House Votes to Borrow $800 Million to Build New Prisons

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Politcal Reporter

On Thursday, April 28, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to pass Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s (R) Great State 2019 plan to borrow $800 million to build four massive new prisons, each housing over four thousand inmates. SB287 would green light Bentley’s plan to build four massive new prisons at a cost of $50 million a year for thirty years.

State Representative Tim Wadsworth (R-Arley) said in a statement, “Prior to Starting the 26th Legislative Day numerous legislators joined together to publicly oppose the $800 million prison bill. The bill proposes tearing down all existing prisons and building 4 brand new prisons and borrowing 100 percent of funds to build these prisons and then using tax dollars to pay for these prisons. This group of legislators including myself stand strong against this bill. We believe that it is fiscally irresponsible to go forward with this bill. No economic impact studies have been completed.”
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Henry’s Crusade to Impeach Bentley Has New Momentum after 23 Members Sign on Board

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, April 28, State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) successfully resurrected his effort to impeach embattled Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) when he announced that he had reached the 21 signatures necessary to reintroduce his impeachment resolutions against Bentley, who has been charged with misusing state resources while committing adultery with his top political aide and alleged misstress, Mrs. Rebekah Caldwell Mason

In addition to Ed Henry, Representatives: Isaac Whorton (R-Valley), David Sessions (R-Grand Bay), Mike Ball (R-Madison), Jim Patterson (R-Meridianville), Tommy Hanes (R-Bryant), Ritchie Whorton (R-Owens Cross Roads), Mike Holmes (R-Wetumpka), David Standridge (R-Oneonta), Barry Moore (R-Elba), Danny Crawford (R-Athens), Allen Farley (R-Pleasant Grove), Jack W. Williams (R-Georgetown), Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville), Craig Ford (D-Gadsden), Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), Margie Wilcox (R-Mobile), Mack Butler (R-Gadsden), Becky Nordgren (R-Gadsden), Phil Williams (R-Harvest), Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay), Reed Ingram (R-Montgomery), and Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham) have all signed the new impeachment resolution.
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PEEHIP Board Raises Health Insurance Premiums on Education Employees

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, April 27, the PEEHIP (Public Education Employees Health Insurance Program) board voted 7 to 6 to increase the monthly health insurance premiums for education worker and retirees insured by the plan.

Beginning on October 1, 2016 single plans will see a $15 a month rate increase. Family plans will be increased by $30 each month. A vote to utilize up to 10 percent of the PEEHIP Trust to offset the rate hikes was defeated on a 7 to 6 vote.
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State Seeks to Keep False Arguments Out of Hubbard Trial

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The State has filed a Supplemental Brief in support of its motions in limine in the felony public corruption trial of Speaker Mike Hubbard.

According to the Criminal Law Bulletin, Volume 46, Number 2. “Most commonly, motions in limine are used to strike at objectionable evidence that may be highly prejudicial. If the opponent waits until trial, and the evidence comes out of a witness’s mouth before the court can rule on an objection, a limiting or curative instruction may be insufficient to undo the damage.”
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The Artist Cher Nailed It Long Ago

 

By Jack Campbell

When recording artist Cher released the hit “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” in 1971, she never envisioned that song would characterize the leadership of the GOP in Alabama some 45 years later. Even the people who are not historically tuned in to current affairs realize our state Party is headed for a disastrous future, plagued by public officials who are tainted by greed, extramarital sex, thievery, and secret, backroom deals.
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The Myth About the Pension Crisis in Alabama

 

By David G. Bronner

Much ado has been made recently about a public pension crisis in Alabama and the need for reform. The groups and legislators who are clamoring for reform always neglect to mention two critically important facts: the Legislature has already reformed Alabama’s public pensions and there is no pension crisis in Alabama.

First, major pension reforms have already been enacted. In 2011 and 2012, the Alabama Legislature passed pension reform legislation designed to address the very issues that are now being touted as causing a crisis. These reforms were comprehensive and impacted current members (repeal of DROP and increasing employee contributions) and new members (increasing the retirement age and decreasing the benefits). These pension reforms tied with Pennsylvania’s as the most extensive in the nation and significantly reduced the state’s cost of benefits for Alabama’s education and public employees. The RSA is not protecting the status quo by objecting to another major overhaul of the system, but is instead trying to allow the reforms that were so recently enacted to continue to work.
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Dr. Robert Bentley is Nobody

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

Dr. Doctor Robert Bentley, governor of Alabama, is an embarrassment. He knows that, even as he combs his hair (what little there is) and gets ready every morning. He knows he’s a joke, even if he won’t admit it. And he won’t. He’s a joke.

But the good doctor governor could salvage part of his legacy if he’d do one thing: Expand Medicaid.

After months of groping Rebekah Mason, Bentley finds himself the laughingstock of Alabama. And that’s as it should be. He’s a laughingstock. Nobody takes him seriously. Nobody thinks he has anything to offer but a boob grab. And who wants a boob grab from Bentley? Bentley, must remember, a four-hour erection is dangerous, even for governors.
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Lawyers for Chief Say Complaints Are Political, Others Disagree

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY— At a media-packed press conference on Wednesday, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and his attorneys, called upon the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (“JIC”) to dismiss unfounded and politically motivated complaints filed against him by the Southern Poverty Law Center (“SPLC”), People for the American Way, the Human Rights Campaign, Ambrosia Starling, and others.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said the complaints filed against Chief Justice Moore were not about ethical misconduct, but instead, were an attack on his statements and administrative orders about the legal status of Alabama’s Sanctity of Marriage laws.
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Throwing Money At Prisons Won’t Solve The Problem

By Minority Rep. Leader Craig Ford

This week, the state House of Representatives will be taking up the massive prison bond legislation that Gov. Bentley and state leaders have made the centerpiece of their legislative agenda.

There’s no doubt our prison system has serious problems and, in cases like Tutwiler women’s prison, some are so old and in such bad shape that they do need to be rebuilt.
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Masons Update Ethics Forms

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Jon and Rebekah Caldwell Mason have updated their Ethics filings to, what appears to be, a more accurate view of their household income, and their involvement in the business world.

Statements of Economic Interest (SEI) are filed by State employees annually, and made public. These ethics forms are designed to show all financial interests that any State employee, or spouse might have.

Jon Mason had updated his forms earlier this month, but failed to fully report all income received by he and his wife, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
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