The Session’s biggest loser

May 24, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The 2017 Legislative Session saw the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) fail to deliver on its stated agenda. The State’s so-called powerful business lobby is the Session’s biggest loser. Only Governor Kay Ivey can give them a win.

BCA’s push for an infrastructure package collapsed, as did the latest Triple-A education giveaway. Its team of lobbyists couldn’t stop the anti-gay adoption Legislation, or the Autism Bill from passage despite their best efforts (They did manage to kill the Gun Bill).
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Politics continue to overrule ethics

May 15, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The State Legislature begins its four-day sprint to the finish this Tuesday. To-date, 1025 bills were introduced over the 27 days, and still, there is much more to be accomplished. The Legislative leadership hopes to sine die on Friday, ending a drama-filled Session that saw Governor Robert Bentley resign, Governor Ivey sworn in, topping the melee of competing interests that always seems to accompany a Legislative Session.
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Cowardly politics and the almost certain death of the Autism Therapy Bill

May 9, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Autism therapy bill is politics at its worst.

Actually, scratch that.

It’s politics in its most cowardly form.

Because right now, the bill that would require insurance companies in Alabama to offer coverage of Autism therapy is all but dead.

Not because the public doesn’t want it – they quite clearly do.

Not because a majority of Legislators are against it – it passed 100-0 in the House and would win a similar landslide in the Senate.
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Ivey Administration waylaid by privateers and scalawags

May 8, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Over the past 18 months, political upheaval in Alabama has ruined lives, shattered faith in our institutions and still the stench of corruption hangs around the neck of the body politic like a rotting corpse.

Russell Kirk, one of the founders of the traditional conservative movement in America in the late 20th Century believed, “A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society whatever political machinery it may utilize.” He also rightly surmised, “[A] society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society.”
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The best “Justice” money could buy

May 1, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

When Gov. Kay Ivey announced that Lyn Stuart would lead Alabama’s Judicial system as Supreme Court Chief Justice, she said, “To ensure a continuity of leadership and a smooth transition that keeps the ship of State steady, I have appointed Justice Lyn Stuart as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.”

Stuart was appointed as Acting Chief Justice by then Gov. Robert Bentley after the Judicial Inquiry Commission suspiciously found probable cause to charge Chief Justice Moore with ethics violations that led to his removal from office. Stuart’s actions during the period in which she served as Acting Chief Justice would seem to cast a large shadow over the Ivey Administration’s campaign for transparency and honesty while righting the ship of State.
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Gas tax increase bill is effectively dead

April 14, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, April 13, 2017, the Alabama House of Representatives rejected a bill supported by House leadership that would have raised fuel taxes on the people of Alabama by nine cents per gallon in three phases between September 1, 2017 and 2024.

Special interests including: the road builders, the trucking association, the County Commissioners Association, and BCA (the Business Council of Alabama) have been pushing massive new spending on road projects for months. Those efforts finally produced a much delayed bill on Thursday, April 6 in House Bill 487, sponsored by state Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa). House Leadership rushed the controversial bill through the Transportation, Utilities, and Infrastructure Committee before the press or the public had a chance to review the legislation. Instead of dealing with the Education Trust Fund budget, the leadership insisted on spending Thursday on this bill. It faced a buzz saw of opposition once on the floor of the House. Eventually it was carried over on the request of the sponsor before the BIR was even voted on.
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Will Poarch Creek casino money return Hubbard to power?

April 12, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

New information about a reported agreement between convicted felon Mike Hubbard and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) came to light over the weekend. The Tribe has is believed to have agreed to pay all of Hubbard’s legal fees past, present, and future if the once-powerful Speaker of the House helps them elect a majority of like-minded lawmakers who will grant a Compact, giving them Vegas-style casino gambling rights in Alabama.
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Gas Tax increase on the fast track in Montgomery

April 12, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

A number of powerful special interests spoke in favor of House Bill 487, which would raise taxes on the gas and diesel fuel that Alabamians purchase every day to commute to and from work, church, school, and play.

HB487 is sponsored by state Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa). Rep. Poole spoke at a public hearing on HB487 in the Transportation, Utilities & Infrastructure Committee.

Rep. Poole told the committee, “This is a very important public policy piece of legislation. I ultimately came to the conclusion that this is the right thing to do for the economy of Alabama.”
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New gas tax bill introduced

April 10, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Supporters of raising the taxes on Alabama’s gasoline and diesel fuel have introduced another bill that they hope to pass this session while all the focus is on the impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley. The Alabama Road and Bridge Rehabilitation and Improvement Authority would be established to finance road and bridge rehabilitation and improvements and issue $2.4 billion in new bond debt. All the new tax money would be pledged to pay down the debt. Supporters are calling this massive building works project ATRIP-II and would be administered similarly to the old ATRIP program. House Bill 487 was introduced by State Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa).
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Federal Grand Jury probe may focus on EPA Superfund, BCA involvement

March 30, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The presence of a Federal Grand Jury meeting at the Vance Federal Building in Birmingham was revealed through tweets from al.com’s John Archibald and Kyle Whitmire. The duo also stated on Twitter that State Sen. J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) testified before the panel for around two hours. While the nature of the Federal probe isn’t clear, it is believed to have some connection to the Birmingham Water Works, the 35th Avenue Superfund site, and other Federal grant money flowing into the Magic City and surrounding county. There is also a focus on the Business Council of Alabama’s (BCA) role in a joint resolutions opposing the Superfund site.
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