2018 might be better … cautious warning aside

December 29, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

When we look back over 2017, it would seem there is little cause for celebration, and yet, there are signs of a better year to come. As we ponder the coming year, here are some things to keep in mind.

Happening in the House

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon is showing that it is possible for now to lead the House of Representatives with the strength of conscience and not just political muscle or intimidation. The 2018 Regular Legislative Session should roll along without any great turmoil. Expect House members to enter the State House more united, but voters shouldn’t expect too much in the way of sweeping legislation as it is traditional to tamp down controversy before a general election. Instead, expect McCutcheon and his team to be teeing up the ball for 2019 with an emphasis on budgeting reform, infrastructure planning and a more inclusive agenda that doesn’t merely rely on National GOP talking points.

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Perspective | Reflecting on the top stories of Alabama politics in 2017

December 27, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

As 2017 comes to a close we reflect on the year in Alabama politics.  2017 was a remarkable year in Alabama politics.  For many of the most powerful figures in Alabama politics, it was a disastrous 2017, as the political situation was turned on its head.

No governor in Alabama has been impeached under the 1901 Constitution.  It has been over 100 years since Alabama impeached any statewide official.  That was a secretary of state and Civil War veteran accused of giving payments to a defeated primary opponent for an endorsement.  He was found not guilty by the Senate and kept his office.  Gov. Robert Bentley threatened to change that history over allegations of ethics and campaign finance allegations.  The Alabama Ethics Commission found that Bentley likely broke state laws in his relationship with his alleged mistress, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.  Two days later the House Judiciary Committee released a damning report on Bentley’s conduct alleging that he had misused state resources and then threatened and harassed witnesses of his alleged misconduct.  Three days later Bentley pleaded guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance law violations and resigned.  In 2014 Governor Bentley was re-elected in a cakewalk absolutely beloved by the voters of Alabama.  His administration crashed in utter ruin just 29 months later.  Lieutenant Gov. Kay Ivey became only the second woman governor in state history.  Joining Gov. Don Siegelman and Gov. Guy Hunt, three of the last seven Alabama governors have been convicted of crimes while in office.

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Alabama Society of CPAs endorses Justice Sellers for Supreme Court

December 8, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants endorsed Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Will Sellers ahead of the 2018 Republican primary.

“I’m overwhelmed with the endorsement from the Alabama Society of CPAs,” Sellers said. “Accountants know first-hand of the need for a stable legal and regulatory environment for business to prosper and expand. I’m honored by their endorsement and gratified by the support of so many of their members.”

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Alabama Accountability Act:  By the numbers

November 1, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

Now that we have several years of experience with the Alabama Accountability Act, let’s look as closely as possible at the numbers available to see what’s been done.

The legislation creating AAA was passed early in 2013 under rather mysterious conditions. Basically one bill went into a conference committee and a radically different one emerged a few hours later. It was as if you went to pick up your prom date, she met you at the door of her house all cute and bubbly and told you to wait a moment while she got her coat. And minutes later her mother shows up, wrinkles and all, and says “let’s go have fun.”

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Barry Moore says that the “Political Establishment” hates him

August 25, 2017

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, August 22, 2017, State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) is running for Congress and he is emphasizing his “outsider” credentials.

Rep. Moore said in a statement, “Well, it was no secret before, but it was made clear once again: the political Establishment hates me.  Last weekend, when one of our states largest lobbying entities invited politicians to come “wine and dine” at the beach, it was made abundantly clear that I would not be welcome.”
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BCA excludes the Zeiglers from Annual Governmental Affairs Conference

August 11, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, August 10, 2017, both State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) and his wife, State Board of Education member Jackie Zeigler (R), were excluded from the Annual Governmental Affairs Conference of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA).  The couple were the only two statewide elected officials excluded from the plush event at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear.  17 members of the State Legislature were also excluded this year.

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Breaking: Alabama Power pulls support from BCA Governmental Affairs Conference

August 9, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Political Reporter has confirmed Alabama Power Company executives notified Bill Canary, CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, that the power giant would not support the upcoming BCA Governmental Affairs Conference in Point Clear and that its employees would not attend the event, according to sources with high level access.

Those with knowledge of the incident say Canary was stunned by the call, querying why Alabama Power was abandoning the conference. He was informed that there were a number of reasons but chief among them was his leadership style, which has led to many Legislative failures. Insiders say the company sees Canary as a liability that it can no longer ignore.

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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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Gas tax bill expected on floor of House today

April 13, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

House Bill 487 sponsored by Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) raises taxes on fuel in three phases across Alabama over the next seven years. HB487 is on the calendar to be voted on in the Alabama House of Representatives today. The money would be used to pay down a massive $2.4 billion new bond debt.

State Representative Isaac Whorton (R-Valley) asked Facebook followers and constituents, “Please take a look at the gas tax bill below. Short version is that this bill would provide for a 4 cent tax increase in 2017, 2 cent in 2019, and 3 cent automatic increase in 2024 unless there is a joint resolution to remove the 3 cent increase. The bill would authorize the issuance of a total of $2.4 Billion dollars in a bond or a series of bonds to be paid over the next 20 years. Bond rates are about 4.25 percent at this time. The debt service at that rate would be approximately $179 million annually if issued as one bond…if the rates were to increase to 5 percent, the debt service climbs to $191 million. Of course, there are always costs involved in borrowing money and a fair estimate of that cost is around 1 percent of the bond amount. Half of the borrowed amount would be divided between counties and municipalities and half would go to ALDOT. The percentage division between counties and cities is currently being negotiated (started at 20 percent to cities bit I think it may be 30 percent now).”
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