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In Case You Missed It

Democratic candidates attempt to take back State House

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

November 2010 was an earth shattering moment for Alabama Democrats.

They lost every statewide race and more importantly they lost control of the Alabama legislature and the pending redistricting.  In 2014, they lost more House seats.  Friday was the final day of qualifying and Alabama Democrats have recruited candidates for most of the 105 seats in the Alabama House of Representatives.

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  • Brandon Willcutt is running in State House District 1.
  • Lora Kay Morrow is running in State House District 2.
  • Chad Young is running in State House District 3
  • Juanita Allen Healy is running in State House District 4
  • Brian D. Williams is running in State House District 5
  • Kenneth A. Brackins is running in State House District 7
  • Rebecca Browne, Billy Jackson, and Clay New are all running in State House District 8
  • Terrie Jones Savage is running State House District 9
  • J.B. King and Clifton Miller are running in State House District 10
  • Suzanna Coleman is running in State House District 15
  • Eddie Britton is running in State House District 18.
  • Samuel T. Greene is running in State House District 19 challenging incumbent Laura Hall.
  • Linda Meigs is running in State House District 20
  • Terry Jones is running in State House District 21
  • Bill Jones is running in State House District 27
  • Kyle Pierce and Ralph Burke are running in State House District 28
  • Jared Millican is running in State House District 29
  • Jared Vaughn is running in State House District 30
  • In State House District 32 incumbent Barbara Boyd is running against challengers Angela L. Fears and Seyrum Selase.
  • Scott Brewer is running in State House District 33.
  • Nicki Arnold-Swindle is running in State House District 36
  • Charlotte A. Clark-Frieson is running in State House District 37
  • Brian McGee is running in State House District 38
  • Pamela Jean Howard is running in State House District 40
  • Emily Anne Marcum is running in State House 41
  • Carin Mayo is running in State House District 43
  • Jenn Gray is running in State House District 45
  • Felicia Stewart is running in State House District 46
  • Jim Toomey and Mary Lynn Bates are running in State House District 47
  • Alli Summerford is running State House District 48
  • Veronica R. Johnson is running in State House District 51
  • Incumbent John W. Rogers Jr. is running for re-election in State House District 52
  • Incumbent House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels is running for re-election in State House District 53
  • Jerome Dees, Neil Rafferty, and Jacqueline Gray Miller are running in State House District 54
  • Incumbent Roderick “Rod” Hampton Scott is being challenged by Antwon Bernard Womack and Quang Do in State House District 55
  • Incumbent Louise Alexander is being challenged by Chester W. Porter in State House District 56
  • Incumbent Merika Coleman is running for re-election in State House District 57
  • Incumbent Rolanda Hollis is being challenged by Rodney Huntley in State House District 58.
  • Chris Davis is challenging incumbent Mary Moore in State House District 59
  • Incumbent Juandalynn Givan faces challenger Le’Darius Hilliard in State House District 60.
  • Tommy Hyche is running in State House District 61
  • Will Benton is running in State House District 62
  • Amber Selman-Lynn is running State House District 64.
  • Incumbent Elaine Beech is being challenged in State House District 65 by Marcus Caster and Ozelle L. Hubert.  Beech is the only White Democrat who is running for re-election in the House this year.
  • Susan Smith is running in House District 66.
  • Incumbent Prince Chestnut is being challenged by Jelani “Shaun” Coleman in State House District 67.
  • Incumbent Thomas Jackson is running for re-election in State House District 68
  • Incumbent Kelvin Lawrence is being challenged by Kelvin Williams in State House District 69
  • Incumbent Chris England is running for re-election in State House District 70
  • Incumbent A.J. McCampbell is running for re-election in State House District 71
  • Incumbent Ralph A. Howard is running for re-election in State House District 72
  • Jack Jacobs is running in State House District 73
  • Rayford Mack is running in State House District 74
  • Incumbent Thad McClammy is running for re-election in State House District 76
  • Malcolm Calhoun, Dan Harris, D’Linell Finley, Christopher Turner, and TaShina Morris are running in State House District 77 where longtime incumbent John Knight (D) is running for state Senate.
  • Longtime incumbent Alvin Holmes is running for his twelfth term in State House District 78.  Holmes is being challenged by Terance “Watchdog” Dawson and Kirk Hatcher.
  • Mary Wynne Kling is running in State House District 79.
  • Judy L. LaRue is running in State House District 80.
  • Jeremy “J.J.” Jeffcoat is running in State House District 81
  • Johnny Ford and Terrence K. Johnson are challenging incumbent Pebblin Warren in State House District 82.
  • Jeremy Gray, John Andrew Harris, Pat “Patsy” Jones and Ronnie Reed are all running for State House District 83 where incumbent George Bandy (D) recently died after a car crash.
  • Incumbent Berry Forte is running for re-election in State House District 84
  • Earl C. Jones is challenging incumbent Dexter Grimsley in State House District 85
  • Kristy M. Kirkland is running in State House District 86
  • Cory Creel is running in State House District 88.
  • Joel Lee Williams is running in State House District 89
  • Joanne Whetstone is running in State House District 90
  • Danielle Mashburn-Myrick is running in State House District 94
  • Maurice Horsey and Web Whiting are running in State House District 96
  • Incumbent Adline Clarke is being challenged by Levi Wright Jr. in State House District 97
  • Incumbent Napoleon Bracy, Jr. is running for re-election in State House District 98
  • Gregory Harris, Henry Haseeb, Sam Jones, Burton R. LeFlore, Franklin McMillion, Gregory Parker, Herman Thomas, and Rico Washington are all running for State House District 99 where incumbent James Buskey (D) is retiring.
  • Incumbent Barbara Drummond is running again in State House District 103
  • Arlene Cunningham Easley is running in State House District 104.

The Democrats are running in more races than they did in 2014 but are still conceding a number of districts to Republicans that they view as too conservative to have any hope of winning in.

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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.

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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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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.

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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

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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.

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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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Democratic candidates attempt to take back State House

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 5 min
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