More money, bigger salaries under new legislation for OIT

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Legislation to create a standalone agency under the auspices of the Office of Information Technology (OIT) is being aggressively pushed by Gov. Robert Bentley, even though OIT has repeatedly shown itself incompetent in its management of the STARRS accounting system, eStart time and attendance software, CARES system that facilitates Medicaid, CHiPs services for the State’s children, disabled and poor. There are other mismanagement issues but these are big ones.
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Bentley pushes for control over tech service laden with cash and immense trove of data

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The Office of Governor Robert Bentley wants one more chance to create a powerful agency with big money, loose contracts, and a prying eye into the vast state data network.

Once again, Bentley’s administration is proposing legislation that will create the Office of Information Technology (OIT) as a stand-alone agency, which will absorb the Information Services Division (ISD), that was, until recently, closely guarded by the Department of Finance.
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Questions hang over massive prison bill

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The push to build four new correctional facilities at the cost of $800 million will soon begin in earnest. Still, many questions are left unanswered by legislations known as the Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative (APTI). The plan at present says the estimated $1.5 billion bond issuance will be paid by savings in the ADOC budget over the next 30 years. It also assumes proper medical and mental health care will result by consolidating facilities, and that the new high-tech prisons will reduce prison staffing needs. Governor Robert Bentley and Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) Commissioner Jeff Dunn are warning lawmakers of an imminent threat of Federal intervention if actions are not taken immediately.
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What to do about Bentley?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Vice, vainer and corruption has left Alabama a leaderless State, but there is hope that some with integrity will step forward to fill the void.

Governor Robert Bentley has long ago forfeited any claim of moral leadership and to list his many failings would be as tedious as it is long.

However, calls for his impeachment may be premature.

How can those who defended former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard chanting “innocent until proven guilty” in the face of his indictment on 23 felony counts of public corruption now feign such righteous anger at this scoundrel Bentley? Hubbard was convicted of 12 of those charges and today, many of those same individuals who blithely ignored Hubbard’s malfeasance want to hang the fool on Goat Hill.
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Move to impeach Bentley: Don’t be foolish

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

There is a movement afoot in the Alabama House of Representatives to impeach Governor Robert Bentley, a mission which, if accomplished, will doom the 2017 Regular Legislative Session.

Bentley is an embarrassment, a fool, a liar and a cheat, and may have even committed crimes that are punishable by law.

Gov. Bentley:

Is believed to have used State resources to facilitate an affair with a married staff member Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
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Republican Caucus to determine fate of Majority Leader today

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Later today the House Republican Caucus will hold a vote of confidence on Majority Leader Mickey Hamon (R-Decatur).

The vote is believed to be related to an investigation into a business interest of Hammon’s and Rep. Jack Williams (R-Birmingham) according to those with knowledge of the inquiry. Special Agents from the Office of Postmaster General have reportedly interviewed several House members on a bill that was put forward with the potential to affect a business interest shared by the two lawmakers positively.

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Small Lending Act leaves gaping loophole

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Like so many reforms in Alabama, the implementation of a statewide central database to track payday loans as ordered by Gov. Robert Bentley in 2013 fought its way through the courts to finally become operable in August 2015.

The establishment of the database is seen as a real step toward true reform in the lending industry. For the first time, loans would be tracked by a single statewide system that ensures that individuals are not taking out multiple loans from different lending companies simultaneously.

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There’s a new Sheriff in town

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

In the hidebound thinking of Montgomery’s political class, any appointment made by Gov. Robert Bentley is suspect, at best, most likely double-dealing. However, despite the initial unease with the appointment of Steve Marshall as Attorney General, there seems to be hope that he is the man for the job.

So, there’s a new Sheriff in town, and that could be a very good thing.
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Senator Strange appoints former Chief Deputy as Chief of Staff

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Many questions surround the appointment of Luther Strange as US Senator, but Strange hiring Kevin Turner as his Chief of Staff is an unseen turn of events.

Turner served as Strange’s Chief Deputy until allegations of dubious actions in the criminal investigation of former Speaker Mike Hubbard surfaced. During the heat of the inquiry, sources from both within and outside of the Attorney General’s Office confirmed that Turner was orchestrating a plot to remove chief prosecutor Matt Hart from the Lee County Grand Jury investigation.
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Update: Strange’s replacement, Bentley’s folly and a host of questionable acts overshadow Sessions’ Replacement

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

While Washington D.C. politicians and many here in Alabama publicly congratulated Attorney General Luther Strange on his appointment to the US Senate, the overwhelming reaction among reporters and politicos ranges from negative to outrage.

Among the chattering classes and in legal circles, Strange’s appointment to fill the vacancy left by Sen. Jeff Sessions resignation to become the nation’s Attorney General is seen as little more than a quid pro quo among political rivals.
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