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Moore holds election eve rally with Steve Bannon, other supporters in Midland

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, December 11, 2017, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore held a “Drain the Swamp rally” in Midland just 13 hours before Alabama voters go to the polls to decide whether they want to vote for Moore or Democrat Doug Jones to be their senator, replacing Jeff Sessions (R) who vacated the seat to become U.S. attorney general.

“We are not going to stand by and let people from out of state and California control this election,” Judge Roy Moore said. “Three years before I was born, 1944, America was in crisis. We were at war with Adolph Hitler and the armies of Nazi Germany.” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said on the radio that many would die in that war; but we had faith. Three years later I was born. “In the 1960s, we started to forget God and we started to forget where our strength comes from.”

“My opposition has always been about my acknowledgement of God,” Judge Moore said. “When I put up the Ten Commandments, when I stood up for marriage being between one man and one woman.” “We had had several Senators contest my election, one of them from Alabama.” “President Trump and I want to drain the swamp. We are up to our neck with alligator with people in Washington who don’t want change.”

“The Establishment spent over $30 million in the primary and another ten to fifteen million dollars in the general election.” The false ads that have been put on by media. Highway 31 is running false ads against us and we don’t even know who they are. We have had threats on social media to anybody who would support this campaign, Moore said.

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Moore denounced the “Fake News” by saying, The Washington Post put out this terrible, disgusting article about me and there were accusers against me that did not come forward in forty years. “In that time, I have run five state wide campaign three campaigns in the same county and they never came forward.”

Moore said that recent reporting revealed that, “a former Jeb Bush staffer, Tim Miller is his name, planted the story with the Washington Post. Did you see that on the TV?”

“Fox News came out today and said my opponent was ahead of me by ten points. On the same day Emerson came out and said that I was up by nine points. Somebody is lying. We will find out tomorrow,” he said.

Moore stated that the media said “some Republicans will ignore what they believe and vote for me anyway.” Moore responded to that,“If you don’t believe in my character don’t vote.”

Moore highlighted the policy differences between he and his opponent on: abortion, transgender rights, strengthening the military, etc.

“I think we should repeal Obamacare. My opponent wants to keep and expand it. The federal government can not run our Veterans hospitals, how are they going to run the entire health care system?” I do not support federal involvement in the educations systems of the states. “Common Core should be eliminated.” I served in the military. I know the military and I support a strong defense. “My philosophy has always been since the Academy: duty, honor, country. America can’t be great until America is good. She can’t be good until we go back to God. One nation under God,” Judge Moore said.

Moore’s wife, Kayla, said that this was the ugliest campaign she has ever seen. “Fake news says that he does not like women in leadership positions; but he appointed me as President of his Foundation for Moral Law, which he founded 15 years ago today.”  “The fake news says that he does not like black people; but he appointed the first black Marshall to the Alabama Supreme Court.” We have Black friends.” When he was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court he took three people from Etowah County with him and one of them is here tonight. Fake news says my husband hates Jews: one of our attorneys is a Jew. We have Jewish friends. “Fake news are the ones who are an embarrassment and they should be ashamed of themselves for getting involved in this election. This is a federal election and in my opinion they should be held accountable.”

“I love doing barn rallies in the state of Alabama. We have got the whole world here [the media]. Somebody called me a Yankee. I am from Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy. I went to school up North but I am from Virginia,” Breitbart News Chief Executive Steven K. Bannon said.

Bannon said that the win last year, “In the wee hours of the morning. It was the hand of divine providence. That will be a headline tomorrow: Bannon said God voted for Trump. Donald Trump promised that American workers will be at the top of the heap. On the campaign trail they mocked him. In the first year they have 3.3 percent growth and 3.9 percent growth in the fourth quarter. We have the lowest unemployment in 17 years. 400,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created, 2 million jobs overall. Finally there is somebody standing up for the United States of America.

“This would be an absolute blowout except the Republican establishment wouldn’t have it,” Bannon said. “To Mitch McConnell and Senator Shelby [booing from the crowd] and Condoleezza Rice and little Bobby Corker….there is a special place in Hell for Republicans who should know better.” That is why they are trying to shut up Donald Trump and Roy Moore. “Its’ about raw power. The Republican Establishment would rather be in a minority than in a majority and have you guys in control,” Bannon said. “They would be happy to manage America on decline to China, you know why? They will make just as much money on the way down as they did on the way up.”

“This is a national election tomorrow,” Bannon said. “This is the Trump miracle versus the nullification project.”

