The race is on for Senate

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

The decisive move by newly minted Governor Kay Ivey, to declare a Special Election for Jeff Sessions’ Senate Seat this year rather than next year changes the entire complexion of who will sit in that coveted seat. It also redefines the landscape of an ever changing and pivotal Alabama political scene.

This next year will be an adventure as we elect a Senator and concurrently the 2018 Governor’s Race will begin its evolution. We have already seen the downfall of a sitting governor this year and by September 26, we will see the election of a new junior U.S. Senator. There is an assumption that only a Republican can win statewide office in Alabama and winning the GOP primary is tantamount to election.
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A great movie, but would anyone believe it?

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

We in the Deep South have a unique history of political theatrics. The only northern states that rival our colorfulness are New Jersey and Illinois. In those two states you are expected to be corrupt, especially Chicago.

Our most colorful southern state has always been Louisiana. The parishes and bayous of the Pelican State gave us Huey Long and other characters. No other states can hold a candle to Louisiana’s brazen corruption. They not only expect their politicians to steal and cavort, they frown on them if they do not. The environment of Louisiana politics is bred towards corruption and debauchery. They not only gave us the glamour of the King Fish, Huey Long, they are proud of their infamous reputation.
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The Democrat Derby

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

Last week we handicapped some of the potential horses in the upcoming 2018 Governor’s Race. We mentioned Judge Roy Moore, PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh, Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, Secretary of State John Merrill, State Treasurer Young Boozer, State Senator Del Marsh and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. Some others that may be considering pursuing the brass ring of Alabama politics are Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, Supreme Court Justice Jim Main, Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington, Trump’s Trumpeter in the State Perry Hooper, Jr., Huntsville State Representative Jim Patterson and ADECA Director and former Prattville Mayor Jim Byard. You can also add former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville to the mix of possible gubernatorial candidates.
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Governor’s Derby

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

We are on the cusp of one of the best political years in modern political history in the Heart of Dixie. Prior to the 1970’s our constitution disallowed succession of office for our state constitutional offices. In other words, you could not run for two consecutive four year terms. That is why George Wallace ran his wife in his place in 1966. George and Lurleen campaigned side-by-side. George would wink at the crowds still drawn to courthouse squares by a country band and say, “I’m going to be her number one advisor.” By the way, she won in a landslide. She beat eight male opponents without a runoff, including two former governors, an agriculture commissioner, the sitting state attorney general and two powerful state senators.
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Internet tax, roads need attention

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

My tradition for over two decades has been to give my children money for Christmas. Under this system there is no returning of items. They get what they want or need. There is no way that I would know what style of clothing, color or size they like. It works well.

The most illuminating thing that occurred to me this year is that both of my daughters and my granddaughter bought all of their Christmas gifts from me online. Without question, our country and state have changed dramatically technologically in my lifetime. Therefore, Alabama and other states have to change the way that sales tax is collected. States have to find a solution and the will to derive sales tax from online purchases.
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Lame Duck Governor wants prisons

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

The premier issue of this year’s legislative session will be whether to borrow a massive amount of money to build new prisons in the state. This initiative appears to be our lame duck Governor Robert Bentley’s primary agenda.

Last year Bentley proposed an $800 million bond issue for new prisons. He has come forward with a similar proposal this year. His plan would close all existing prisons and replace them with three new super men’s prisons and one smaller women’s prison.
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Money from BP is spent

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

We have unbelievable natural resources in Alabama starting with the Tennessee Valley and transcending to the beautiful white sands at Gulf Shores. Many of our natural resources have been exploited over the years. The prime example would be the exploitation of our rich vaults of iron ore discovered in Jefferson County in the early 20th Century. It created the city of Birmingham, the Steel City of the south.
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The circus begins, and it will leave a mess behind

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

As I have suggested to you, we are looking at one momentous 2018 election year, and it has begun. Get this folks, we have an open governor’s race. We have openings at Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Agriculture Commissioner, three seats on the Supreme Court including the Chief Justice position, all 35 state Senate seats, all 105 House seats, one hotly contested congressional seat, as well as 67 sheriffs. Folks, that’s the most political marquee year in my long political life. If media outlets do not make money next year, they ain’t ever gonna make any money.
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Things are getting complex

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

This third year of the quadrennium Regular Session of the legislature has recently gotten a lot more complex. These next four months will be trying times for the Alabama legislature. They will not only have to deal with a beleaguered General Fund Budget that has to feed a money-eating monster named Medicaid, they have an overcrowding problem in the state prisons to deal with as well as major public school systems being taken over by the state because of mismanagement and underfunding.
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The people want to vote

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

During the past couple of months everywhere I go people continually ask me why in the world the legislature could not simply put the issue of whether they could vote for or against a lottery on the November ballot.

The fact that this inquiry has lingered for this long tells me that folks are upset about this travesty. They are mad at the legislature. However, the blame lies with the governor. Read More

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