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State Leaders Respond to Joint Hearing on School Security

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Following the horrific slayings of twenty first graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut by an evil madman, the state of Alabama held a Joint Committee meeting on what Alabama can do to improve school security.  The meeting was called by the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R) from Anniston.  Following the Wednesday, January 9th hearing several legislators and state policy analysts took to Facebook to express their opinions.

State Rep. Kurt Wallace (R) from Maplesville said, “I attended the joint House/Senate education committee’s meeting today in Montgomery to discuss school safety. I thought the committee did a great job of bringing everyone to the table. We heard from representatives from our Sheriff’s, District Attourney’s, Dr. Tommy Bice (the Superintendent of Education, Spencer Collier with Homeland Security, someone from the mental health department, a teacher, and several others. There was a lot of discussion about how to “protect” our children.”

State Rep. Allen Farley (R) from McCalla said, “Today I sat in the House Chamber in Montgomery and listened to individuals go before a joint education committee to discuss school safety. We heard from Senators, House members, DA’s, a school teacher, the Alabama State Superintendant of Education, and the Alabama Director of Homeland Security. The comments and suggestions varied, but everyone was on the same team. I was encouraged.”

State School Board Member, Mary Scott Hunter (R) said in her newsletter, “I expect the Board and Legislature will take up the question of gun violence in schools. I plan to bring my Military lawyer background as an Air Force Judge Advocate to bear in this discussion. My training and experience tells me that in this we cannot but have the very best conceived plan. We should not be rash or hasty in our decisions, and we should consider all options that tend to deter would-be shooters and increase safety for students and staff.  Arming staff, perhaps only the ones who have previous military or law enforcement experience in order that they could act as first line defenders, is an option. Other considerations also abound to include: deadbolts on every school room door; egress plans; door security; etc. In the meantime, all should view the great video released by the Alabama Department of Homeland Security on the basics of Run / Hide / Fight.”

Conservative policy analyst and political analyst Michael Ciamarra said, “Busy day in Montgomery today! School Safety Hearing was held at the Statehouse chaired by our good friends Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin and Sen. Dick Brewbaker. Was a fascinating hearing that included lawmakers, Dr. Bice, Dept. of Homeland Security Director Collier, Sheriff, Constable and other law enforcement groups, School Resource Officer Presidents (National and AL Chapter), District Attorney representatives, and concerned citizens. School security will be an issue with much focus and attention by lawmakers this coming session.”

Alabama Senator Bryan Taylor (R) from Prattville said on Twitter that he went to the joint hearing on school security and gathered good information for his upcoming security roundtable with the local school superintendents of his district next week.

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Rep. Wallace said, “As you would expect opinions varied greatly. Some too aggressive (in my opinion), and some to passive (also my opinion). Fortunately, we took what I believe is the correct approach and decided to stop all the knee-jerk reactions and step back to evaluate the facts and then put together a plan that we can afford and will do the best for our children. We don’t need to drag our feet…nor do we need to turn our schools into military type fortresses either. I believe we will have a well thought out plan ready for the House and Senate to start debating as soon as, or very shortly after, we get into session on Feb. 5th. I will keep you all posted as we get further into this matter.”

Rep. Farley said, “Those of you who know me well know my position on school safety. I believe that teachers should be given every opportunity to teach in a safe environment. And, I believe our trained law enforcement community should be given every opportunity to provide a safe environment for teachers, students, and parents. I do not believe placing a firearm in a teacher’s hand at school is our best option. I do not think we have the luxury to continue to expend tight budgets to allow trained law enforcement officers to teach classes. Teachers need to teach. Safety professionals need to keep people safe.”

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with six and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook.

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Aerospace and Defense

Jones criticized for voting to limit Trump’s war powers authority

Brandon Moseley

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Thursday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) voted in favor of S.J.Res.68, a resolution which directs the removal of United States military from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress. Jones has been criticized by Republicans for voting to limit President Donald J. Trump’s war powers on Iran.

