Prison central item for upcoming session

INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE
by Steve Flowers

While the presidential race played out this year, several things happened in Alabama politics that went under the radar.

First, a federal appeals court upheld the legislature’s banning PAC to PAC transfers. The new Republican legislative majority that marched into the Statehouse in 2011 set out to destroy and bury the last bastion of Democratic power in the state – the once omnipotent Alabama Education Association. They succeeded.
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Take a break from politics this Christmas season

By State Senator Cam Ward

Our nation has just finished one of the most contentious presidential elections I can remember. In many ways, the American people seem dangerously divided: hate-filled posts fill up social media, while the loudest voices dominate cable television. Active, informed debate about political issues is healthy, but it often seems our political and cultural discourse has more heat than light. However our community and nation will continue to move forward.
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Quick Fixes a Danger to State Employee and Teacher Pensions

By State Senator Cam Ward

There’s been a lot of chatter over the past year about pension reform in Alabama, both from legislators and outside groups. This chatter has been fueled by concerns about the size of the Retirement System of Alabama’s (RSA) unfunded liability and the total amount the state pays in every year.

There’s just one thing missing from these conversations. We’ve already enacted major pension reforms. In 2011 and 2012, the Alabama Legislature increased the employee contribution rate, reduced benefits for new employees, and eliminated a costly post-retirement incentive program. The reduction in benefits for new employees alone is estimated to save four billion dollars over the next thirty years and tied with Pennsylvania as some of the most extensive reforms in the nation.
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