Gas tax increase bill is effectively dead

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?

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

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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Federal Grand Jury probe may focus on EPA Superfund, BCA involvement

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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Want Mike Hubbard on your voicemail?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

What’s a convicted felon to do while out on bond?

If you’re the disgraced felon, and former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, you offer to be “the voice” of products and services. In a letter widely distributed to media companies, Hubbard wrote, “Performing voice-overs for various projects has been one of my favorite and most enjoyable jobs during my career in collegiate sports and broadcasting.”
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Nixonian plots, half-wit schemes

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The scheme to defame the State’s former top law enforcement officer, Spencer Collier, is very similar to the New Jersey “Bridgegate” trial that has seen two of Governor Chris Christies’s allies convicted of using state resources and personnel for political retribution.

Now, an investigation by Senators Gerald Dial and Quintin Ross has discovered that a “dirty tricks” operation used State assets and employees to derail the election of Dr. Craig Pouncey as Alabama’s school superintendent in much the same way.
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We Can’t Expect Change Without Voting For It, Too

By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, Joe Lovvorn narrowly prevailed in a field of four candidates for the GOP nomination to fill former Speaker Mike Hubbard’s seat in the Alabama House of Representatives. Hubbard vacated his seat under State law when he was convicted of more felonies than you can count on both hands.

Campaign finance records show that Lovvorn was backed by many of the same high-dollar Montgomery brokers who rolled Hubbard into power.
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Who Will Be McCutcheon’s Wise Counsel?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Last week, intense debate over the lottery bill roiled the Senate Chamber. The State House, especially on the fifth floor, seemed to exude a new confidence; a possibility of change.

Speaker Mac McCutcheon set the tone when he said, “the days of the Imperial Speakership are over” and pledged to reclaim the House of Representatives as the people’s House.

One long-serving staffer observed, “I haven’t seen it this way in years, it’s like it was before people were afraid. People are laughing and enjoying being here again.”
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Anonymous Accusations Against Superintendent Candidate

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Earlier this week, the Alabama Political Reporter asked why the Ethics Commission had inserted itself into the selection process for the next State Superintendent of the Department of Education.

Building upon the investigation into what appears to be a smear campaign against Dr. Craig Pouncey, a candidate for superintendent. New information indicates the Ethics Commission was an unwitting participant in the scheme to derail Pouncey’s candidacy, according to multiple sources.
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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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