Daycare bill fails to make it past Senate floor despite last minute push

May 20, 2017

By Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

A bill that would have regulated non-licensed daycare facilities failed to get past the Senate floor despite the resolve of supporters Friday morning.

The bill would have brought daycare centers that received government subsidize around Alabama under the regulating power of the Department of Human Resources. Under existing law, there is no regulatory authority over these unlicensed daycare centers.

The bill initially faced opposition from those who said the bill would infringe upon religious liberty because some of these daycare centers are located in churches and non-profit religious schools.

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Autism Bill show worthy of the WWE

May 17, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

My mother was wrong.

For years, she told me that professional wrestling was a waste of time – a brain cell-melter. It was silly, she said, as she recommended that I use my time more wisely. I should be reading or studying or doing something to prepare me for life, she thought.

Well, she got it all wrong.

Turns out, that pro wrestling – or ‘wrasslin’ – prepared me just fine for my career. I couldn’t have picked a better way to get ready for a career covering the Alabama Legislature.
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Autism Bill passes Senate on Tuesday instead of Wednesday

May 17, 2017

Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate passed a bill that would require healthcare plans to cover Autism Spectrum Disorder treatments for people under 19.

Only children 9 and under are required to be covered currently.

The substituted version of a bill was unexpectedly introduced on the Senate floor. It was originally scheduled to be voted on Wednesday but it was put on Tuesday’s agenda as the first bill.

President Pro Tem Senator Del Marsh (R-Anniston) said the bill was introduced early because they had worked on the bill over the weekend and wanted to introduce it as soon as possible. Advocates of Autism coverage were planning on being present on Wednesday to see the bill voted on.
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House committee approves $845 million prison construction plan

May 16, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY  — The Alabama House Judiciary Committee has approved an ambitious, albeit controversial plan to build three new regional men’s prisons and a new women’s prison at a cost of up to $845 million, which would be financed through revenue bonds.

The committee voted Tuesday morning 9-5 to give the bill a favorable report. Rep. Mike Holmes (R-Wetumpka) and Rep. Allen Farley (R-McCalla) joined three Democrats on the committee to vote no against the plan sponsored by Sen. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster).

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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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Senators promise to blow-up session if there’s no vote on autism bill

May 5, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — An unlikely issue has become one of the most contentious topics in the State House this session: mandating insurance coverage for an autism spectrum therapy called applied behavioral analysis therapy.

The debate over a bill that would provide just that has many senators demanding a vote and some promising an inconvenient slowdown in Senate business if the opportunity for one isn’t provided. The bill’s supporters say the mandate is needed to ensure families can afford the important but expensive therapy.

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Details of new prison bill released, Gov’s office disputes costs

March 30, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Joined by a group of sheriffs and county lawmakers, Reps. Allen Farley and Johnny Mack Morrow introduced the outline for a new prison construction bill on Wednesday.

That bill would rely on sheriffs and local jails to house thousands of prisoners and limit costs on construction by focusing primarily on renovations and new facilities for counties.

“It’s the most common sense approach to this issue that I’ve seen,” said Rep. Mike Holmes, who attended the press conference. “It just makes so much more sense.”
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Bipartisan bill would give retirees a one-time bonus

January 11, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Some Republicans in the Senate and at least one Democrat in the State House of Representatives believe certain retired educators should receive a one-time, lump sum payment.

Republican Senator Gerald Dial, who is leading the charge, is joined by Senate colleagues Jimmy Holley, Jim McClendon, Steve Livingston, Tom Whatley and Cam Ward to sponsor SB3. In the House, Rep. Craig Ford is carrying an identical bill that will provide a one-time payment for former educators and beneficiaries who receive retirement benefits from the Teachers’ Retirement Systems (TRS). Read More

Insiders say Bentley has chosen Sessions’ replacement

December 19, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

During a Cabinet meeting last week, Gov. Robert Bentley said that well over one hundred individuals were seeking the US Senate seat, soon to be vacated by Sen. Jeff Sessions. Several present at the meeting believed Bentley slyly tipped his hand as to which individual currently holds the inside track for the appointment. Insiders say the die was cast weeks ago, and the interviews that began last week are a perfunctory charade.
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Sessions’ seat is object of desire, five top the list… for now

November 17, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

There are a number of individuals jockeying to replace Senator Jeff Sessions, should he resign to take a position in President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s administration. A vast army of office seekers is hoping to curry favor with Governor Robert Bentley, the one man who holds the key to Senatorial ascendancy. An administration insider claims there is a top five list from which Bentley will select Sessions’ replacement, should he step aside.
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