Alabama government: It’s not about you

May 23, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

It’s probably worth remembering that Alabama’s Legislators work for you.

The men and women who roam the halls of the State House, crafting legislation (or, more likely, copying it verbatim from some lobbyist) and running Alabama are representatives of us. All of us.

That means they’re supposed to be in Montgomery doing what we want, taking care of our needs.

I’ll pause while you recover from laughing hysterically.
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Legislative Session is winding down

May 8, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

There are only six Legislative days left in the 2017 Alabama Legislative Session. There is still an awful lot of work to do however.

The primary purpose of even having Legislative Sessions is to pass the budgets. The State General Fund (SGF) budget was passed in the Senate on Thursday. The House passed the Education Trust Fund (ETF) budget on Wednesday. Both Houses have now passed both budgets. Both Houses however have to vote on whether or not to concur with changes made by the other house.
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Mac McCutcheon says budgets, redistricting, prisons are priorities for remainder of Session

April 19, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, April 18, 2017, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) addressed the Alabama Federation of Young Republicans about his priorities for the remainder of the 2017 Legislative Session.

Speaker McCutcheon said that for the rest of the session, “Our priorities are the budgets.” There are just a few weeks left in the session. The education budget is in the House. We are working on that. The State General Fund has passed this House and is in the Senate. “Every year we go into a conference committee to work on the budget.”
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Gas tax increase bill is effectively dead

April 14, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, April 13, 2017, the Alabama House of Representatives rejected a bill supported by House leadership that would have raised fuel taxes on the people of Alabama by nine cents per gallon in three phases between September 1, 2017 and 2024.

Special interests including: the road builders, the trucking association, the County Commissioners Association, and BCA (the Business Council of Alabama) have been pushing massive new spending on road projects for months. Those efforts finally produced a much delayed bill on Thursday, April 6 in House Bill 487, sponsored by state Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa). House Leadership rushed the controversial bill through the Transportation, Utilities, and Infrastructure Committee before the press or the public had a chance to review the legislation. Instead of dealing with the Education Trust Fund budget, the leadership insisted on spending Thursday on this bill. It faced a buzz saw of opposition once on the floor of the House. Eventually it was carried over on the request of the sponsor before the BIR was even voted on.
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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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Gas Tax Could Return in Special Session

August 8, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The legislature goes back into session on August 15, 2016, to consider Governor Robert Bentley’s (R) lottery proposal to boost General Fund revenues; but that is not the only issue that could come up in the Special Session. Another issue that is likely to be brought up during the torrid, Summer Special Session, is that six-cents-a-gallon gas tax increase, that failed to pass in the 2016 Regular Session. Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) is still adamant that the State spent more money on roads and bridges.
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Farley Says He Can’t Support McCutcheon for Speaker

July 15, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, July 14, State Representative Allen Farley (R-McCalla) spoke to the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans at their regular monthly meeting at Sidebar on Birmingham’s Southside. When asked about the Speaker of the House race to replace disgraced former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, Rep. Farley said, “I cannot vote for Mac McCutcheon.”

Rep. Farley said that Rep. McCutcheon (R-Capshaw) was Mike Hubbard’s Rules Committee Chairman. Farey said that there needs to be change in the legislature and there won’t be if McCutcheon is Speaker. He will keep all the same committee chairman and nothing will change.
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Sine Die! – “with all deliberate speed”

May 13, 2016

By Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey

When I struck the gavel for the Senate to adjourn Sine Die at midnight on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, the Senate completed its 30th and final legislative day of the 2016 Regular Session. Sine Die is a Latin phrase meaning “without day” that is, without designating the next day the legislature will meet; it is the final adjournment of a legislative session.

On the last day of the Session, my day began at 8:30 a.m. when I participated in a Legislative Council meeting.  Nearly 16 hours later, “with all deliberate speed,” the Legislature had completed its statutory requirement to meet 30 legislative days during 105 calendar days.
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Gas Tax Hike is Dead for This Session

May 2, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Efforts in the legislature to increase State taxes collected on every gallon of fuel failed this week, due to a lack of support among members of the Legislature.

The sponsor of House Bill 394, Mac McCutcheon (R-Capshaw) told the Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman, that he did not bring the gas tax bill to the floor this session, “For the simple reason that we could not get cooperation from the Senate.”
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Who is the Enemy Now?

March 21, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

“We have met the enemy and he is us,” is a famous quote from the comic strip, Pogo, by Walt Kelly.

After the 2014 elections, this should be the unofficial motto of the Alabama Republican Party, especially the embattled, Legislative and Executive Branches.

Gov. Robert Bentley is battling the House, the House skirmishes with the Senate and the Senate with itself. These are just a few of the wars being waged on Goat Hill, and things are going to get a lot worse.
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