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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Human Trafficking Conference Held in Montgomery

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, February 3, 2017, the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force hosted the Human Trafficking Summit in Montgomery to educate social workers and Law Enforcement officers about the growing human trafficking problem in the US.

Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Richard Love (ret) spent a career investigating and prosecuting people who traffic in children for sex, including going undercover as a pimp

Detective Love said that one child prostitute can generate $150,000 to $300,000 in revenue none of which she or he will get to keep. The girl may service 20 buyers in a day.
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House passes Sunset bills

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, February 16, 2017, the Alabama House of Representatives met to consider a number of non-controversial pieces of legislation having to do with renewing state boards and agencies. Under Alabama law no board exists forever. They have to periodically be renewed by the Legislature or they will automatically “sunset”. This allows the legislature to review whether or not a board is performing its purpose or not and needs to be changed or allowed to disappear. Sun setting State boards and agencies is the responsibility of the House Sunset committees. They make recommendations to the full Legislature.
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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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Legislative watchdogs propose ethics reform agenda

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In 2010, then Republican Party Chairman State Representative Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) led a historic campaign for the Republican Party to take over the Alabama Legislature from 135 years of Democratic Party domination and clean up the corrupt Montgomery cesspool. Voters agreed and gave the Alabama Republican Party everything it asked for then and every election that has followed.

No Democrat has won a statewide race in this state since 2008 and the GOP super majorities in both Houses of the Legislature can cloture the outmanned Democratic caucuses at will. Ending corruption as we know it however has proven elusive for the GOP dominated State government.
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Strange and Shelby vote for Pruitt to head EPA

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, February 17, 2017, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) was confirmed by the Senate as the Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). US Senators Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) and Luther Strange (R-Alabama) both voted for Pruitt.

Senator Shelby said, “Throughout the past eight years, the EPA became an out-of-control bureaucracy focused on advancing the political priorities of the Obama Administration instead of its intended purpose. After reviewing his credentials and meeting with him personally, I am confident that Scott Pruitt will put the agency on a new path. I look forward to working with Administrator Pruitt in my role on the EPW Committee to ensure that we protect our environment responsibly, but in a manner that will not unnecessarily stifle job creation and our economy.”
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Alabama’s failed redistricting plan could bring back preclearance

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Preclearance could be making a return to Alabama.

Three years after the US Supreme Court struck down sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that required several states, including Alabama, to receive preclearance from the Department of Justice before making changes to State voting laws, Alabama Republicans might have inadvertently revived the requirement through their 2012 redistricting efforts.

Because a federal court (following directives from the US Supreme Court) ruled those newly drawn voting districts to be unconstitutional, several attorneys believe a clause in Section 3 of the VRA has been triggered. That clause states that when a “voting subdivision,” such as a state, city or county, commits one or more constitutional violations of voting laws, the Federal court “shall” subject that entity to having future voting laws preapproved by the court and the DOJ.
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Crumpton calls for Bentley to rescind proclamation and hold Special Election this November

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, February 14, US Senate candidate Ron Crumpton (D) urged Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) to rescind his proclamation and set the Special Election for Senate this November, instead of November 6, 2018.

Crumpton said in a statement to supporters that Bentley’s setting of the special election 21 months into the future, “Is riddled with problems.” “First, If the Governor called for the opening of qualifying today, the election could be held in November of 2017. This timeline would comply with federal and state statutes and cases. Second, the law does not state that the election should be delayed because of fears of low turnout or because of the expense. Those are excuses for delay, they do not prevent the election from being held earlier.”
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House votes to strike-down Obama-era rule preventing states from defunding Planned Parenthood

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, February 16, 2017, the US House of Representative passed a House Joint Resolution striking dowm a last-minute Obama Administration rule that attempted to force states to direct their Title X public health dollars to abortion providers.

Speaking on the House floor, US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) voiced her support for House Joint Resolution, which would nullify a December 2016 Department of Health and Human Services rule mandating that no state stop Title X public health dollars from flowing to abortion providers.
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Strange votes to confirm Mulvaney

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, February 16, 2017, Alabama Senator Luther Strange voted for US Representative Mick Mulvaney’s (R-South Carolina) confirmation as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Afterwards Sen. Strange said in a statement, “At almost $20 trillion in national debt and counting, having someone at the helm of OMB who has a record of opposing increased spending is absolutely vital. I have no doubt that Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) will rein in the runaway spending that is pushing our nation ever-closer to financial disaster, while making sure that our military has the resources necessary to protect our country. Our children and grandchildren are set to inherit a financial burden they did not create and it is upon us to act now in order to ensure a better future for the next generation.”
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