Congressman Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said, “Roy Moore never put D.A. behind his name. The truth will find you.” “Have you ever met somebody like a Jezebel?” It drives me crazy to hear these people say; they sound so polished. That is what lawyers do they work to make their clients sound polished. If somebody waits 38 years to make an allegation that would destroy a person they should give them more than four weeks to defend themselves. “She said that she talked with Roy Moore on the phone in her room and then we find that she didn’t have a phone in her room. They are a liar.” Gohmert said that some of Moore’s accusers have been involved in alcohol and drugs.

“If they are successful at taking down a righteous man like Roy Moore they can take down everybody.” Gohmert is a former Texas Supreme Court chief justice.

Former Army Captain Bill Stahle, who served in Vietnam with Roy Moore, said, “I grew to admire him. His military bearing. He was morally straight. He was a terrific officer and I knew if the occasion arose he would lay his life down for me and I for him.”

Captain Stahle said that he and Moore were taken to a brothel by a fellow officer celebrating his last day in Vietnam.  Roy Moore said let’s get out of here. “Part of the reason was that our commander would have lost respect for us if we were found to be in a prohibited area and we could have lost our commands,” Stahle explained. “No, according to the media that same man who served in Vietnam and then applied for and accepted to Law School and after that as a young deputy district attorney, he was willing to lose all of that by getting in bed with a 14-year old? I am not buying it. All of it is false charges as far as I am concerned. It was the political equivalent of an ambush in Vietnam.”

“Roy Moore was not a summer soldier,” Stahle said. “And tomorrow we don’t need to be sunshine patriots. Vote for Roy Moore.”

“Turnout, turnout, turnout. If you turn out like you turned out for Donald Trump last November, he will win. Alabama, you have been skewered in the media. You have been called all manner of names. If you want to see Obamacare given its proper burial you must turn out for Roy Moore. If you want to see a wall, not a fence, on our southern border…..then you must turnout tomorrow and vote for Roy Moore. If you believe like me that blue lives matter and you want law and order in your community they you must turn out tomorrow and vote for Roy Moore. If you want to help President Trump drain the swamp you must turn out tomorrow and vote for Roy Moore,” former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said.

“This is the most important Senate and race in my lifetime. It has been among the greatest honors of my life to stand with the greatest man I have ever known Judge Roy Moore. This race is winner take all. The winner of this race will decide who will sit on the Supreme Court for the next forty years,” family values activist and Moore campaign surrogate, Janet Porter, said.

“The people of Alabama are going to rise up and send Roy Moore to Washington,” Porter said. “I wish they had not taken down the Ten Commandments monuments; because people could read it every now and then and learn things like: ‘Thou shall not bear false witness.’ Our God is more mighty than the media.”

“America is watching and they want to know if Alabama can be bought. America is watching and they want to know if Alabama can be fooled by the lying media. The people of Alabama have already selected their candidate and they selected their candidate, Roy Moore. You will have your victory tomorrow, Alabama,” Missouri U.S. Senate Candidate Courtland Sykes said.

Texas Congressional Candidate Veronica Birkenstock said that she has supported Roy Moore for months because he will work with President Trump to make American great again. “There are so many people on Capital Hill whose words are good, but their deeds do not match it. Make American Great Again,” said Birkenstock.

Black Pastor Dan Webster said that Moore’s enemies are attempting, “a high tech lynching” of Judge Moore. “We already vetted Judge Moore twice when he ran for Supreme Court Chief Justice. We know this man, there are no secrets. With all due respect to Roy Moore’s opponent, this is about good versus evil, this is about right versus wrong,” said Webster.

Associate Justice Tom Parker (R) gave the opening prayer and thanked God for protecting Judge Roy Moore. Parker is running for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2018.

Moore has been a very controversial figure in Alabama politics for almost 29 years. The judge from Etowah County was despised by secularists for his displaying of the Ten Commandments and his insistence on acknowledging God, from whom Moore insists that the natural law was derived and on which, Moore believes, the U.S. Constitution is based. Moore’s stubborn refusal to take down his Ten Commandments plaque in the face of opposition from liberals and atheists ultimately propelled Judge Moore to a successful run for the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore was later removed from the bench by the appointed Court of the Judiciary for displaying those Commandments on a monument Moore placed in the Alabama Supreme Court Building.

Moore then formed the Foundation for Moral Law to fight for religious liberty across the country. Roy Moore ran for the Republican nomination for governor in 2006 and 2010 unsuccessfully. Moore was elected as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court again in 2012. In 2016, Moore was suspended for the remainder of his term by the appointed COJ, this time for refusing to issue an order to the state’s probate judges to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples following the controversial Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.

