Byrne Demands Answers on Benghazi

February 28, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, February 27, 2014 Representative Bradley Byrne (R) from Montrose announced that he has cosponsored House Resolution 36 to establish a House select Committee with the sole purpose of investigating the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Rep. Byrne said in a written statement, “The American people deserve answers to what happened at our consulate in Benghazi the night of September 11, 2012. The Administration has not clearly established what went wrong, nor have they defined steps to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again.”
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House Passes General Fund Budget

February 28, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In a Wednesday afternoon session, the Alabama House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2015 General Fund budget, House Bill 235, which goes into place on October 1.

Because of Alabama’s archaic budgeting practices, education has its own separate budget, with monies earmarked by the Alabama Constitution for both budgets. Matters unrelated to education are addressed in the General Fund. Most growth revenue is in the Education Trust Fund budget. The General Fund includes such things as: transportation, the Dept. of Corrections, State Law Enforcement, the Alabama Court System, the Legislature, the Governor’s office, and Alabama Medicaid.
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ASU Funding Cuts Become Focus of Higher Ed Day (w/video)

February 28, 2014

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

Yesterday was Higher Education Day at the State House, a day when students from colleges and universities across the State come together for a rally at the Capitol to lobby for their share of the Education Trust Fund budget.

Hundreds of students attended the event, with crowds filling not only the State House steps, but much of both Union Street and the hillside area across the way, in front of the Capitol building.
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Bill Merging Auditor and Public Examiner’s Offices Passes Out of Committee

February 28, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, February 19, House Bill 350 by sponsored by state Representative Ed Henry (R) from Decatur was passed out of the House Ways and Means for the General Fund Committee.

Rep. Henry told the committee. “This has actually been another learning experience working on this legislation…Took a rough piece of legislation and have tried to turn it into something that is a workable piece of legislation.”  Rep. Henry replaced the earlier version of HB 350 with a substitute.
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Senate Passes Welfare Reform Bills

February 28, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday the Alabama Senate passed stringent new requirements for persons receiving entitlements from the State of Alabama.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) from Anniston said on Facebook afterwards, “Tonight, Senate Republicans passed a package of common sense welfare reform bills.”

Sen. Marsh said, “ Drug testing for certain welfare applicants, work requirements for able-bodied food stamp recipients and requiring welfare applicants to submit job application before receiving benefits were among the bills.”
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Jefferson County Delegation Votes to Disburse $1.5 Million to Schools

February 28, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Jefferson County House Legislative Delegation met on Wednesday to discuss what to do with surplus funds that are earmarked for use by the Jefferson County Legislative delegation.

Jefferson County has an estimated 60,000 concealed carry permit holders.  Every year those citizens renew their permit.  $2.50 of that concealed carry permit is earmarked for the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation.

Historically, this money was used for staff, an office, and so members of the delegation can distribute checks to worthy causes in their districts.  Some legislators claim that the money was not fairly distributed in the past.  The office has been closed and the staff member has retired, but the funds continue to accrue in the account.  On Wednesday the delegation met to discuss what to do with all that money.
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There is Hope For Alabama: My Response to Rep. Alvin Holmes “Uncle Tom” Comments

February 28, 2014

By Tijuanna Adetunji

As Alabamians we have come too far to turn back now to the years of racial divisiveness.  Coretta Scott King said, “Segregation was wrong when it was forced by white people,” and that it is “still wrong when it is requested by black people.” I am not surprised that such request are still being made from the Alabama House floor like the one recently by Representative Alvin Holmes (D-78), that the U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas is an “Uncle Tom.”
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Beason’s Gun Rights Bill has Public Hearing (w/video)

February 27, 2014

By:Lee Hedgepeth

Alabama Political Reporter

 

Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on SB354, a bill that its sponsor, Gardendale Republican Senator Scott Beason, says is merely an extension and necessary addition to gun legislation passed by the legislature that he introduced last session.