“Before a President can lead us into war, he or she must first earn the support of the American people and also fulfill their solemn constitutional obligation to seek approval from Congress,” Sen. Jones said in a statement. “While the President has the power to protect Americans in the case of an imminent attack, that authority does not extend to committing our service members to long-term hostilities unilaterally. This resolution sends a strong message that we will follow the Constitution and we will not send our troops into harm’s way without the serious consideration and consent of the Congress.”

Trump Victory National Finance Committee member Perry O. Hooper Jr. released a statement in response.

“Senator Jones once again turned his back on Alabama and voted as the leftwing Democrats commanded. He has no regard for the values, opinions or views of Alabamians,” Hooper said. “He sees us as deplorables just like the elites of the Democratic party who have funded 80 percent of his doomed campaign for re-election.:

Hooper stated, “I whole heartily support the President who stated ‘We are doing very well with Iran and this is not the time to show weakness… If my hands were tied, Iran would have a field day. Sends a very bad signal. The Democrats are only doing this as an attempt to embarrass the Republican Party.’”

“The Commander-in-chief must be free to work with his staff and his military leaders to conduct covert operations like the one that eliminated Iran’s terrorist-in-chief General Soleimani,” Hooper added. “You can’t micromanage the war on terrorism. The Democrats in Congress are so filled with Trump Derangement Syndrome that no matter how much it would benefit our country and the world; they would never give Trump a “victory”. If it came down to it, they would leak everything to the media no matter what the consequences.”

Senator Jones is a cosponsor of the legislation and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Eight moderate Republicans voted with the Democrats on the resolution.

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Senator Jones has also been criticized by Republicans for his comments that he was “appalled” by Pres. Trump’s actions following his acquittal on both Articles of Impeachment.

“Newsflash for Senator Doug Jones: Most Alabamians have been appalled by his actions his entire time in office,” former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “It’s about time we send Doug home, and replace him with someone who understands our values. Alabamians deserve a Senator they can be proud of again.”

Sessions is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Jones’ Senate seat.

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The Republican primary will be on March 3.

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Moore says the Constitution is under God’s laws

Brandon Moseley

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Saturday, Senate candidate former Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) presented his views on the Constitution and the sovereignty of God to attendees of the Conservative Leadership Conference in Florence.

“The form of government is both the Declaration and the Constitution,” Judge Moore said.

Moore argued that the rights granted to the citizens in the Bill of Rights do not come from the Constitution itself; but rather from God and the Constitution is there to protect those rights that God has ordained.

“The Constitution is the supreme law of the land; but the Constitution is under the rule of God,” Moore stated. “We as Americans, as Republicans as Democrats should go back to the Constitution.”

“Democrats are trying to move us toward a socialist government,” Moore warned. “The same people who want to take our guns away want to take prayer out of schools.”

“Most Christians do not understand the Ten Commandments,” Moore said. The first four are the duties that we owe to God and the last six are the duties that we owe to each other.

Moore quoted from Washington, Blackstone, and the 1954 legislation that inserted “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance.

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Moore said that Project Birmingham used Russian style tactics to undermine the support for Roy Moore and build up support for Doug Jones. Moore also blamed Richard Shelby for his defeat.

Moore said that Democrats have used similar smears liked the ones used against him in 2017 against Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas.

“When you vote is stolen from you by tactics that is wrong,” Moore said/

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Moore warned that the greatest threat to this nation is the decline in morality. “We are at a critical point in our history.”

Moore warned that no nation could take us down from without; but that we could fall from within and warned of the growing agenda of the LGBTQ community.

“We are starting to recognize transgender rights above the right of your rights,” Moore warned.

“We are five votes (in the Senate) away from overturning everything our country is founded upon,” Moore warned if the Equality Act is passed. The Equality Act, “Which sounds good is about to take away the most precious thing our country is founded upon: our freedom of conscious.”

Moore warned that the legislation would lead to men in girls’ bathrooms and in girls’ sports.

Moore said that when man invents rights that are not from God it leads to problems. The right to privacy was invented and from that came the right to abortion, which has resulted in the deaths of millions, the right to sodomy, and the right to gay marriage. Now we are about to create a right of transgenderism.

Moore said that marriage was ordained by God as between one man and one woman. “If you can make it between two men you could make it between five men and between a man and a horse.”

