Lottery Killed in Senate

August 29, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Early on Friday, August 26, a jubilant Governor Robert Bentley (R) said, “We came out with a victory from the House, not us, but a victory for the people of this state.” That Bentley and Bentley’s staff have absolutely no idea what is happening in in the Alabama legislature, could not be any more obvious than at that moment.

While the Governor was taking his victory lap after midnight with the exhausted capital press corps, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and lottery bill sponsor, Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville), were desperately trying to find a plan to save the lottery.
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Lottery Passes the House

August 26, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, August 25, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to amend Alabama’s state Constitution to allow a lottery. Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville), has been sent back to the Senate to see if they concur with the many house amendments to the Senate bill.

State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) said of the Senate version of SB3, “The bill is flawed and needs a lot of work to secure the future of our conservative values, in a state where gambling interest are hungry to control us. Gambling lobbyist are working diligently to manipulate our constitution for their benefit. It is our responsibility to give the people of Alabama, who only get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote, the cleanest proposal possible. Unfortunately that requires time and effort.”
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Today is the Great Lottery Showdown

August 25, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

This is like a Western with no gunplay. Today, two roughly evenly matched groups of Republican lawmakers are going to square off in the Alabama House of Representatives to decide the fate of Governor Robert Bentley’s (R) State General Fund lottery constitutional amendment, Senate Bill Three (SB3).

SB3 was sponsored by State Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville). Even though Republicans have a commanding super majority in the House, it will be Democrats who decide which group of GOP Representatives get to declare their victory at the end of the day. As increasingly is becoming common in the Alabama legislature, it is not Democrats versus Republicans, but dueling factions of Republicans battling each other. Each side has to reach across the aisle to the Democratic minority to find allies to use against their fellow Republican lawmakers in today’s showdown.
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Lottery Is Dead For November 8 Ballot and Foreseeable Future

August 24, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate debated the lottery for four days of this Special Session. On Tuesday, August 23, it took the Alabama House of Representatives just a few minutes to effectively kill the lottery, without ever even discussing it in a committee.

Freshly energized lottery opponents used the tight timeline and a rarely used parliamentary maneuver to kill the lottery bill for the November 8 ballot. Wednesday, August 24, was the last day for the lottery bill to pass out of the House in time for the November 8 Presidential election. Inexplicably the House chose not to meet on Saturday or Monday. It was a fatal mistake by the House leadership. The leadership had assigned State Senator Jim McClendon’s (R-Springville) Senate Bill 3 to the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee; but there was no scheduled meeting of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
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Harper Brother’s Controversy Continues to Grow

August 5, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The controversy surrounding Rep. Alan Harper (R-Northport) continues to grow after the Alabama Political Reporter obtained a letter in which he was appointed to “assist in the day to day operations of the City of Northpoint.

SwannHarper letter

The letter, signed by interim City Administrator, Charles Swann, states that Harper is an unpaid volunteer. But, insiders at City Hall say this is a fallback position, after a failed attempt by three council members to install Harper as City Administrator, without the full council’s consent.
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Siegelman Says: Not This Lottery

August 3, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Seventeen years ago, one Alabama Governor proposed a lottery amendment to the Constitution. It sailed through the Alabama Legislature and went to the people of Alabama who decisively rejected the proposal. Now a new Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley (R), is proposing a new lottery amendment; but that former Governor, Don Siegelman (D), is urging that this new lottery proposal be rejected.

Gov. Siegelman said, “I had been asking the people of Alabama to establish a lottery since 1989. Over and over I pleaded “Every child, regardless of where they are born or to whom, deserve the right to quality education and every child should have the hope and dream of knowing that if they make their grades and stay out of trouble, they’ll be able to go to college free. In 1998 I was elected Governor again calling for an “Education Lottery”. A Georgia style lottery with 100% of the proceeds going into the “Alabama Education Trust Fund”.
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Representative Harper in the Midst of City Controversy

July 12, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY— Three Northport City Council members engineered the resignation of the City Administrator in April, to create a job opening for Representative Alan Harper; this according to the Mayor and others at City Hall.

Mayor Bobby Herndon told the Alabama Political Reporter that council members Jay Logan, Bart Harper and Rodney Sullivan met privately outside of the presence of the Council, where they decided to eliminate City Administrator, Scott Collins, and give the job to Rep. Alan Harper (R-Northport). Bart Harper is Alan Harper’s brother.
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What Happened in Vegas: Troy Professor’s Mission to “Bring Down” RSA

June 27, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The leadership of the Republican supermajority wants to reform the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA). Along the way, their efforts have been buoyed by, The Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University. The Johnson Center is one of many institutions which is funded by the Charles Koch Foundation (Koch is pronounced like the soft drink, Coke).

During a gathering in Las Vegas this past April, Dr. George R. Crowley, Associate Professor of Economics and Associate Chair of Economics & Finance at Troy’s Johnson Center, spoke at the event, hosted by the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE).
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Remembering Those Who “Like Mike” and Wanted To Protect Him

June 16, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Fifteen members of the State House of Representatives, one Senator and a US Congressman attended the pep rally for Mike Hubbard the day after he was indicted on 23 felony counts of public corruption.

In February of this year, 37 House members signed a letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking her to investigation State’s Attorney General Luther Strange. There were ten accusations against General Strange of “misconduct…incompetence or willful neglect of office.”
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Legislature Returns to Montgomery for Session

February 3, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, February 2, the Alabama Legislature began its 2016 legislative year.

Like last year, the State General Fund budget (SGF) looms large over the body.

Despite $80 million in budget cuts and tax increases on cigarettes, nursing home beds, and prescription drugs the state appears to be facing another shortfall in the 2017 SGF.

House General Fund Committee Chairman Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) estimated that the 2017 shortfall would be about $40 million. That money would have to be found either from new revenues or from more budget cuts.
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