Roby Defends Vote On CRomnibus

December 24, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Some conservatives have criticized the Congress for passage of a long term Continuing Resolution (C.R.) that funded the government to the end of the year. Conservative radio pundits including: Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham argued loudly for a short term C.R. that funded the government only to February. They argued that a long term C.R. sacrificed the Republicans’ leverage over the Obama Administration.  U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R from Montgomery) voted for the Omnibus Continuing Resolution, H.R. 83, nicknamed “CROmnibus” by its friends and foes alike.
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State To Move Forward On Voter ID Law

December 24, 2014

By Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Secretary of State Jim Bennett recently said the State will move forward with implementing citizenship requirements in order to vote in Alabama.

The Alabama Legislature passed the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer Citizen Protection Act in 2011. This law requires a new voter to provide proof of citizenship before registration can be completed.

Bennett said, “Now that the US Senate has finally confirmed long-vacant Commissioner positions on the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), those officials are now in place to grant our request that all voter registration applicants supply documentation of US citizenship in accordance with State law.
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The Alabama Political Reporter Turns THREE!!!

December 23, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On December 7, 2011, the Alabama Political Reporter became a reality.  It has been three very exciting and event filled years for the editors and staff at the Alabama Political Reporter.

Since then, for five days a week, 52 weeks a year, we have covered legislative sessions, corruption scandals, trials, investigations, a Presidential election, a gubernatorial election, redistricting, tea parties, the major issues, legislative races, every competitive, statewide or modestly competitive congressional race in the State, as well as just about everything else under the Sun related to politics, in more depth and accuracy than any other news source in the State of Alabama.
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Alabama Constitutional Conservatives Hold Rally To Support Police

December 23, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

National protests over the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner turned violent on Saturday when New York Police officers Wenjian Liu, 32 and Rafael Ramos, 40 were assassinated by a gunman who posted online that he was targeting the police in retribution for the killings of Brown and Garner. Grand juries have cleared the police of any wrongdoing in the deaths of Garner and Brown.
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Byrne Opposes Obama Plan To Rate Colleges

December 23, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Friday, December 19, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose), a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s release of the framework for their college rating system.

Congressman Byrne said: “Do we really want to set higher education policy, and have students and their parents make their college plans, based upon a rating system devised by the same people that gave us ObamaCare and Healthcare.gov? This is another part of American life which the federal government has no business meddling in.”

Rep. Byrne said, “I want higher education to be affordable and accessible for all Americans, but imposing subjective ratings on colleges is not a productive way to achieve that goal. I intend to use my position on the House Education and the Workforce Committee to fight this tooth and nail.”

US Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement about the ratings. “As a nation, we have to make college more accessible and affordable and ensure that all students graduate with an education of real value. Our students deserve to know, before they enroll, that the schools they’ve chosen will deliver this value.  With the guidance of thousands of wise voices, we can develop a useful ratings system that will help more Americans realize the dream of a degree that unleashes their potential and opens doors to a better life.”

US Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell wrote, “Designing a new college ratings system is an important step in improving transparency, accountability, and equity in higher education. The public should know how students fare at institutions receiving federal student aid, and this performance should be considered when we assess our investments and set priorities.  We also need to create incentives for schools to accelerate progress toward the most important goals, like graduating low-income students and holding down costs – and shine a spotlight on schools that are effective in improving student success.  We’re working with everyone – students, parents, states, the higher education community, researchers and experts – to make sure we do this well.”

US Dept. of Ed. Deputy Under Secretary Jamienne Studley wrote, “In today’s world, college is not a luxury that only some Americans can afford to enjoy; it is an economic, civic and personal necessity for all Americans. Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy with a thriving middle class and critical to ensuring a strong democracy. That is why President Obama has set the course for the United States to once again lead the world in college attainment, as we did a generation ago.”

President Obama has directed the US Department of Education to develop and publish a new college ratings system by the 2015-16 school year. Schools will be rated on: how well they excel at enrolling students from all backgrounds, focus on maintaining affordability, and succeed at helping all students graduate.

According to the Dept. of Ed., the purposes of the ratings system are: to help colleges and universities measure, benchmark, and improve across shared principles of access, affordability, and outcomes, to provide better information about college value to students and families to support them as they search for select a college, to generate reliable, useful data that policymakers and the public can use to hold America’s colleges and universities accountable for key performance measures.

