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In Case You Missed It

Trip Pittman addresses St. Clair County Republicans

Brandon Moseley



By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, June 15, 2017, US Senate Candidate Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) was in Pell City addressing the St. Clair County Republican Executive Committee and friends.

State Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) introduced State Senator Pittman (R-Montrose). Sen. McClendon said, “We have worked together for 9 years. Trip is probably the most fiscally conservative legislator we have in Montgomery.”


Sen. Trip Pittman said, “It is great to be with you, people who care about our country and our state.” It is an honor to serve with Jim in the legislature.”

Pittman said, “There is not a bigger issue than health. The sector is sixteen percent of our GDP.”

Pittman said, “I believe in term limits. Every year that I have been in Montgomery I have introduced term limits and I have decided to lead by example so I will not run for State Senate again. I first ran when then State Senator Bradley Byrne became Chancellor of the State’s two year college system and so I was first elected in a Special Election.”

Pittman said: “I wanted to run for US Senate when the special election was announced but Senator Del Marsh is a very dear friend. I was not going to run against him; but then on the last day of qualifying he announced that he was not going to run so I announced that afternoon; because I believe that the people of Alabama needed another choice.”

Pittman said that he was born in Birmingham and has a farm in Blount County. He spent most of his life except for four years at the University of Alabama in south Alabama. Pittman said that his father had a construction equipment company and his grandfather had an equipment company. After a few years of selling equipment for another company he started his own heavy equipment dealership.

Pittman and his wife have three grown children.

Pittman said that he spent the first part of his life starting his business and raising a family. While traveling by plane in 2007 to view some equipment his airplane caught fire and then crashed. Pittman thought then that he was going to die; but survived the crash. After spending nine days in the hospital, Pittman asked himself what he was going to do with the rest of his life. God kept me alive for a reason. “I decided I was going to run for public office.”

When Sen. Byrne stepped down Pittman ran even though more veteran politicians were in the race. Pittman won the Special Election to finish Byrne’s term; then has won two terms of his own.

Pittman said that the family is under attack because when you tear down the family you tear down the country.

Pittman said he served on the planning and zoning board in Baldwin County.

Pittman also cited his military experience with the Alabama National Guard.

In the Legislature he said he helped passed the toughest anti-illegal immigration law in the country but unfortunately the Supreme Court overturned much of it.

Pittman said, “I love this country I love this State. We need to preserve the free enterprise system. It is the best system for people to rise and the best way for people that work. It is also the best system for people that create. A debate that has to be made to educate young people about the advantage of the free enterprise system. You can compare two island: Cuba versus Taiwan and compare North Korea versus South Korea.”

Pittman added however that “Liberty requires personal responsibility.” If people don’t make the right decisions you have to pass more laws and spend more money on the State to enforce that.

In the Legislature, Pittman said that he fought to protect education and not let the General Fund take resources away from education.

Pittman said that people that do not work are never happy because they have no self-respect no matter how much stuff we give them.

Sen. Pittman warned that, “We are running almost $trillion deficits. That is unsustainable. Balancing the budget is not going to be easy. We have become dependent on that deficit spending almost like a drug addict. We need to get our free enterprise system going. We neeed the free enterprise combined with personal responsibility.”

On military policy, Pittman said that we have to be very concerned about getting involved in these long ground operations. We have tried nation building and that has not worked so well. I do not believe that we should send American troops into extended conflicts again without a declaration of war.

Pittman said that in the Alabama Senate, “I have been there balancing budgets. We have had to make cuts. They weren’t always popular.” Pittman said that he supported the Rolling Reserve Act, I fought Obamacare, I fought the expansion of Medicaid (it undermines the work ethic), and I fought illegal immigration. “There is a reason there is a naturalization process.” Pittman said that he was opposed to sanctuary cities and said that the law needs to be enforced everywhere equally.

Pittman warned, “There is a political revolution going on and it could become something a whole lot worse. I am digging a fox hole and I am not backing up.” Pittman said that he is running for US Senate because, “You can’t solve the problems that we have without being in Washington.” Pittman added, ”I don’t have all that Washington money.”

Pittman emphasized, “I like Jeff Sessions and I support Jeff Sessions. This is a unique opportunity for the people of Alabama to elect a proven conservative.” Because this is a special election turnout will be low so the people who go to the polls are going to be more informed. They are going to be passionate and not just vote on name recognition. “This is a great opportunity to get someone who is more conservative. I appreciate your vote and your consideration for your vote on August 15.”

St. Clair County Republican Party Chairman Lance Bell said that there is going to be another luncheon meeting in July with another Senate candidate and that, “I talked with two of the candidates for Governor.” Bell said that there would be more meet the candidate meetings as well as a gubernatorial debate in April.

The special major party primaries for US Senate are on August 15.  The Special General Election will be on December 12, 2017.


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House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley



By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.

The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.


Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”

Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.

The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.

Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.

Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.

The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.

Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.

The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.

Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.

In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.

SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.

Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”

State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”

The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.

The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.

The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.

The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.

Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.

SB185 passed 101-0.

Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.

Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1  for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.

SB215 passed the House 87-0.

The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.

State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.

SB231 passed 87-2.

The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.

The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.

The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.

Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.

Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.

Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.


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Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday

Sam Mattison



By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.

Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.


Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.

The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.

Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.

Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.

Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.

Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.

Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.

Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.

The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.

Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.

It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.

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In Case You Missed It

Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor

Sam Mattison



By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.

The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.


Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.

Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.

Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.

Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)

Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.

Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.

The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.

Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.

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Trip Pittman addresses St. Clair County Republicans

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 5 min