Flat Tax Boom for Rich, Bust for Poor, According to Report

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The idea of a flat tax is being championed by Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) and other senators as a measure to simplify the tax code and make the State more competitive without increasing the tax burden on the State’s working class. 

However, Carol Gundlach, policy analyst at Alabama Arise and her partner in this report, Chris Sanders, do not necessarily see it that way. In an analysis published this week, Gundlach says of the flat tax bill: “Alabamians struggling to make ends meet could have to pay State income tax on the first $100 they earn under a new flat tax.”
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Common Core Opponents Urge Senate Rules Committee to Debate Repeal Bill on Floor

 

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, April 29, the Senate Education Policy Committee narrowly gave a favorable report to Senate Bill 101 which would repeal Alabama’s controversial College and Career Ready Standard.  The controversial standards are aligned with Common Core and embrace unproven educational practices which critics claim are setting back a generation of our nation’s children.

The Alabama Foundation for Limited Government wrote in a statement, “THE ALABAMA STATE REPUBLICAN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE last year voted 409-1 to ask the legislature to STOP COMMON CORE to no avail. The National Party voted to do the same. Your corrupt Alabama Legislative leadership will not allow State Senator Rusty Glover’s Anti -Common Core bill to come to the floor for debate. Corruption in Alabama all the way to the classroom. Money drives common core and the Business Council of Alabama, is trying to derail our efforts. So…. Go Away BCA. Let the Alabama Legislature, which your PAC mostly elected, listen to the people and Stop Common Core. BCA, your members, all the way to the local Chambers of Commerce, should be ashamed.”  BCA, the Business Council of Alabama, has embraced the College and Career Standards as a step forward in preparing students for the workforce.
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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

EDUCATION MATTERS
By Larry Lee 

It was just a little snippet of news.  Just a few hundred words.  And while few Alabamians  probably saw it, it should have made headlines on the front page of every state newspaper and been the lead story on every TV news cast.

Because it was another glaring example of how our legislative leadership practices, “do as I say, not as I do.”

The article explained that Senate majority leader Del Marsh gave his chief of staff a $40,000 raise last year, an increase from $105,000 a year to $145,000.  That’s 38 percent.
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Legislature Passes Innovator Liability Legislation

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, April 28, the Alabama House of Representatives passed SB 80, which has already been passed by the Alabama Senate.  SB80 was sponsored by State Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster).  The legislation overturns the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision in Weeks v. Wyeth, which Sen. Ward called an outlier. 

It costs an enormous amount of money to test a potential new drug.  To get FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approval often involves animal trials and human trials with no guarantee that the FDA will give that approval.  Once approved the pharmaceutical company only has a few years to make that money back before those patents expire and every drug manufacturer is allowed to make generic versions of made brand-name manufacturers liable for injuries arising from their competitors’ generic copycat products.  The United States has a bizarre legal system that allows law firms to solicit current/former users of drugs/treatments in class action law suits claiming side effects (many of which are often known from the drug trials) and sue the drug company that in many cases has extended their lives.  Weeks v. Wyeth held the original drug company liable not just for side effects of the name brand drug they sold; but also for the side effects of the generic copies of their drug, even though they received none of that revenue and have no control over the manufacturing process by the generic drug maker.  SB80 overturns that precedent.
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Will Medical Marijuana Be Debated By Alabama Senate?

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, April 22, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Patient Safe Access Act narrowly received a favorable report from a Senate committee.

Now the question is will the Rules Committee ever allow the bill to be debated on the Senate floor.  Powerful Rules Committee Chairman Senator J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner has said that he opposes the bill and would prevent it from getting to the Senate floor.
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Legislature Passes Fostering Hope Scholarship Act

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the Fostering Hope Scholarship bill, SB157.  SB157 has already passed the Senate and is now headed to the Governor’s desk.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced in a statement that he supports the bill and will sign it.  Gov. Bentley wrote, “The Legislature has given final passage to SB157, establishing the Fostering Hope Scholarship. This program will offer children currently or formerly in Alabama’s Foster Care System the opportunity to receive a college education. We owe it to our children to give them every possible opportunity for a successful life, and this bill helps those in the foster care system prepare for success. I commend the Legislature, specifically bill sponsors Sen. Dick Brewbaker and Rep. Paul Lee, for passing this bill. After a full legal review, I intend to sign it into law.”
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Tax Sin or Tax Me: Is that the Question? (Opinion)

 

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) is expected to introduce a bill this week, that will offer the voters of Alabama an opportunity to decide on a lottery and the future of gaming in our State. 

Governor Bentley has been barnstorming the State, alerting voters on the dire budget crisis we face and presenting a revenue plan to plug the holes.

Both plans deserve serious consideration.
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Nice Guys Finish Last

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
By Steve Flowers

Recently, at a forum I was asked the question, “Which governor made a difference in Alabama politics?” The question caught me off guard because I really had not thought about that obvious inquiry. My knee-jerk reaction and answer to the insightful questioner was George Wallace and I gave a litany of reasons for my response. Later, after contemplation, I felt that my answer was probably correct. Wallace would be the appropriate choice, simply because he was governor so long. I prefaced my reply to the inquisitor with the caveat, “You know, I’m not as old as you might think.” Therefore, I qualified my answer with, “Let’s talk about the governors since 1954.”
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US Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Marriage Arguments

By Brandon Moseley
AlabamaPolitical Reporter

Tuesday, April 28, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments from attorneys on both sides of the gay marriage debate. At issue is whether or not it is constitutional for states, including Alabama, to issue marriage licenses only to heterosexual couples.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced on Facebook, “The US Supreme Court today hears arguments for and against state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. Alabama joined in an amicus brief supporting the right of states to define marriage as between one man and one woman.”
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Military Construction Bill Will be Considered by House

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, April 27, US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) announced that an appropriations bill that will fund upgrades to military bases in Alabama and improve veterans benefits has passed out of committee and comes before the full US House of Representatives this week.

Congresswoman Roby wrote to constituents, “This week the House will consider H.R. 2029, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This bill, which we passed out of Committee last week, includes much-needed funding for projects on our own military installations in Alabama and also for veterans benefits and programs.”
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