The first round of ratings will be limited to four year institutions. Predominantly two-year institutions like Junior Colleges and Community Colleges, and Graduate-degree-only and non-degree-granting institutions will not be included in the initial version of the ratings.

The President’s goal is to compare schools with similar missions, the Department will, at a minimum, have separate groupings for two-year and four-year institutions.  The Department is also exploring several other strategies for grouping institutions together for comparison purposes.

Metrics being considered are: percentage of students receiving Pell grants, expected family contribution (EFC) gaps, family income quintiles, the percentage of enrolled students who did not have a parent who attended college, average net price, completion rates, transfer rates, labor market success, short-term employment rates, long-term median earnings, graduate school attendance, and loan performance outcomes.

Congressman Bradley Byrne is a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.

 

Roby Grieving For Families Of Assassinated Children

December 23, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, December 16, US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) called the Taliban terrorist fighters in Pakistan who executed 132 children at their school “barbarous.”

Representative Roby said, “My heart is with the grieving families affected by the unconscionable Taliban attack on the Peshawar school today. We once again see how far these barbarous individuals are willing to go and just how much of a danger they are to peace and security. I pray that these families find comfort in this difficult time and that we never relent in working to defeat such evil.”
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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 23, 2014

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

Christmas time has always been one of my favorite holidays: it’s a time of giving to others; a time for visiting with family, some of whom we haven’t seen in a year or more; and, most importantly for me as a Christian, Christmas time is a time to honor and praise our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

This time of the year is always a wonderful one. Friends and family gather, remembering the miracle of Christmas, and remembering that this is a time of magic for the children. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child, especially one in that preschool to elementary school age range, when the mystery of Santa is still alive and well, is one of my favorite things! Their excitement and innocence brings pure joy to my heart.
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End the Violence and Embrace the Christmas Spirit

December 23, 2014

By Rep. Darrio Melton

Anyone who has turned on the news lately has probably had a difficult time getting into the holiday sprit.

From the protests across the country demanding justice for victims of violence, to the terrible news about young Hiawayi Robinson, to the shooting death of Auburn’s Jakell Mitchell, to the tragic deaths of two New York police officers–the Christmas spirit has been anything but overwhelming.

Through all this news, I’ve held my children a little tighter and hugged them a little longer. I’m sure you have, too.
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Hubbard Files Three Motions To Dismiss (Motions Provided)

December 22, 2014

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Last week, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard’s attorneys filed three motions with the court to have his 23 Felony indictments dismissed.

On December 19, Hubbard asked Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker III to dismiss the charges because he claims the Grand Jury was improperly empaneled, the Grand Jury exceeded its authority in regards to Deputy Attorney General Henry T. “Sonny” Reagan, and that the media had violated the State’s Grand Jury Secrecy Act.

In the first motion, Hubbard’s attorney J. Mark White pulled from the shelf the same arguments that Bill Baxley tried unsuccessfully to introduce in the Rep. Barry Moore case, stating that Attorney General Luther Strange did not have the authority to appoint a “Special Attorney General” to act on his behalf in the Grand Jury investigation of Speaker Hubbard.

(See Motion 1 here.)

In the Moore case, Baxley tired to convince Judge Walker that Attorney General Luther Strange did not have the authority to appoint W. Van Davis as his representative in the Lee Country investigation.

Judge Walker dismissed that argument saying, “The Court accepted an in camera document from the State, which supports the position that Mr. Davis was appointed by the Attorney General to assume oversight of a legislative corruption investigation on or around January 31st, 2013, as well as any criminal matters arising from that investigation. Furthermore, the letter informs Mr. Davis that the chief of the special prosecution division will report directly to him. These actions appear to be supported by the authority of sections 12-17-184(10), 12-17-216 and 36-15-15 of the Code of Alabama. A redacted copy of the letter which was filed under seal is attached to this order as Exhibit A.”

According to Alabama code, a District Attorney is required to, “go to any place in the State of Alabama and prosecute any case or cases, or work with any grand jury, when called upon to do so by the Attorney General or the Governor of the State of Alabama, and to attend sessions of courts and transact all of the duties of the district attorney in the courts whenever called upon by the Attorney General or the Governor to do so.”

