Opinion | The importance of civil asset forfeiture

February 12, 2018

By Brian McVeigh and Dave Sutton

The Alabama Legislature is considering legislation that would change the way civil asset forfeitures are handled in Alabama. While well-meaning, some of the proposed changes would essentially gut what is an effective crime-fighting tool while making it easier for drug dealers and other criminals to hang on to their ill-gotten gains. The result would be more crime.

Unfortunately, several special interest groups have pushed a narrative that law enforcement – police, sheriffs and other authorities – are using civil asset forfeiture to unfairly take money and property from innocent Alabamians.

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Ethics Commission could pull back veil on BCA conference donations

February 7, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Ethics Commission will vote on an opinion Wednesday morning that will change the way multiple-sponsor events report gifts to lawmakers and state employees, a ruling that would close a loophole in Alabama’s ethics laws that has benefited the Business Council of Alabama.

For years now, the BCA has held an annual summer retreat at Point Clear, at which lawmakers are wined and dined and provided free rooms for themselves and their spouses. To cover the costs, the BCA solicits donations from a number of sponsors.

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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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The changing of Alabama’s judicial system

January 17, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

State Sen. Cam Ward is still trying to fix Alabama’s judicial system.

He doesn’t put it that way. The Republican state senator from Shelby County instead just keeps saying he has a problem with this thing or that thing, and he wants to fix it all.

Like charging 13- and 14-year-olds court costs and fees. That’s a thing Ward wants to fix.

Because we do that in Alabama — charge 13-year-olds court costs. We hit juveniles with some of the same fees that we charge adults. Except, adults have jobs and various means to repay those costs. Children don’t.

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Audri Scott Williams announces run for Congressional District 2

October 12, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Saturday, September 30, 2017, Audri Scott Williams, Global Trustee for URI (United Religions Initiative) announced that she was running as a Democrat for Alabama’s Second Congressional Seat in 2018.  That seat is currently held by U.S. Representative Martha Roby, R-Montgomery.

Williams said in a statement, “I’m running because we’ve been neglected by politicians who’ve placed party interests before public interests.  We’ve been neglected by those in power who looked away from the lost factories and underpaying jobs, who turned a blind eye to rising premiums and the return of preexisting conditions, who let our veterans languish in conditions that are beneath their service, and who’ve normalized the lack of accountability in Washington.“

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Strange said Senate may change House Healthcare Act “a lot”

May 9, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Sunday, May 7, 2017, US Senator Luther Strange (R-Alabama) said that the Senate is going to change the American Health Care Act that recently passed out of the US House of Representatives.

Sen. Strange said that in the US Senate, the bill will change and, “Well, it could be a lot. We are now analyzing what the House did.” Sen. Strange called the House bill, “A first step.”
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Who Will Be McCutcheon’s Wise Counsel?

August 22, 2016

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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We Can Do Big Things If We Do Them Together

June 7, 2016

Rep. Darrio Melton

On June 4, 1968, California voters went to the polls and resoundingly supported a man who has been regarded as an icon of their generation: Robert F. Kennedy. Only four hours after the polls closed, Kennedy declared victory and addressed his supporters. As he made his way out of the ballroom, he was shot and fatally wounded.

On the anniversary of his death and the eve of the California primary, I can’t help but think about the legacy “Bobby” left, summarized succinctly in one of his most famous quotes: “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”
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Lottery: The Easiest Vote is to “Let the People Vote”

February 11, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—A packed room on the third floor of the State House was the scene for a public hearing, on a constitutional amendment that would change State law prohibiting a lottery.

The Alabama 1901 Constitution specifically forbids a State lottery. Sen. Jim McClendon’s bill is written to allow the people to vote on amending that portion, and nothing more. McClendon listened more than he spoke as opponents lined up to denounce the constitutional amendment. During the hearing, McClendon, considered a solid conservative, recalled a saying by legendary Secretary of the Senate, McDowell Lee, who said, “The easest vote in the legislature is the one to let the people vote.”
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Group Opposed to Marsh’s Controversial Tenure Reform Bill Starts Petition

January 20, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

 

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R from Anniston) has shared a couple of drafts of a controversial ‘tenure reform’ bill.  The 49 page Rewarding Advancement in Instruction and Student Excellence (RAISE) Act would two career tracks for new teachers and would fundamentally change how public school teachers are compensated in the state of Alabama moving forward.

Some educators and school boards have expressed opposition to parts of the bill.
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