A teacher named Wendy

Education Matters
By Larry Lee

Wendy Lang is a longtime elementary school educator in Decatur, AL. She left the classroom a year ago to work for the Alabama Education Association.

In 2016 she was asked to be a part of a fund-raising event for the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. She shares the wonderful story of why she was happy to. In this day when all we seem to hear about is data and test scores, it is a wonderful reminder that the education experience is so much, much more.
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Prison central item for upcoming session

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

While the presidential race played out this year, several things happened in Alabama politics that went under the radar.

First, a federal appeals court upheld the legislature’s banning PAC to PAC transfers. The new Republican legislative majority that marched into the Statehouse in 2011 set out to destroy and bury the last bastion of Democratic power in the state – the once omnipotent Alabama Education Association. They succeeded.
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Dues Checks-Off Back On

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Now that the Republican supermajority has successfully brought the once powerful Alabama Education Association (AEA) to heel, it appears the organization will, once again, be allowed to deduct membership dues directly from employees paychecks. According to insiders AEA can still lobby and promote public education, but must “certify” that it won’t run “specific candidates” for office.

“Good News! AEA payroll deduction of dues is back by popular demand,” began a letter from AEA Executive Director Dr. Brenda Pike, informing members that beginning in September, dues may be directly paid via payroll deduction.
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Sponsored Content, Gray Area Articles

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Sponsored content on internet blogs and publications is a growing source of revenue and a cause for concern. Big players like The New York Times and Forbes’ Brand Voice are offering sponsored content as is al.com. The sponsored material is clearly labeled so that the reader should not be confused as to what is news and what is paid editorial.

But there are many websites that offer paid content without identifying the source, which is potentially illegal and certainly an ethical gray area, especially when it comes to politics.
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Merrill Threatens Legal Actions Against Political Action Committees

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, October 21, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) issued a warning to groups who may attempt to use out of state Political Action Committees (PACs) to hide the source of their funds.

Secretary of State Merrill said, “It has been brought to the attention of the Secretary of State’s Office that there may be current plans to circumvent the reporting requirements of the Alabama Fair Campaign Practices Act by utilizing out-of-state PACs and the reporting requirements of other states to hide the source of contributions to Alabama campaigns.”
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Bentley Comments on AEA Ruling

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Once, the most powerful political entity in the state of Alabama, the Alabama Education Association (AEA) has had a string of defeats and down moments, since that fateful election of 2010, when then Alabama Republican Party Chairman State Representative Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) led a GOP tidal wave against 130 years of Democratic Party rule and 35+ years of AEA domination.

Wednesday’s ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals probably ended any hope that AEA had that they were going to continue to receive State payroll help in collecting union dues from their membership.
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Legislative Republican Leadership Stands In Agreement with Obama

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Few Republicans in legislative leadership admit sharing common cause with President Barack Obama, but when it comes to charter schools and Common Core they are in full agreement.

It might come as a surprise to many conservatives that Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) agree with the President when it comes to Common Core and charter schools.
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Charter Schools Are Coming

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—For years, State Republicans have touted Charter schools as the cure all for education. But, is it really the silver bullet that will fix the system, just another way for the elites to make money, or a mixed bag of both?

In a press release announcing legislation to create charter schools in the State, Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh admits it is not a cure all or a silver bullet, but gives “community leaders another tool in their belt, ensures that no child’s dreams are limited by a lack of educational opportunities.”
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Mabry Says his Fate is an Internal Matter

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Despite the attack by his predecessor, Secretary Mabry insists that former AEA Executive Secretary Hubbert is still his friend and mentor. Marby insisted that the AEA will handle its business internally and not in the press. Sec. Mabry said in a written statement, “The issues raised in that letter are matters internal to our association and we have policies and procedures in place for dealing with such matters,” the statement said. “I respect Dr. Hubbert as a mentor and a friend. But these issues must be handled by the elected leadership of AEA, not in the press.”
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Gov. Bentley Sets the Record Straight

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Last week, State media created a firestorm after publishing statements attributed to Gov. Robert Bentley. It appeared as if the Governor planned to call a special session of the Legislature to raid the Education Trust Fund (ETF) in order to pay for economic incentives to lure out-of-state businesses.

Later in the week, the Alabama Political Reporter spoke with Gov. Bentley in an effort to verify the facts behind the reports.
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