Money from BP is spent

March 1, 2017

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

We have unbelievable natural resources in Alabama starting with the Tennessee Valley and transcending to the beautiful white sands at Gulf Shores. Many of our natural resources have been exploited over the years. The prime example would be the exploitation of our rich vaults of iron ore discovered in Jefferson County in the early 20th Century. It created the city of Birmingham, the Steel City of the south.
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Zeigler and Morrow Appeal Ruling to Alabama Supreme Court

September 21, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, September 15, Judge Greg Griffin dismissed a lawsuit by State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) and State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay), who are seeking to block a controversial Bentley Administration plan to build a extravagant Hotel and Conference Center at Gulf State Park. The pair are now appealing that ruling.

Judge Griffin did not rule on the merits of the case, but rather that Zeigler and Morrow lack the appropriate legal standing to sue Gov. Robert Bentley (R) for allegedly exceeding the authority of his office under the 1901 Alabama Constitution.
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Senate To Continue Debate BP Bill

September 6, 2016

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—As the Senate gathers this week, using BP Settlement monies to pay back the State’s debts and assist in the Medicaid crisis will again be up for debate.

HB36, sponsored by House Ways and Means General Fund Chairman Representative Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) has already been approved by the House with a vote of 91-10. It passed out of Senate Committee late last month and was introduced on the floor. The bill creates an Economic Settlement Authority to issue $639 million in bonds payable by the BP Settlement funds. The bill would pay back $161 million borrowed in 2009 and $437 million from the Alabama Trust Fund borrowed in 2013 of which the State still owes $422 million. Both debts were incurred because of deficits in previous General Fund Budgets.
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House Passes BP Oil Settlement Raid to Prop Up Medicaid

August 18, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, August 17, 2016, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a plan to take the BP oil settlement revenue stream and sell it to investors for one time money. This scheme would prop up the troubled Alabama Medicaid program for another year and allow Alabama Governor to implement his vaunted Regional Care Organizations (RCOs), pay off some of the money that the State legislature has raided from the Alabama Trust Fund, and give South Alabama some much fought for road improvements.
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House Votes to Repeal Prescription Drug Tax

August 18, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In the 2015 Special Session, the Alabama legislature passed a new tax on the dispensing of prescriptions. The purpose of the tax was to raise more money for the beleaguered Alabama Medicaid program. On Wednesday August 17, 2016, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to repeal the tax after the US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) denied the request to allow the tax, which was costing Medicaid money. Since the federal government more than doubles the $700 million the state spends on the joint program most of the cost of the higher dispensing fees would have been federal dollars so CMS had veto power in the original 2015 legislation, which they chose to exercise.
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State Senator Says Bentley Breaking the Law with Gulf State Park Spending

June 30, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Firebrand Senator Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville) added an amendment to the Gulf State Park Project appropriations bill that sets a deadline for funding. It reads, “If the State of Alabama does not receive or has not been awarded any National Resource Damage Assessment funds or Restore Act funds for the purposes of this chapter by December 31, 2015, this chapter is repealed on January 1, 2016.”
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Sine Die! – “with all deliberate speed”

May 13, 2016

By Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey

When I struck the gavel for the Senate to adjourn Sine Die at midnight on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, the Senate completed its 30th and final legislative day of the 2016 Regular Session. Sine Die is a Latin phrase meaning “without day” that is, without designating the next day the legislature will meet; it is the final adjournment of a legislative session.

On the last day of the Session, my day began at 8:30 a.m. when I participated in a Legislative Council meeting.  Nearly 16 hours later, “with all deliberate speed,” the Legislature had completed its statutory requirement to meet 30 legislative days during 105 calendar days.
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GOP Leadership Suffered a Series of Legislative Setbacks in 2016 Session

May 5, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

For five years the tag team of Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) have had their way on bill after bill after bill. Whether it was the School Flexibility Act morphing into the Accountability Act, charter schools, raiding the Alabama Trust Fund, raising taxes for the General Fund, Medicare reform, ethics reforms, eliminating most of the limits on corporate donations, etc. anytime the two legislative leaders wanted to move legislation it moved and if they ran over some members of their own caucus to do it, well that was just collateral damage. 2016 was an entirely different experience.
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Representative Phil Williams Comments on Last Week

May 3, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Friday, April 29, State Representative Phil Williams (R-Huntsville) released a series of short statements on what he called, “The most stressful week of the session.”

The debate around whether or not the House should even consider a resolution to impeach embattled Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) for his conduct concerning: his relationship with Mrs. Rebekah Caldwell Mason; monies and other benefits paid to or on behalf of Mrs. Mason and/or her husband, Jon Mason; as well as Gov. Bentley’s firings of several Alabama Law Enforcement Agency officials for alleged misappropriation of ALEA resources, even though to date none of those officers have been even indicted.
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The BP Settlement Belongs to All of Alabama

April 5, 2016

 

By Thomas Scovill

SB267 is a bill proposed by Senator Hightower of Mobile County, to grab the State’s BP settlement money for road projects in Baldwin and Mobile Counties on the Gulf coast.

The $1 billion in the State settlement is just one of many settlements. Many individuals, businesses, and local governments have already gotten, or will get money in other settlements for their particular damages.
On top of this, in another settlement, Alabama is getting $1.3 billion for environmental damages, and most of that must necessarily be used where the damage to the environment is on the Gulf coast.
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