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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Statewide digital campaign launched by conservative group

February 19, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A new advocacy group aims to hold Republican politicians accountable when they stray from conservative principles.

Conservatives for Better Leadership is “dedicated to fostering a more competitive and prosperous Alabama,” according to the recently formed 501(c)4 headed by advocate and publisher Apryl Marie Fogel.

“We believe that conservative fiscal policies and a strong culture of ethics in state government will make Alabama a better place to live, work and raise a family, wrote Fogel in announcing the project. “When public officials fall short of these goals, we intend to hold them accountable.”
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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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Judge appointed to federal court among those who have yet to rule on Hubbard’s appeal

February 12, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals Associate Judge Liles C. Burke is one of four members on the court who has not ruled on former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard’s appeal on 12 counts of felony public corruption. The court has been in procession of the final appeals arguments for some seven months — much longer than an average case, even capital murder.

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There’s no law to prohibit cops from having sex with detainees in Alabama

February 9, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

When 18-year-old Anna was handcuffed and arrested by two on-duty undercover police officers, little did she realize that for the next few hours she would repeatedly be raped by the two men, according to her statements. The officers’ defense, for engaging in sex with a handcuffed detainee was, it was consensual.

Alabama is one of 35 states that allows on-duty police officers to engage in sex with a detainee as long as there is consent. According to an attorney for the state, there isn’t a specific statute that addresses the issue of detainee consent. Alabama does have a statute forbidding sex with inmates in state prisons.

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Survey shows Twinkle has healthy early lead in lieutenant governor’s race

February 9, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

If Alabama’s race for Lieutenant Governor were held today, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, current president of the Alabama Public Service Commission, would best her competition by double-digits according to a new poll released by Public Opinion Strategies.

In a statewide survey conducted Feb. 3, 5 and 6, among 500 likely GOP primary voters, Cavanaugh had a 74 percent name ID, leading the field by over 50 points with only around 20 percent having heard of either of her rivals, State Senator Rusty Glover or State Representative Will Ainsworth.

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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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Under guise of economic development, legislation would open door for public officials to lobby government

January 29, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

New legislation in the Alabama House of Representatives would alter the definition of lobbyist and lobbying in such a way as to open the floodgates for public officials to use their office for personal gain under the guise of economic development.

Behind HB317 is Republican Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, who most recently appeared as a witness before a Montgomery County special grand jury investigating potential public corruption in an economic development deal during former Gov. Robert Bentley’s administration.

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