Opinion | Prison healthcare contract could be a fool’s errand

February 19, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Whether through ignorance, graft or just an unwillingness to look past the second ripple in the pond, the state’s current plan to address the prison healthcare crisis is a boondoggle.

That’s where the Alabama Department of Corrections is with its attempt to secure a new contractor to provide medical and mental health services for state inmates.

It’s time to scrap the current process and start over or risk embroiling Governor Kay Ivey’s administration in an unnecessary scandal in an election year.

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Analysis | Gov. Ivey’s campaign kick off solid, steady, shocking

February 14, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

When Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey took the stage at the Montgomery Renaissance Tuesday night to kick-off her campaign for governor, she was buoyant, charming and in command of the evening. Most attendees agreed that Gov. Ivey hit all the right notes in her 10-plus-minute speech.

But it was her introduction by the state’s most wealthy private business owner, Jimmy Rane, that left heads shaking and tongues wagging across the state’s political landscape.
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Opinion | Is HB317 a return to the orgy of greed and corruption? 

February 6, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

At least it seemed for a moment that the cancer eating away at Alabama’s state government was in remission.

The rise of Gov. Kay Ivey and Speaker Mac McCutcheon after the removal of Gov. Robert Bentley and Speaker Mike Hubbard appeared to herald a new day in state politics. But in the State House, bills are offered that would reintroduce the same type of mischief that poisoned the system when Hubbard and Bentley were in office.

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BCA’s Canary linked to lobbying firm partnership

February 5, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Documents recently uncovered by the Alabama Political Reporter appear to show that Business Council of Alabama (BCA) C.E.O. Billy Canary has personally profited through private ownership of a favored lobbying firm while acting in his official capacity to represent the association’s membership before the State Legislature.

For years, Montgomery’s chattering-class echoed with rumors that lobbyist Dax R. Swatek and Canary enjoyed a profitable business partnership. The recently discovered document reveals there is real substance to the story and now suddenly it appears there is more evidence on how BCA has run their powerful lobbying efforts for more than a decade.

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There is already a fix to clarify and strengthen the ethics laws

February 1, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Before then Attorney General Luther Strange took his ill-fated appointment to the U.S. Senate, his office prepared legislation to clarify and strengthen existing ethics laws.

Amidst all the nascent posturing about a dire need to, “Reform and Clarify” current ethics laws, there seems to be a pretense that no such clarification exists and, therefore, the Legislature needs to do something.

One proposal is to establish a committee to make recommendations for ethics reforms before the 2019 Session is currently the preferred solution thereby stalling any reform measures while giving special interests groups sufficient time to work to muddy laws that hinder their businesses.

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Commission for “Ethics Reform and Clarification” is pure fantasy

January 26, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A Senate joint resolution creating The Code of Ethics Reform and Clarification Commission sponsored by Republican Senators Arthur Orr, President Pro Tem. Del Marsh and Majority Leader Greg Reed has been submitted to the Rules Committee and could be making it’s way through the Senate soon.

Creating a commission to reform and clarify current ethics laws sounds like a reasonable undertaking until it’s understood that the underlying premise is to weaken much of existing laws.

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Opinion | AG Steve Marshall defends complicity in sexual assault

January 22, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Last week under the headline, “State attorney general defends decision to keep accused sexual harasser on staff when he was a DA,” al.com’s Howard Koplowitz, let current appointed state’s Attorney General Steve Marshall explain why he kept Assistant District Attorney Byron Waldrop on his staff even after a federal judge found it an indisputable fact that Waldrop sexually assaulted Donna Dunlap, a co-worker.

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Moore supporters seek revenge against Sen. Shelby

January 15, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A group of Judge Roy Moore’s supporters is planning to introduce a resolution to censure Alabama’s U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby because he publicly stated that he “couldn’t vote for Roy Moore,” as reported by Politico on Saturday.

It’s no small irony that a faction of the Alabama Republican Executive Committee is tarring Sen. Shelby with half-truths and lies just like The Washington Post is accused of doing with Judge Moore.

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Gov. Ivey asks, “Why do you serve?”

January 10, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

In her first State of the State address, Gov. Kay Ivey hit all the right notes, even when evoking legendary composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s statement on why he wrote music.

Ivey rightfully took credit for righting the ship of state as she promised at her swearing-in ceremony nine months ago.

Perhaps most striking – her message was inclusive, not simply pandering to the most extreme elements of the Republican base. Throughout the 40 minute speech, she spoke about “we” and “us,” not “us versus them.” Even the stagecraft spoke to diversity with Democrat Congressional leaders Sen. Linda Coleman and Anthony Daniels sharing the diocese.
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Will leaders lay fundamental groundwork for tomorrow or wimp out?

January 8, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Results from the Alabama Political Reporter’s first Influentials poll show that many of our state’s best thinkers see an urgent need to invest in infrastructure, encourage new industry and develop a 21st-century workforce. These are three big ideas that, if executed correctly, will have a profound effect on the state’s economy, quality of life and upward mobility of all citizens who wish to participate.

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