By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
This session, there are three bills before the Legislature that will cause irrefutable harm to the people of Alabama, while placing more control into the hands of a chosen few. These bills are examples of Right Wing rhetoric and Left-Wing policies.
The bills are SB11, SB178 and HB350. These bills were presented last session as one bill, SB122, carried by Republican Senator Jimmy Holley. This year they have been broken into three bills, with HB350 carried by Ed Henry and Mike Hubbard in the House.
SB11 will consolidate power over the entire legislative apparatus, giving the Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tem powers never even envisioned by the Democrats.
This bill, which has already passed the Senate, would abolish the Legislative Fiscal Committee, the Legislative Building Committee and the Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment, combining them into a Legislative Council under a junta of 20 politicians, who can be placed or removed from the committee at the will of the Speaker of the House or Senate President Pro Tem. Even the Press would be forced to go before this political junta to be granted press credentials at the State House.
This would politicize the whole process of who can report and what they can report from the State House. The Republican leadership under Hubbard and Marsh has repeatedly tried to have the press credentials of the Alabama Political Reporter revoked. To this day, the office of the Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem do not send press notification to Alabama Political Reporter.
Currently, the right to grant press credentials is in the hands of the nonpartisan offices of the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House. But even these jobs will now be at the whim of a powerful few.
Just one of the many problems with SB178 is that it will return expansion of hospitals or nursing homes to the slow track.
Another “bonus” under SB178 is that the Lieutenant Governor will have veto power over changes within agencies. So, we should alert lobbyists, booze distributors, big tobacco and a host of others that there will be more campaign coffers to be filled.
Of course if power grabs and slowing down the Certificate of Need process isn’t enough, just take a look at HB350.
The House Bill 350 would do away with the Office of Examiner of Public Accounts placing its responsibilities under the Office of Alabama State Auditor. This would turn the Public Examiner’s Office into a political arm of the government and not an independent agency.
One of the key responsibilities of the Examiner of Public Accounts is to assist Law Enforcement Agencies with investigations of public corruption.
The convictions in the Jefferson County sewer debacle or the corruption into the two-year college system would have never been prosecuted without the Public Examiner’s office.
Another bad idea by our Central Planners at the State House.
Over the last three years, Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh have presided over a major increase in government bureaucracy, under the guise of streamlining government to save taxpayer dollars. Like the political elites that have gone before them, they seek to consolidate power into the hands of a select few, to ensure their continued control over State government. Following the path of the bureaucratic elites, they have used Central Planning to achieve their idea of progress.
Hubbard and Marsh are too cleaver to call it what it is: Big Government and Big Brother. So, they use coded terms such as, pro-business reform, streamlining and smaller government.
People all too often mistake the size of government for the power of government. Hubbard and Marsh may have reduced the number of government employees, but they have significantly increased government’s power. They have reduced the size of government personnel, but have not limited the scope of government meddling. What they want so dearly is an all-powerful central government, with power in the hands of a junta, led by would-be dictators.
Last year, a few courageous politicians put a stop to the Hubbard-Marsh power grab.
Marsh and Hubbard have made it clear that this year they will take-no-prisoners in their attempt to recreate the State of Alabama in their own political image. An image more aligned with Leon Trotsky and Benito Mussolini, than George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.