Education Trust Fund Budget to be voted on in Committee today

February 7, 2018

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, the Alabama House Ways and Means Education Committee held a public hearing on the Education Trust Fund fiscal year 2019 budget.

Committee Chairman Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, said this is a very good budget. Education employees will receive a 2.5 percent pay increase across the board.

The trust fund budget will be roughly $6.7 billion in 2019. The committee will provide reporters with spreadsheets Wednesday morning.

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House passes bill to allow family therapists to diagnose mental illness

February 7, 2018

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed House Bill 166 allowing trained marriage and family therapists to diagnose mental illnesses. HB166 was sponsored by state Representative Randy Davis, R-Daphne.

Rep. Davis said that the bill allows marriage therapists to diagnose and treat mental illness. It does not allow them to prescribe drugs. “38 states already have this. Alabama is the worst state in the country for access to mental health treatment. Research shows that this Marriage and Family therapists are among the most effective methods of treating and diagnosing schizophrenia, adult alcoholism, and other conditions.”

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Doug Jones wins Democratic Party Primary

August 16, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017, when the Democratic Party primary field was announced most political observers recognized former US Attorney Doug Jones and a host of other candidates who were largely unknown quantities.  The polls fluctuated in the middle of the race; but when voters went to the polls on Tuesday they voted overwhelmingly for the best known candidate in the field and that was Doug Jones who dominated the field with 63.6 percent of the votes cast.

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Tankersley Exit Interview Part 2: No rules, no order

August 1, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

“Our State needs so much help. There is such a lack of confidence in our elected leaders. The Ethics Commission can help restore that lost confidence,” said Dr. Stewart Hill Tankersley in a recent interview with the Alabama Political Reporter.

Tankersley Exit Interview Part 1: Success, collusion, and dismay

While he sees the Ethics Commission’s Executive Director, Tom Albritton, as a champion for a more efficient organization, he worries that the Commission could undercut Albritton’s determination to run an honest shop.

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Patricia Todd, Alabama’s first openly gay legislator, will seek re-election next year

July 19, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama’s first openly LGBTQ lawmaker is planning to seek another term next year. Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, announced her plans Tuesday.

Todd, a Democrat who was elected back in 2006, represents a majority-black district in Birmingham. Before becoming a legislator, she worked with the National Organization for Women and later for UAB.

She was also an associate Director at AIDS Alabama.

After a contentious primary battle in 2006 to get on the General Election ballot in 2006, Todd has had no problem keeping the seat. In 2010, she was unopposed in the primary and the general. In 2014, she defeated two Democrats with more than 60 percent of the vote.

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Missed Deadlines, Defense Whining Punctuates Hubbard Hearing

October 22, 2015


By Bill Britt

Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—At the October 20 motions hearing to quash subpoenas issued by Speaker Mike Hubbard, a few things became apparent: Hubbard’s criminal defense attorney J. Mark White would ignore the trial judge’s order, and that the judge would equivocate on his orders if White whined long and loud enough.

Hubbard’s attorneys were ordered by Lee County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker III to file a complete witness list three weeks prior to the evidentiary hearing scheduled for October 26. However, Team Hubbard filed an amended list the night before Tuesday’s motions hearing without any penalty from Judge Walker.
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Senators Question Ethics Opinions

September 22, 2015

 

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Recent opinions issued under the guidance of new Ethics Director Tom Albritton are increasingly facing criticism from the press and members of the State legislature.

Ethics opinions written for Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson, and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), have all raised questions regarding the legitimacy and independence of the Commission tasked with upholding the State’s ethics codes.
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Ethics Commission Approves Lawmaker’s Advocacy for Employer

August 11, 2015

 

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—In a 4 to 1 vote, the Alabama Ethics Commission approved an opinion that permits State Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) to advocate for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community in the legislature, as well as sponsor a vote on legislation affecting the LGBT community, while serving as the Director of Human Rights Campaign of Alabama (HRC).

The Commission decided that Todd’s advocacy, on behalf of her employer’s agenda, did not violate existing ethics laws, such as conflict of interest or personal gain. It also found little to restrict her from raising money for the 501(c)(4) non-profit, as long as there wasn’t an implied cohesion or promise.
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Hubbard Becomes “Unhinged” Over Republican No Vote on Tax Hike

May 7, 2015

 

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) is determined to raises taxes. So determined, in fact, that a bill that was voted down in committee on Wednesday, will be voted on again in the same committee today.

During the Wednesday Ways and Means Education committee meeting, Republicans voted down House Bill 587, which would place a sales tax on lubricating oils. This is one of the package of bills being pushed by Hubbard. Following a motion for a vote by Democrat Rep. Patricia Todd, which was seconded by Republican Rep. Ed Henry, the measure was voted down, with nays coming from Henry and fellow Republican Reps, Phil Williams, Alan Boothe and Donny Chesteen.

After the vote an irate Hubbard, confronted the legislators and according to those with knowledge of the encounter, threatened projects if the bill was not brought back to the committee with a favorable report. He also instructed Henry to bring the bill up for a vote. It has also been reported that Hubbard told Boothe he lost millions in funding for Troy University.

The bill is said to be back in committee today. 

According to legislators who spoke on conditions of anonymity for fear of retaliation from Hubbard, the Speaker was “unhinged.”

Sponsored at Hubbard’s direction by Republican Rep. Terri Collins, the bill would increase the sales tax receipts by an estimated minimum of $10 million annually to be credited to the Education Trust Fund by applying sales tax to lubricating oils. This bill will also increase use tax receipts by a small, undetermined amount to be distributed 25 percent to the State General Fund and 75 percent to Education Trust Fund by applying use tax to lubricating oils. This bill will decrease excise receipts by an estimated $1.8 million annually by removing excise tax on lubricating oils which would decrease the receipts as follows: (1) by an estimated $600,000 to the State General Fund, (2) by an estimated $550,000 to the Public Road and Bridge Fund, and (3) by an estimated $650,000 to the counties and cities.

It has been estimated that this tax would shift the cost of a 55-gallon barrel of lube oil from $3.30 to $200, a 5,960 percent tax increase. Those costs would obviously be passed along to the consumer.

This is just one of the tax increases that Hubbard has insisted be passed by the House. Hubbard is looking to raise around $100 million with new and higher taxes.

It is believed that Hubbard is desperate to increase taxes because of a deal he allegedly cut with Gov. Robert Bentley to sign an exclusive gambling compact with the Poarch Creek Indians (PCI), in exchange for raising taxes. 

Several House members are alarmed at Hubbard’s behavior and worry that he is going to ruin their political futures in order to negotiate a monopoly compact with the Tribe. 

One nervous House member said, “Hubbard may be in prison before next year, but I am going to have to run for reelection with his tax hikes wrapped around my neck.”

 

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