So, it would appear that J. Mark White hopes that the same judge will see things differently when it comes to Hubbard’s Felony charges.

In the second motion, White argues that the 23 Felony charges against Hubbard should be dismissed because the Lee County Grand Jury exceeded its jurisdiction.

(See Motion 2 here.)

In this motion, Hubbard’s attorneys claim that Lee County was not the proper venue to subpoena documents related to Deputy Attorney General Reagan, who was allowed to resign from the Attorney General’s office after it was discovered that he had, “for a period of months, undisclosed communications with individuals affiliated with people indicted or under investigation by the Lee County Special Grand Jury. Reagan also took other action to impede or obstruct the investigation.”

In an inter-office memo, Strange told his staff that Reagan, ”Took action in his official capacity as a prosecutor that related to the Moore case, writing memos to staff and conducting business that related to the Moore prosecution. Mr. Reagan’s failure to recognize his own conflict of interests in that situation and to police his own actions was a betrayal of the duty of loyalty that he owed the State of Alabama and this Office. Mr. Reagan’s lack of candor with his colleagues and his attempt to undermine their prosecutorial efforts was, likewise, a betrayal of their trust, and yours.”

Hubbard’s attorneys claim that a subpoena of records involving an inter-office dispute between Reagan and white collar crimes chief Matt Hart, who is also a prosecutor in the Hubbard case, was not in the purview of the Lee County Grand Jury, but should have been filed in Montgomery County.

Lee County Circuit Court Judge Chris Hughes has previously heard a similar complaint and ruled the inter-office dispute had nothing to do with Reagan’s being subpoenaed.

In the third motion, Hubbard’s attorneys argue that he cannot receive a fair trial because media attention surrounding the case prior to Hubbard’s indictment was, “so pervasive, so extensive, so result-oriented, and so based on the preconceived notion of Hubbard’s guilt that prejudice to the fairness and integrity of the grand jury must be presumed.”

(See Motion 3 here.)

Neither the motions nor the evidence list the hundreds of thousands in advertising dollars that were spent by Hubbard’s campaign to paint his prosecution as a “witch hunt” or “politically motivated.” Hubbard’s attorneys suggest that there must be leaks to the media because there have been stories published in relation to the Grand Jury proceedings.

As readers of the Alabama Political Reporter will perhaps not find surprising, this publication and this writer are referred to numerous times in the motion, as well as in the 100 pages of “evidence.”

Under evidence such articles as these are listed:

Grand Jury Subpoenas Hubbard’s Records, December 3, 2012

Special Attorney General for Lee County Probe Identified, Oct. 28, 2013

Chief of Staff Seen with White-collar Defense Attorney in Lee County, Oct. 1, 2013

Marsh Testifies Six Hours Before Grand Jury; Collins Follows, Nov. 4, 2013

All of these and many more were published by the Alabama Political Reporter.

Hubbard’s attorneys fail to take into account that these articles are the result of actual news reporters tracking down stories by hitting the streets with shoe leather and determination.

Other articles such as editorials are given as evidence by Hubbard’s attorneys, as well as references to the political news television broadcast, The Voice of Alabama Politics and the “Honk If You Testified in Lee County” bumper sticker.

Many reporters are listed but, Bill Britt, John Archibald, Kyle Whitmire, Mike Cason, Kim Chandler, Susan Britt, and Brandon Moseley are the most prevalent.

Hubbard has asked that an evidentiary hearing be granted to examine, what they claim, were violations of the Grand Jury Secrecy Act.

(See motion evidence for all motions here.)

 

Sen. Sessions Asks, “Who is looking out for American workers?”

December 22, 2014

By Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Senator Jeff Sessions gave his thoughts recently on President Barack Obama’s Executive Amnesty plan, what it means for American workers and why Congress should block its implementation.

President Obama announced his plan for amnesty on November 20, 2014.  An estimated 5 million illegal immigrants will receive legal status and work permits under the President’s plan.  The President claims he had to take action due to House Republicans not allowing a vote on an immigration reform bill, which he believes would have passed the House with support from both parties.
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