DeMarco Prefiles Legislation Requiring State to Disclose Landholdings and Facilities

Staff Report

From the office of Rep. Paul DeMarco

MONTGOMERY – In a continuing effort to bring unprecedented transparency and accountability to government, Rep. Paul DeMarco (R – Homewood) on Wednesday announced he has pre-filed legislation requiring the state to maintain a database disclosing all landholdings and property it owns or leases.

“This legislation will bring an additional measure of transparency to state government by allowing taxpayers to instantly see the property, buildings, structures and facilities that their tax dollars are funding,” DeMarco said.  “Easy access to this information will help ensure that the state is being run in a lean and frugal manner, that favoritism is not being shown to particular landlords and property owners, and that we are effectively using the facilities that we paid for.”
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UPDATE 2010: ALGOP Finance Chairman Pays Visit to Poarch Creek Indians

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Update: This story was pulled down for a few hours to double check facts. We are determined our facts are accurate.

Senator Marsh office’s has said that we did not give Mr. Marsh a chance to respond before printing to story. However, his office was contacted on Tuesday morning and given the details of the story. Derek Trotter responded on Tuesday at 11:16 Trotter sent this text message:
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Armistead Said that Vance Supports Obama

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party Bill Armistead, responded by written statement to Judge Vance’s (D) press conference announcing that several jurists of both political parties have endorsed him in the race for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court over former Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) from Gallant.

Chairman Armistead said, “When the Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party and former Democrat officeholders endorse a Democrat for office it’s hardly news. I think the endorsement that most Alabamians are interested in is who Judge Vance has endorsed – President  Barack Obama.  Judge Vance and his wife, Joyce, have endorsed Obama for President by sending him thousands of dollars in campaign donations.  And, of course President Obama is a supporter of the Vances, as was demonstrated when he named Joyce Vance as the U.S. Attorney for North Alabama. Those two actions speak volumes about what kind of Chief Justice Bob Vance would be.”
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Bentley Encourages Alabamians to Assist Victims of Hurricane Sandy

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The largest Hurricane in the Atlantic in recorded history plowed into some of the most densely populated communities in this country dumping storm surge, massive rain fall, tremendous wind, and further inland a massive blizzard. New York City and New Jersey are flooded, Maryland and West Virginia are digging out from a blizzard and severe winds have affected communities as far away as Chicago where 60 mph winds are driving 22’ waves on the Great Lakes. 50 Americans are reported killed from the storm and that number is likely to climb as first responders are able to search flooded homes.
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Amendment Four: The Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

By Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford 

The old adage “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” perfectly sums up Amendment 4, on the ballot this Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The text on the general election ballot says Amendment 4 will remove racist language in the state constitution that requires schools to be segregated. It is true the amendment will remove some very nasty and sad racist language.  What the ballot language does not say is that Amendment 4 will also reaffirm some of the most racist and sad parts of the state constitution at the same time. The good intentions of some who want to get rid of our racist past have now created a situation where voters could actually reaffirm some of the worst aspects of our state constitution.

If you vote “yes” on Amendment 4, you will be voting to affirm this statement: “…nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at the public expense.” You read that right, voting “yes” on Amendment 4 means you affirm that children do not have the right to an education in Alabama.

To understand how we got to this backward place, where an amendment says one thing and does another, you need to know a little history and a lesson in how the statehouse works.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation in education was unconstitutional in the landmark decision of Brown vs. Board of Education. The following year, as a response to the decision, the Alabama Legislature and voters approved Amendment 111 to the state constitution.

There are three paragraphs in Amendment 111. The first eliminated the longstanding right to an education, the second facilitated the founding of private segregation academies, and the third demanded the segregation of students. The thinking went if Alabama was forced to integrate, then the state would blow up the public school system, as it existed then.  

Amendment 111 was found to violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by the Supreme Court and was never implemented. It has been sitting there in the state constitution as an empty relic of racial strife and discrimination.

Back in 2004, a measure went before voters to eliminate the three paragraphs of Amendment 111. But after Judge Roy Moore and other conspiracy theorists wrongly said it was a back door attempt at raising taxes through the courts, it went down in a narrow defeat to the embarrassment of us all. 

The taxation issue is ridiculous. The judiciary does not control taxes or set budgets, and the state Supreme Court has stated it would never try and do so.

