The people want to vote

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

During the past couple of months everywhere I go people continually ask me why in the world the legislature could not simply put the issue of whether they could vote for or against a lottery on the November ballot.

The fact that this inquiry has lingered for this long tells me that folks are upset about this travesty. They are mad at the legislature. However, the blame lies with the governor. Read More

As Trump gives one trillion to states for aging infrastructure, please someone other than Bentley serve as the Alabama conduit

By State Auditor Jim Zeigler

President Donald Trump is rapidly moving to release one trillion dollars to the states to refurbish aging infrastructure. There will be some competition. The states must submit proposals. The plans for how to spend the money are up to each state to devise, subject to light approval by the Trump administration.

Please, please some Alabama leader other than Gov. Robert Bentley step forward as the contact for Alabama’s share. Read More

Prison bill could be defining moment

By House Minority Leader Craig Ford

Prisons could be the issue that defines the Alabama Legislature in 2017. Gov. Bentley has said he may call a special session to address the issue, and has indicated that he will revive the prison construction bill he first proposed in his 2016 State of the State address.

In recent years, numerous lawsuits have been filed relating to the conditions in our prisons. Violence and riots have increased as the number of corrections officers has decreased, and even the federal government has begun an investigation of violence, rape and overcrowding in our prisons.
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Follow-Up questions to Gov. Bentley

By State Auditor Jim Zeigler

A reporter for WSFA-TV news asked Gov. Bentley a simple, straight-forward question. Bentley’s reply was a Vesuvian eruption.

Newsman Michael Doudna asked if Bentley were going to re-hire Rebekah Mason, former senior policy adviser and alleged girlfriend of Bentley. That simple question set off Bentley with his tirade about why the reporter was interested in that topic and Bentley’s allegation (incorrect) that the public is not interested in it “as long as I am serving them.” Who says Bentley is serving the public?
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Good News: A Sine Die Solution for the Special Session

By State Auditor Jim Zeigler

As I give reports to the people about what is going on in Montgomery, too often I have to bear BAD NEWS. Today, is an exception. I bring very GOOD NEWS from Montgomery.

A solution has surfaced for the reported shortfall in the state’s Medicaid budget.

On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee favorably reported a compromise bill to distribute the approximately $850 million dollars from the BP oil spill settlement. The compromise may be debated on the House floor today and could be voted on this week.
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Rep. Morrow Rips Governor’s Request For Bi-Partisanship

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Just days before the 2016 Special Legislative Session, Republican Governor Robert Bentley sent a letter to all members of the Legislature, asking they put aside polls and political parties and “consider only the people we serve.”

In reply, Representative Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay) wrote Bentley saying, “That request coming from you is laughable.”

SEE LETTER

Morrow’s letter, which was delivered to Bentley on the first day of Session, bluntly accuses the Governor of always playing party politics, from the Accountability Act to the selection of a new State Superintendent of Education.
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Contract Review Thursday

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Alabama’s Medicaid agency is asking contract review to approve a $1,199,750.00 increase with Optumas an Arizona-based health care reform consulting group. The contract would total $3,199,250.00.

Optumas reform proposals in 2013 led to 23 words which would have given American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (APCI) a monopoly over Alabama’s Medicaid pharmacy benefit management program.

In 2013 Optumas’ analysis showed Medicaid would achieve a significant saving under a pharmacy benefit management program.
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Gov. Bentley Wants Taxpayers to Pay Legal Fees

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY— Former “Top Cop” Spencer Collier is suing Governor Robert Bentley and Stan Stabler (Collier’s replacement) in a civil lawsuit as individual citizens and not in their official government capacity. However, today, Bentley and Stabler will ask the Legislative Contract Review Board to approve $150,000 for lawyers to represent them.

Bentley and Stabler want the taxpayers of Alabama to foot their legal bills in a Civil matter with Collier.
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It’s Pride – Not The People – That Gov. Bentley Knows

By Minority Leader Rep. Craig Ford

One of the most famous scriptures in the Bible says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” That scripture kept running through my mind this past week as Gov. Bentley repeatedly claimed that he knows the people of Alabama “better than anyone” and that they are not interested in impeaching him.

That is a bold claim to make, and one that is also easily proven wrong.
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State Receives Falling Grade on Small Business Friendliness

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—According to the Fifth Annual Small Business Friendliness Survey, Alabama received a D+ for its overall business friendliness, dropping from its B grade just a year ago.

The survey conducted between April 13, 2016 and May 6, 2016, polled 12,169 skilled professionals from across the United States, operating across hundreds of categories, including as electricians, music teachers, wedding planners, wellness professionals, and more. The study asked business owners about the policies of toward small business, in each state, as well as the overall level of support in their community.
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