Moore retired to run for U.S. Senator after Gov. Kay Ivey called a special election to replace Sessions. Moore beat nine GOP Primary opponents, including appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R).

The Establishments of both political parties have spent in excess of $45 million to defeat Roy Moore.

The polls open today at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

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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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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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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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House OKs bill to clarify consulting contracts by state legislators

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill to try to clarify how legislators accept consulting contracts under Alabama’s 2010 ethics law. Some pundits have suggested that House Bill 387 is actually designed to weaken the existing ethics law.

Sponsor state Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa, argues that the legislation is merely a clarification and is intended to prevent legislators from inadvertently crossing the line into illegality.

Wingo said that his bill would require legislators to notify the Alabama Ethics Commission that they have entered into a consulting agreement in an area outside of their normal scope of work.

State Rep. Paul Beckman, R-Prattville, said, “I have never understood why members of this body were allowed to take contracts as consultants or counselors.”

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Wingo said, “Never do I use the word counselor in my bill; it is consulting.”

Beckman asked, “Are we going to be getting into an area where  every time we turn around we create a bureaucratic nightmare where we have to go get an opinion. These opinions whether it is orally or written don’t hold up in a court of law.” Beckman said, “We are serving the people here but we get this admonition that we can still be a consultant if we get an opinion.”

Wingo said, “This does not apply to professions where a member is currently licensed.”

Beckman said, “I would like to see more opinions coming out of the Ethics Commission. Right now we have the Ethics Commission competing with the Attorney General’s office over who has more authority.”

State Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, said,”This happened to a friend of mine. He just got out of prison. He was a state senator and had a written letter from the Ethics Commission which his lawyer read at trial and the jury convicted him anyway.”

Rogers never named his friend, but reporters think he was talking about former state Sen. Edward Browning ‘E. B.’ McClain who spent over 22 years in the legislature until he was convicted on 47 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, bribery, and money laundry in 2009.

A federal jury found that McClain and the Rev. Samuel Pettagrue were guilty in a scheme where McClain would secure public funds for Pettagrue’s community programs and then receive a kickback once the funds were in hand. McClain was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison. McClain was not prosecuted under the Alabama ethics law as the state has a much weaker ethics statute then. The current ethics law was passed in 2010.

Rogers said, “If they offer me a consulting contract for a field like aerospace engineering that I know nothing about they are trying to pay me off. If you can already be a consultant for something you know about why would you seek a consulting contract for something you don’t know about.

Rogers this is how they can pay you off for your vote.”

State Rep. Artis “A.J.” McCampbell said, “I don’t like making changes to things like this because we get into things called unintended consequences.”

McCampbell was reading from the bill and Wingo said, “You are reading from the original version it has completely changed.” “We worked tirelessly on this bill with the Ethics Commission this is not a fly by night bill.”

“If a member of the legislature enters into a contract to do a consulting contract outside of their normal field of work this bill requires that they consult with the Ethics Commission first,” Wingo said. “It is up to the member to notify the Ethics Commission not to the company or person offering them the money.”

State Representative Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said, “Everybody but legislators are allowed to do contract work up to $30,000.”

Rep. Wingo said, “This is not intended to be a roadblock.”

State Representative Arnold Mooney, R-Indian Springs, said, “The whole purpose of this is not to prevent members from doing work in your field.” “What you are doing is offering to protect me.”

State Representative John Knight, D-Montgomery, asked Wingo what the Alabama Attorney General said about this legislation.

Wingo replied, “I have not contacted the Attorney General.”

Knight responded, “Something from the Ethics Commission does not carry a lot of protection from the Attorney General. We have seen that in the past. I think the Attorney General and the Ethics Commission should be in agreement in the working on this.”

Wingo answered, “Maybe this is a first step.”

Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, asked, “Do we have anybody doing work outside of their regular scope of work?”

Wingo answered, “Yes I think so.”

Wingo said, “If we had had this bill four or five years ago maybe we could have been spared the embarrassment that this body experienced with the former Speaker.”

Wingo was referring to former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard who was convicted of 12 counts of felony ethics violations in June 2016. Ironically, Hubbard is largely responsible for creating the ethics law that he was found guilty of violating 11 times in his relentless pursuit of outside contracts and personal wealth.

Unlike McClain, however, Hubbard has not yet served any of this sentence.

House Bill 387 passed 67-0 with 26 legislators abstaining.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

(Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group’s Lisa Osborn in 2009 was consulted in this report.)

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Moore holds election eve rally with Steve Bannon, other supporters in Midland

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