Bipartisan bill would give retirees a one-time bonus

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

Craig Ford Calls on Joe Reed and Nancy Worley to Resign

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, October 18, Alabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) called on powerful Democratic Party boss Joe Reed and Chairwoman Nancy Worley both to step down as the leaders of the Alabama Democratic Party.

State Representative Ford said in a statement on Facebook, “I appreciate the service of our party’s leaders, but it’s time for Joe Reed and Nancy Worley to step down.”

There is a lot of discussion about Ford being the Democratic Party’s candidate for Governor in the 2018 election. Ford is the most powerful Democratic legislator in the Alabama House of Representatives; but given the Republican super majority, being the most powerful Democrat has a lot of limitations.
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Reaction to Senate’s Killing of Lottery Bill

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, August 25, as the debate in the Alabama House of Representatives raged on, about what their version of lottery bill SB3 should look like, and as more amendments were added, it became increasingly doubtful that the House and the Senate would be able to bridge the chasm between the two and concur.

The Senate appointed a conference committee just after midnight, when the House finally passed the bill on a reconsider motion (it originally failed). Instead, the Senate recessed until 10 am and promptly recessed again for two hours. When they came back, Democratic Senators, whose support had been essential to passing the bill in the first place, began filibustering the bill. After another recess the Senate voted “NO” on concurring with the bill and did not appoint a conference committee to resolve the issues with the House. SB3 is dead and there is not enough legislative days left in the Special Session (three) to pass a new bill from scratch or even those other lottery bills that were introduced but not yet acted upon by committees in their house of origin.
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The Next Speaker of the House Should Not Be Chosen Behind Closed Doors

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

When former Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard, was convicted on 12 felony counts of corruption, he was immediately removed from office. Now, the state House of Representatives must elect a new speaker.

The state constitution requires legislators to hold a public vote to elect the next speaker, but the reality is that, unless there is a public outcry, the next speaker of the House will have already been chosen in a private meeting held behind closed doors months before the legislature returns to Montgomery.
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Ford Says that Bentley May Have Obstructed Justice

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

“In the Criminal Justice System, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”

Anyone who has watched the long running crime drama, “Law and Order,” understands how this works. Police respond to and investigate crimes and the prosecutors work with them to build and prove those cases in the court of law. The two separate but equally important groups of professionals work together in service to the people they protect. In the state of Alabama our police are the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and our prosecutors are the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. Anyone familiar with the TV show (or the real life operations of the American justice system) knows that if a prosecutor asks a law enforcement officer for a sworn affidavit about something in a criminal case the state is working on the officer complies with that request routinely.
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Educators Deserve A Raise, But The Proposed Merit Pay Bill Has Serious Flaws

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

When the state Legislature returns to Montgomery in two weeks, one of the top issues will be a cost-of-living pay raise for educators. Both parties agree that the money is there, and now is the time. But there are some major differences between what both party’s are proposing.

House Democrats will propose a 5 percent pay raise for all teachers, support personnel and retirees. The bill some Republicans are working on is much different. It would not only fundamentally change how teachers are paid, but would also create an expensive and intrusive new bureaucracy.
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Ace In Your Face

By Amy Elizabeth McGhee

As budget woes continue to cripple the State of Alabama, one thing remains consistent: The slow moving, stinky sludge that continues to clog the pipes in the Alabama State legislature when it comes to Alabama lottery and gaming legislation.  As lawmakers scramble around the immediate, viable economic solutions that a lottery and gaming expansion offers, the people of this State are left to suffer. It is time for politics to be set aside. It’s time for a conversation – A conversation that might make many uncomfortable, but one that must happen.
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Alabamians Want A Lottery, But Not A Blank Check Lottery

By Rep. Craig Ford

As droves of Alabamians flooded into Tennessee, Georgia and Florida for a chance to win the $1.6 billion Powerball, it’s obvious the people of Alabama want to play the lottery.

People in 44 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands are all allowed to purchase lottery tickets. Alabama is one of just six states that don’t have a lottery.

Instead, every year, Alabama sends hundreds-of-millions of dollars to other states to play their lotteries; spending our money to pay for those states’ government services, and to send their kids to college at our expense.
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Republicans Should Leave Teachers’ Retirement Alone

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford 

It’s been a rough year for the powers that be in Montgomery.

There have been more than a few bad headlines this year, and we only avoided a government shutdown after three costly legislative sessions that led to an $80 million raid on public education and $86 million in new taxes.

The wheels have clearly come off the bus in Montgomery, and that can only mean one thing: time to distract the taxpayers.
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Remembering Our Educators This Thanksgiving

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

In our house at Thanksgiving, our family likes to sit around the table and name the things we are thankful for in our life. Of course, everyone always names the big things like family, our freedom and so on. But the things that I’m most thankful for are the people in my life who have made a difference: the people I work with, those serving in the church and the military just to name a few. But this year, I am especially thankful for our educators.
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