Smitherman, Williams support Alabama public transportation trust fund legislation

February 7, 2018

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, Alabama Arise Citizens’ Policy Project held a press conference in support of legislation to advance public transportation. The legislation, Senate Bill 85 and House Bill 10, is sponsored by Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, and State Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia.

Alice Paris chairs Alabama Arise’s legislative committee. “Alabama is one of only five states that do not fund public transit,” Paris said. “The state loses out on millions of dollars of transportation dollars every day. We are supporting legislation this year by Senator Rodger Smitherman and Rep. Jack Williams.”

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GOP lawmakers become “36 percenters”

April 5, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

President Reagan once ominously remarked, “The nine most dangerous words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Rep. Bob Fincher (R-Woodland) is sponsoring a Constitutional Amendment in the House that would cap “certain” loans at 36 percent interest, which reads in part, “No person should be subject to unconscionable interest rates authorized by government regulation. No church, charity, or community foundation should bear the burden of providing financial assistance because government-approved loan products are proven to be exploitive.”
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Keep The Faith: Alabama’s Lending Reform Movement Will Win

August 1, 2016

By Stephen Stetson

It’s no secret that tremendous wealth can open doors, and you don’t have to look far to see the colossal power of money in the political process. Here in Alabama, the high-cost lending industries are throwing hefty sums of money around, merging affluence with influence and hoping to keep lawmakers and regulators from getting swept up in the rising sea of public outrage about how many Alabamians are caught in debt traps.
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Eight $100 million ideas for prison reform in Alabama

May 4, 2016

By Stephen Cooper

Instead of wrapping an $800 million ($1.5 billion over 30 years) albatross around the necks of Alabamians to build four new “super-max” style prisons, here are eight $100 million dollar ideas, each of which, I respectfully submit, are more efficient and morally sound ways to tackle Alabama’s prison problems:

1. Write a check for $100 million right now and give it to attorney Bryan Stevenson and his organization, The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Everyone knows that if this ill-advised prison construction plan continues its dizzying flight forward that, when it goes bad, it will be EJI who will ring the alarm bell — as they’ve done before, through the filing of federal lawsuits. Why wait? Why not go ahead and give EJI $100 million bucks right now together with a mandate to use that dough to implement the many, many prison reforms it has been calling for, for many, many years?
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House to Debate General Fund Budget 

March 15, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, March 15, the Alabama House of Representatives will be back in session. The main topic of the day is expected to be the State General Fund budget (SGF). Again ballooning Medicaid and Department of Corrections costs and the chronic lack of growth revenues dedicated to the SGF means the state is once again facing a budget crisis in the SGF, even though last week the same House passed a record education trust fund budget (ETF). The SGF that came down from the state Senate cut the costly Alabama Medicaid program by $100 million.
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Senate Passes $1.8 Billion Budget

February 26, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, February 25, the Alabama Senate passed a $1.8 billion State General Fund (SGF) budget for fiscal Year 2017. This SGF budget level-funds most State agencies, including State troopers and Corrections, and contains no tax increases.

The new Chairman of the Senate General Fund Budget Committee Trip Pittman said, “This is a tough but workable budget for the people of Alabama. It level-funds many state agencies, while increasing funds for Public Health and our National Guard units. I look forward to the House’s input and ideas on the budget.”
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Flat Tax Boom for Rich, Bust for Poor, According to Report

April 30, 2015

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The idea of a flat tax is being championed by Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) and other senators as a measure to simplify the tax code and make the State more competitive without increasing the tax burden on the State’s working class. 

However, Carol Gundlach, policy analyst at Alabama Arise and her partner in this report, Chris Sanders, do not necessarily see it that way. In an analysis published this week, Gundlach says of the flat tax bill: “Alabamians struggling to make ends meet could have to pay State income tax on the first $100 they earn under a new flat tax.”
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USDA Study Shows Alabama Citizens Among Top 10 in Food Insecurity

September 5, 2014

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY— A new report just released from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that Alabama was one of 10 states with the largest number of households where food was often scarce or hunger was a major problem between 2011-2013.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err173.aspx#.VAjdZktH2lI

According to the study from the USDA, 14.3 percent of households in the U.S. were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 5.6 percent with very low food security.
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Constitutional Commission Seeks to Eliminate Judicial Review from Public School Language

September 26, 2013

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

On August 8, the Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission adopted a proposal to change the constitutional language addressing the right of Alabama’s children to a public school education.

See minutes.

What has caused great alarm among educators and those who have worked for honest constitutional reform is the fact that the commission has eliminated the right of judicial review from this section of code.

The adopted proposal of Section 256 now reads,
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Alabama government, businesses prepare for Supreme Court healthcare ruling

June 28, 2012

Staff Report

MONTGOMERY | Government planners and private businesses in Alabama are anticipating the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday on the federal health care act.

“Everyone is waiting for the ruling and then will plan accordingly,” Rosemary Elebash, Alabama director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said Wednesday.

“I think everyone I know has been holding back on hiring new people not knowing what the outcome is,” Elebash said.
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