponsoring SB551, which Reform Alabama wrote in consultation with the offices of the secretary of state and the attorney general, as well as the Alabama Ethics Commission. The bill addresses two omitted issues regarding campaign finance laws, one of which has only recently come to light in the wake of a December court ruling regarding PAC-to-PAC transfers. SB551 would require all PACs receiving funds from other PACs for the purposes of get-out-the-vote operations to establish accounts separate from those used to fund candidates.
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Reader disgusted over Wheeler property

Dear Editor,

I just read this article about the Wheeler property in north Alabama and I am disgusted.

The Alabama Historical Commission is grossly incompetent and should be abolished. Their duties could be better served by the Conservation Department and the Archives and History. If the AHC will not open General Wheeler’s home to the general public, then the property should be given to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They can operate it and man it with volunteers as they do at Beauvoir  in Biloxi Miss. Wheeler was open to the public when it was given to the state in the late 90’s and has never been open to the public since. They have spent over ten million dollars of public money for absolutely no results. The AHC is poor mouthing again as they always do and punishing the public in order to extort more money from us. When is enough, enough? Please get rid of these people.
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Bill removes “ectopic pregnancy” from abortion definition

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY–A bill passed out of the legislature on Thursday removing the terminology “ectopic pregnancy” from the definition of abortion in the state of Alabama.

It also removes a requirement on physicians to require a determination of post-fertilization age of the unborn and limit it only to a pre-abortion case. It changes the requirement for reporting of fetal deaths and pregnancy terminations to probable post-fertilization age only.
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Bentley Announces FEMA Grant to Help Tornado Disaster Survivors

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, Governor Robert Bentley announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had awarded that state a $12.9 million Disaster Case Management Grant to help Alabamians continue the long-term recovery process from the April 2011 tornadoes.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said, “Since last year’s storms, we have worked continuously to help people across this state.  I remain encouraged by the strength and resiliency of the people of Alabama, and this grant will allow us to continue our efforts to help people rebuild their lives.”  “As more people complete their recovery, our communities can be restored stronger than ever.  We remain committed to using every resource we have available to help our state rebuild.”
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Bill Outlawing Synthetic Drugs Passes Legislature

By Brandon Moseley and Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Legislature gave final bipartisan passage today to a bill that outlaws the possession and sale of synthetic marijuana and other so-called designer drugs.  The bill was SB208 in the Senate and HB 158 in the House.  The Alabama law will be one of the strictest in the country when it is signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley (R).
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Bonner Announces Completion of Gulf Coast Claims Facility Review

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Congressman Jo Bonner (R) from Mobile issued a written statement following the release of the Audit of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.  Rep. Bonner said that the review “found no major inconsistencies within the GCCF’s claims operations.”

Rep. Bonner said that the review however, “did point out that Mr. Ken Feinberg’s claims facility suffered some communications failures and made mistakes in applying criteria to all claimants. The auditors determined that some 7,300 claims were “negatively affected” by GCCF decisions.  It says the GCCF is now working to resolve those claims which are estimated to be worth $64 million.  While the volume of the oil spill damage claims reviewed by the GCCF was historic in both number and geographical extent, that does not excuse any shortcomings of Mr. Feinberg’s claims system to adequately address all legitimate claims.”
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Ballot Access Bill Passes Senate Floor

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY–Thursday, a bill reducing the number of names of qualified electors’ signature required on a petition for third party or independent party candidates to get on the ballot by half passed the Senate Floor.

Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) sponsored bill SB15 reducing the percentage of required signatures from three to one and one-half percent of the qualified elector who cast ballots in the last general election for legislature or statewide office. Candidate are still required to fulfill all other requirements.
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