Senate committee approves bill to allow display of Ten Commandments on public property

February 9, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

An Alabama Senate committee approved a bill Thursday that will allow for the public display of the Ten Commandments on public property including government building grounds and public schools.

The bill, by Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, received a unanimous vote from the Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections committee after Democrats pushed for an amendment to allow for the placement of other religious displays that express faith or religious belief.

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Ivey’s General Fund budget bill introduced in State Senate

January 17, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Gov. Kay Ivey’s proposed General Fund budget dropped in the Senate Tuesday.

The bill, which funds Alabama’s non-education agencies, is being carried by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, who chairs the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee.

Ivey’s proposal would bring a 9.5 percent increase for the General Fund budget from $1.88 billion last year to $2 billion this year. The State Medicaid Agency, the largest recipient of General Fund appropriations, would see a $53.8 million increase or 7.6 percent.

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State Rep. Corley Ellis to join education budget-writing committee

December 28, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, has appointed State Rep. Corley Ellis, R-Columbiana, to the influential committee responsible for writing the Education Trust Fund budget, which appropriates more than $6 billion in funding for Alabama’s public schools and colleges.

Ellis will serve as the House Ways and Means Education Committee’s newest Republican member.

“Rep. Ellis possesses a deep commitment to public education and a keen businessman’s eye to the financial bottom line, the combination of which make him well-qualified to serve on the budget committee,” McCutcheon said in a statement.  “I am confident he will render valuable service to the parents, students, educators, and administrators across the spectrum of Alabama’s public education system.”

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Shelby praises SEC appointment of William Duhnke to be PCAOB chairman

December 13, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., made a statement supporting the Securities and Exchange Commission’s appointment of William D. Duhnke III to be chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

“Chairman Clayton has made an excellent choice in selecting Bill Duhnke to be the next chairman of the PCAOB,” said Sen. Shelby. “His intellect and experience ensure his future success in this role. I have relied on Bill’s professional advice and leadership for 20 years, and I know he will be an asset as the Board works to improve audit quality and promote public trust.”

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Firearms Committee holds public hearing on a permit-less carry

December 1, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, November 30, 2017, the Commission on 21st Century Firearms Laws met for the third time to review the state of Alabama’s laws on firearms and consider possible legislation in the 2018 regular legislative session.

In the last Legislative Session, state Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, introduced a bill that would give every adult Alabamian, who is allowed to possess firearms, the right to carry their firearms concealed without having to purchase a concealed carry permit from their county’s Sheriff Department.  The bill passed the Senate but was buried in a subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee. Allen has re-introduced his bill for the 2018 session as Senate Bill 3.

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Accountability Act receives favorable report from Committee

April 12, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, April 11, 2017, the Alabama House Ways and Means Education Committee gave a favorable report to SB123. SB123 is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston). This newest version of the Alabama Accountability Act has already passed the Alabama Senate and could move to the House floor as early as Thursday.

The Accountability Act allows a child in one of the State’s many failing public schools to accept a scholarship to attend a private school. The landmark school choice program has been a major Marsh initiative for years.
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Alabama Representative: “There’s nobody in our State prisons just for marijuana.”

March 20, 2017

Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Representative Phillip Pettus (R-Killen) said there were zero people in Alabama’s prison system for solely marijuana during a committee meeting.

Pettus’ comments came during a House Judicial Committee Meeting on Wednesday during a public hearing for a new bill that would make possessing 1 ounce or less of marijuana a finable offense.

“There’s nobody in our state prisons just for marijuana,” Pettus said.

Immediately after Pettus’ comment, Representative Patricia Todd (D-Montgomery), who was attending the meeting, quietly disputed Pettus from her seat in the audience.
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Bill to limit Disability exemptions for expensive homes gets favorable report

March 9, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, February 8, 2017, the Senate General Fund Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would prevent owners of homes worth over $200,000 from being able to get an ad valorem tax exemption if they become disabled. Senate Bill 226 is sponsored by Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), who chairs the Senate General Fund Committee.

Senator Pittman said, “I had a mayor call me and he had a constituent that was complaining about city services. The mayor got to looking and found that that constituent was exempt from paying property taxes. He looked further and 7 or 8 of the houses in that community were exempt from paying ad valorem taxes. He asked me to bring this bill. What this does is put an assessed value of $200,000 limit on that. I think this is a reasonable. You need to pay for the cost of your governor.”
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Senate committee unable to determine leak of Pouncey ethics complaint

March 6, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — A committee headed by Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) was unable to get to the bottom of who publicly distributed a letter last summer confirming a complaint against then-State Superintendent candidate Craig Pouncey.

In a presentation to the State Senate on Thursday, Dial said his committee interviewed at least 16 members of the State Board of Education and the Alabama Ethics Commission about the leak. The public leak prompted Pouncey to file a lawsuit for defamation.

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Cooperative housing bill receives favorable report

February 16, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, February 15, 2017, the Alabama House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to House Bill 72 sponsored by State Representative Chris Pringle (R-Mobile).

House Bill 72, Alabama Cooperate Housing Corporation Act of 2017 would establish guidelines for cooperatives, a form of ownership of real property in which legal title is vested in a corporation or other entity, and the cooperative unit’s occupants receive an exclusive right to occupy the unit.
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