 

The bill would provide that carrying a pistol in a vehicle without a permit be legal.

 

Senator Beason, who recently announced he will run for the US House of Representative seat vacated by the retiring Spencer Bachus of Vestavia Hills, explained that the bill just makes it the law in Alabama that no one will be required to “pay for their second amendment rights.”

 

While many Senators, including cosponsor Phil Williams expressed their support of the bill in general, they said that they would like to see certain “concerning” aspects of the legislation be amended, without changing the overall thrust of the bill.

 

Several lawmakers expressed reservations over some particular language in the bill that provided that, with the car and gun owner’s express permission, any citizen could be allowed to lawfully have the gun in the car, despite any convictions they may have.

 

Another concern expressed by committee members and those who testified was that a person in possession of a gun illegally in a car (due to felony convictions, etc.) could say that the gun was lawfully in the vehicle because of another passenger.

 

Beason said that any changes needed to clarify that that type of situation would not occur would be fine by him.

 

In the public hearing, all but one proponent of the bill were members of Bama Open Carry, a group devoted to second amendment protections. They pointed out something that recurred again and again in the meeting, that is the ever-present issue of a loss in pistol permit revenue that may occur from the legislation.

 

Because of there being no need for a concealed carry permit if the legislation were passed, some, including the Alabama Sheriffs’ Association, say that revenues from these types of permits would drop significantly at a time when local law enforcement budgets are already severely constrained.

 

While Senator Scott Beason acknowledged that there may be a decrease in revenue, he made clear that there should be no financial requirement on one’s second amendment rights, and that in many cases, fund from pistol permit sales go to things like “passing out anti-gun stickers across your districts,” which he views as a useless waste of taxpayer dollars.

 

Another issue a representative from the Sheriffs’ Association brought to the forefront was road rage. “I know I get it,” he said. “And you’ve got a gun, and I’ve got a gun.” Tempers may flare, and bullets may fly, he suggested. “They may give you a shot instead of a bird.”

 

Highlights of the hearing can be seen here.

 

The 17 cosponsors of Senator Beason’s legislation are Senators Allen, Glover, Whatley, Fielding, Smith, Bedford, Sanford, Scofield, Marsh, Holtzclaw, Pittman, Williams, Blackwell, Reed, Hightower, Bussman, and Holley.

 

 

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee include Chair Cam Ward, Vice-Chair Jerry Fielding, and Senators Taylor, Figures, Keahey, Orr, Smitherman, Whatley, Williams, and Reed.

Senator Singleton Plugs The V on Senate Floor (w/video)

February 27, 2014

By: Lee Hedgepeth

Alabama Political Reporter

 

Yesterday in the Senate floor, during a procedural filibuster of the day’s actions by the Republican super-majority, Democratic Senator Bobby Singleton plugged his appearance on this week’s episode of Alabama Political Reporter’s The Voice of Alabama Politics.

“I’m proud to say that I was on The V today, and you can see me on Sunday Morning, on the V, talkin’ about catfish.”

The video can be viewed here.

Senator Singleton also discussed a bill he is sponsoring to lower the penalties for some offenses related to the upcoming implementation of Alabama’s voter ID law. 

You can catch this week’s episode live on Sunday at 11:00 on ABC in both Montgomery and Birmingham.

As always, you can also watch this and every week’s episode online on our Youtube.

House Health Committee Gives Favorable Report to Pro-Life Bills

February 27, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representative Health Committee passed four pieces of Pro-Life legislation aimed at reducing the number of babies killed in abortions in Alabama. The legislation was prioritized by House Health Committee Chairman Jim McClendon (R) from Springville.

HB 490, the Fetal Heartbeat Act, is sponsored by state Representative Mary Sue McClurkin (R) from Indian Springs.  Rep. McClurkin said that the legislation, “Would make it unlawful for a physician to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman if a heartbeat is detected on an unborn child.”  The bill also requires that abortion clinic keep documentation be kept showing that the fetal heartbeat test was performed.
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