Last year, another measure was before the Legislature that would have eliminated all three paragraphs of Amendment 111. But after some last minute maneuvering by the Republican supermajority, only the last paragraph was struck and the first two were left intact. That is why when voters say “yes” to Amendment 4, they will in fact be voting to reaffirm that children have no right to an education in Alabama. We know now the old 1950s language means nothing, but it is potentially very dangerous if voters reaffirm there is no right to an education in 2012.

I believe Alabama children must have the right to a public education. As it turns out, so do the vast majority of Alabamians with a recent statewide poll showing 92 percent believe children should have the right to an education at the public expense.

It is only common sense – children need to go to school because our state will rise or fall on how well we educate them. Who would question that children should have the right to an education? Yet, that is exactly what we’ll be doing if we vote “yes”.

If the Republicans who control the Legislature are serious about eliminating racist language, they will bring up a clean bill that gets rid of all three paragraphs and that finally rids us of that ugly relic of Alabama history. If they don’t, then something else may be at issue.

I strongly encourage every voter who cares about children and education to vote “NO” on Amendment 4.

We’ve already got enough bad paving stones in our antiquated and ridiculous state constitution.

Senator Roger Bedford is a Democrat from Russellville.  He has served in the Alabama Senate since 1982.  In 2010, Senator Bedford was elected Senate Minority Leader by the Senate Democratic Caucus.

 

Why I Support Amendment 4

By Sen. Cam Ward

Election Day is almost upon us and there are many important races to be decided, both nationally and locally. As a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and an Alabama elector for Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan, I am concentrating on the outcome of the presidential race – and polling shows “Mittmentum” is real.

While there are very few contested races in our state this year, there is quite an effort to win county and court house races at the local level. There is also the issue of amendments to our state constitution.
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House Minority Leader Craig Ford to Propose 10 Percent Pay Increase for Educators, State Employees and Retirees

By House Minority Leader Craig Ford

Montgomery, AL – House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) announced today that he is sponsoring legislation to give a 10 percent pay increase to teachers, education support personnel, state employees, and retirees over the next two years. Ford said he is currently having the legislation drafted and expects to file it within the next week or two.

“Educators, state employees, and retirees have not had a cost-of-living pay increase since before the recession began,” said Rep. Ford. “The cost of living for educators, retirees, and state employees has increased by 10 percent since their last pay increase. But this pay increase will also help recruit quality teachers and be a boost for the statewide economy.”
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Senate Leader Urges Passage of Amendments Proposed by Constitution Revision Commission

Staff Report

Future efforts of Revision Commission could be jeopardized if amendments aren’t passed, Marsh says

Press Release

MONTGOMERY – The sponsor of a resolution that created a Constitution Revision Commission today encouraged voters to pass Constitutional Amendments 4, 9 and 10, saying the future work of the Commission could be jeopardized if the amendments fail to pass.

“We’ve all heard criticisms about the outdated and out-of-place provisions in Alabama’s Constitution and now voters have the opportunity to address these issues,” Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said. “The Revision Commission has been working for more than a year to review portions on the Constitution and present amendments that will clean up and modify the old and unnecessary portions of the state’s governing document.”
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Real Hope for America

Staff Report

From the office of Bill Armistead, Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party

On Tuesday, November 6th, Alabama voters will join other voters across the country as they head to their polling place to cast their ballot to elect the next President of the United States. I’ve lived through many elections, and have seen many Presidents come and go, but I can honestly say that this is the most important presidential election in the history of our nation.
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Chilton County Hospital to Close

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Rural hospitals have really felt the impact of the economic downturn that has hit the state of Alabama (and the country as a whole) since early 2008.  Many rural hospitals are struggling to retain doctors and stay open.  The latest casualty is the Chilton County Hospital which announced its closing on Monday.

Rep. Kurt Wallace (R) from Maplesville wrote on Facebook, “Many of you know this by now…but this is a really sad day for Chilton County. The notice went out today that the Chilton County hospital is being closed. There have been literally dozens of people working night and day to keep the doors open. Senator Cam Ward and myself have been working with the Governor’s staff to do anything we could to keep it open. The Chilton County Hospital Board has worked tirelessly to keep it open. But, unfortunately our efforts were not enough. I had conversations with the Director of Alabama Department of Public Health, the Director of the C.O.N. board, and the Governor’s staff today. I am confident that in the near future we will be re-opening the hospital. Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way we want them to. Please keep the hospital staff in your prayers. Many families will be adversely affected by the events of this day.”
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