“How do you correct it?” Moore asked rhetorically. “You recognize the sovereignty of God.”

“I have been mocked and removed from office twice,” Moore said.

“I am sick of seeing politicians carrying Bibles and doing nothing,” Moore said. The national debt was $5 trillion in 2005 now it is $23 trillion. They say they are Pro-Life and yet Planned Parenthood continues to get taxpayer dollars.

“We keep quiet because we are afraid it is going to offend anybody,” Moore said. “I couldn’t keep quiet about Obergefell. I wrote an opinion in API.”

Moore is a candidate for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary on March 3.

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House

McCutcheon is in “wait and see mode” on medical marijuana bill

Brandon Moseley

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Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) last Thursday was asked by reporters where he stood on pending medical marijuana legislation.

“I am in a wait and see mode,” McCutcheon told reporters. “The sponsor of the bill has done a lot of work.”

On Tuesday, State Senator Tim Melson (R-Florence) introduced a bill to legalize tightly controlled medical cannabis. The Medical cannabis bill introduced on Tuesday is Senate Bill 165.

“We have a letter from the Attorney General,” recommending that the legislature reject the bill.

Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) is arguing that while marijuana remains a federally controlled substance the legislature should not pass a state law that would be noncompliant with federal law. Marshall believes that if medical marijuana has any medical benefit then the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be the appropriate authority to approve such legislation and the state should wait for FDA to act.

33 states already have legalized medical marijuana.

“It brings up a legal question when you get a legal opinion from the attorney general office,” McCutcheon explained. “It answers some of my questions and also on the pro and the con there were some questions raised in the legal community.”

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McCutcheon said, “That is why we are in the mode that we are in.”

Melson introduced a medical marijuana bill last year during the 2019 regular session. That bill passed the Senate; but had difficulty getting out of committee in the Alabama House of Representatives. Instead of passing medical marijuana legislation the legislature passed a bill extending Leni’s Law and Carly’s law and establishing the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission tasked with making a recommendation to the legislature.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission was chaired by Sen. Melson and met monthly from August to November. In December, the commission voted in favor of a draft proposal recommending that the state allow licensed medical providers to prescribe marijuana based medications to patients with a demonstrated need. The state would create the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to regulate medical cannabis in the state. Farmers, processors, transporters, and dispensaries would have to get a license from the Commission and product would be strictly regulated.

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Despite the Commission’s recommendation, SB165 remains highly controversial in the legislature and there is expected to be considerable opposition to the bill. SB165 is 82 pages long.

SB165 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Judiciary Committee Chairman Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) told the Alabama Political Reporter that there will be a public hearing on SB165 on Wednesday, at 8:30 a.m. in the Alabama Statehouse room 825. Opponents and proponents will both be given the opportunity to voice their opinions.

Thursday was the fourth day of the 2020 legislative session.

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Elections

Congressional candidates call on Sessions, Byrne to stand up for South Alabama

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At a rare joint press conference, the Democratic Candidates for the First Congressional District called on Rep. Bradley Byrne and former Sen. Jeff Sessions to stand up for South Alabama following the Trump Administration’s proposal to cut nearly $300 million slated for projects awarded to Austal.

“The current administration’s decision to divert that funding from Austal to build the border wall is harmful to our community and will potentially put good jobs at risk,” said Dr. James Averhart, CW05, USMC retired. “This is nothing more than a political stunt on the backs of the hard-working men and women of South Alabama.”

Over the years, South Alabama has become a hub for shipbuilding and defense projects developing ships and planes for the United States military.

“While the President may be comfortable playing political games with our communities, our representatives must stand strong against this disastrous decision,” said Dr. Kiani Gardner, a scientist and professor. “We are grateful Senator Jones is speaking out against it and the devastating impacts it could have on our communities.”

This matter transcends partisan politics, our Republican representatives must stand with Senator Jones and tell President Trump to find a better way to protect our Southern border,” said Rick Collins, a longtime Mobile businessman.

This is only the latest Trump Administration proposals that could have devastating impacts for the local economy. Recently, the administration proposed new tariffs that would have a significant impact on Airbus’ local operation.

 

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