Senate OKs Republican redistricting plan against wishes of black lawmakers

May 5, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Senate Republicans on Thursday passed a new legislative redistricting plan that will adjust more than 20 Senate districts. The plan passed against the wishes of black lawmakers who argued the plan doesn’t fairly divide Jefferson County or fully repair racial gerrymandering problems.

The new legislative districts come after a January three-judge federal court ruling found that 12 of the state’s legislative districts were unconstitutional because lawmakers improperly used race to draw district lines.

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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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A dumb political scheme

January 19, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Political schemes are dirty.

The backroom dealings, backstabbing, lies, trickery, illegal acts and coverups represent the absolute worst in our government system.

But successful schemes – the ones that deftly block an appointment or shut down a multi-million-dollar deal or backdoor some cash for politician’s brother-in-law, they take smarts.

And that’s what makes this scheme to keep Craig Pouncey from becoming the State’s Superintendent of Schools so offensive – the unbelievable stupidity of it. Read More

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

The irony of righteous indignation

December 16, 2016

Education Matters
By Larry Lee

When State Superintendent of Education Mike Sentance told the State School Board Dec. 8, that the Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Education had determined that the State’s high school graduation rate was inaccurate, reaction was swift and true to form.

Members of the Legislature who consistently oppose public education were quick to tell media that there should be consequences for deceiving the public. (Would this include the 22 senators and 51 house members who voted for the Alabama Accountability Act in 2013 and told the public that this was all about “helping poor kids stuck in failing schools by their zip codes?”)
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Nixonian plots, half-wit schemes

November 14, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

The scheme to defame the State’s former top law enforcement officer, Spencer Collier, is very similar to the New Jersey “Bridgegate” trial that has seen two of Governor Chris Christies’s allies convicted of using state resources and personnel for political retribution.

Now, an investigation by Senators Gerald Dial and Quintin Ross has discovered that a “dirty tricks” operation used State assets and employees to derail the election of Dr. Craig Pouncey as Alabama’s school superintendent in much the same way.
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Political Deceit Laid Bare

November 11, 2016

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The conversation in room 727 of the Alabama State House on Thursday afternoon had turned into something halfway between comedy and unchecked disbelief.

Standing before a Senate committee chaired by Sens. Gerald Dial and Quinton Ross, Hugh Evans, the longtime General Counsel for Alabama’s Ethics Commission, was attempting to explain why he and the Commission decided to publicly announce an investigation based solely on an anonymous complaint.
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Ethics Commission Continues To Issue Opinions Contrary To Law

April 11, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

It is almost laughable and tragically so to use the word “ethics” when referring to the commission charged with overseeing the State’s ethics laws. In a recent opinion concerning Rep. Randy Davis (R-Daphne), the ethics commission approved Davis’ request to take a job from a principal with business before the State. This is not the first time this so-called “ethics” commission has issued an opinion that would allow lawmakers to receive “a thing of value” from a principal. The last time it was forced to reverse itself under pressure from the State’s Attorney General and District Attorneys.
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Subpoenas Being Served for Hubbard Trial

April 7, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The beginnings of what will eventually become a very long list of potential witnesses in the Mike Hubbard felony trial began on Tuesday as subpoenas were being sent out. These first subpoenas we believe are for witnesses for the prosecution. Among those who may testify are State Senators, House members, mayors and others with state education ties. Thus far, those who received subpoenas are Senators Gerald Dial, Jimmy Holley, and Paul Bussman.
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Unwired, Rewired or Dead Wired?

March 10, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—For years, Senators Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) and Jim McClendon (R-Springville) have worked tirelessly to bring twenty-first century technology to Alabama’s school children. With their goal in sight, Gov. Robert Bentley added an executive amendment to the bill passed by the House and Senate, potentially killing the bill altogether.

Dial said that he and McClendon are working hard to make sure the children of the State are going to have the advantages of first-rate technology, are moving forward with a plan and will not stop fighting for the bill.
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