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Moore addresses Etowah County Republicans

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Saturday, August 19, 2017, Senate Candidate Roy Moore (R) was in Rainbow City for a breakfast meeting with the Etowah County Republican Party.  A packed crowd was on hand to hear from the Etowah County native following his first place finish in the August 15 Republican Senate special election primary.

Judge Moore told his fellow Etowah County Republicans, “This is home.  This is where I was born and reared and where I will die.”

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore said that when Donald Trump was elected the people wanted change, they wanted to go forward, but that the country has not gone forward because the establishment in Washington, the establishment of both parties have been blocking the President’s agenda.

Chief Justice Moore said, “Winning 60 of the 67 counties is a great honor. The people of this county is what I stand for.  I am standing for what the law stands for.  If we don’t stand for what is right, we are lost.  Some say these are the end times.  I don’t know.  We can’t stop fighting for what is right.  We need somebody to go to Washington and speak the truth. the truth about our country, the truth about our Constitution, and the truth about God.”

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Judge Moore said, “When the President makes a statement he gets criticized for what he does not say.” The people in Washington DC do not want change and they are fighting Trump’s agenda.  Moore said that he supports term limits.  “It is probably needed but we are not going to get term limits through Congress.”  It has to come from the states.

Moore said, “Elections should be fair, but that is not the way it is. As soon as the Special Election was announced, immediately $2.5 million was in the hands of my opponent.”  The Washington special interests spent $5.6 million in the primary alone.  “$2700 is the most you can give me.  Do you know how difficult it is to raise money like that?  We have raised some short of $500,000 in the first cycle.”  Karl Rove has pledged up to $10 million and the other PAC has pledged $5 million,” in the runoff.

Alabama’s best known Supreme Court Justice said, “Washington DC is watching this race with binoculars.  It is the prelude to the 2018 Senate elections.  I know what we need.  We need border security.  We are the only nation that ignores its borders.  Does it take a wall?  I don’t know.  We could stop illegal aliens using the military on the border and then see if a wall is still needed.”  Moore said that the US military could be used on the borders without violating the Posse Comitatus Act.  “People are flooding across our borders.” Referring to increasingly common terror attacks in Europe, Moore said, “Look at what is happening in Spain. Look what is happening in France.  Look what is happening in England.”

Moore said that he wants to repeal Obamacare, but not replace it, and that healthcare is not in Article I Section 3 of the Constitution.  “Look at the Veterans Administration hospitals.  That is what government controlled health care is.  Government is not good at business.”

Moore warned, “The people in Washington are trying to buy this election.”  Moore predicted that Strange and his Washington DC allies would make more false tales in negative ads and then bombard the airwaves with it.  They are trying to put out so much negativity with the negative ads. “Channel 13 did a fact check and found the ad against me in the primary and found it to be completely false. They continued to run the ad.  They knew it was false and they continued to run the ad, anyway because of the money.”

Moore said, “I don’t dislike McConnell.  I do not know McConnell.  I have never met McConnell; but McConnell is waging war down South.  I don’t want to make his life miserable.  I speak the truth if that makes you miserable, that is your problem.”

State Representative Becky Nordgren (R-Gadsden) said that no one likes Luther Strange in Montgomery.  In all of the Legislature only one lawmaker supports Luther Strange and that is Jim Carns.

Rep. Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) said I like Jim Carns; but he is up for an appointment as ambassador or he would not be.

Etowah County Party Chairman state Senator Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City) said that he talked with Gov. Bentley before the appointment and Mitch McConnell had  called the Governor twice before telling him not to send a tea party Freedom Caucus type to the US Senate.

Moore said, “They don’t want change and they are using all this money against me and everyone else,” who won’t play their game.  I have to depend on the people to finance my campaign.  They depend on the Washington special interests. My wife nearly got sick on election night when we did not win without a runoff because she knows what is coming.”  They will make up something in an ad and you will ask yourself; Did he do that? would he do that?  Those negative thoughts are all they need to suppress the vote.  “They are trying to get their candidates elected and they will do anything they can to do that.”

Retired Congressman and World War II veteran Jim Martin (R) was present to express his support for Moore’s candidacy.  Martin, 98, was the Congressman who appointed Moore to West Point.  Moore thanked him for that and for his words of encouragement.  Moore was appointed Circuit Judge in Etowah County in 1992 by Governor Guy Hunt (R).

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was by far the top vote getter in the Tuesday GOP primary.  Moore received 38.87 percent of the votes cast versus just 32.83 percent cast for Senator Luther Strange (R).  29.3 percent of GOP voters on Tuesday however preferred one of the other eight names on the ballot, with most of those going to Congressman Mo Brooks (R from Huntsville) who got 19.7 percent.  To win the runoff, Judge Moore needs to win at least 38 percent of the Republican voters whose candidates did not advance to the runoff.  A recent poll by JMC Analytics indicates that Moore may already have achieved that.  According to the new poll, 51 percent of likely Republican voters prefer Moore in the Primary; while Strange is stuck with the same 32 percent support that he had on primary night.

The Special Republican Party runoff is on Tuesday, September 26.

The winner will face Doug Jones (D) in the Special General Election on December 12.

 

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In Case You Missed It

House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley

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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.

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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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In Case You Missed It

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

Sam Mattison

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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.

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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

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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.

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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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Moore addresses Etowah County Republicans

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 5 min
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