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Freeman Urges Rainy Day Patriots to Oppose Amendment Four

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, October 16, Ken Freeman spoke to the Rainy Day Patriots at Hoover Tactical Firearms about the five amendments on the Alabama ballot. Freeman denounced Amendment Four and urged everyone to vote No on the controversial measure that would limit the legislature’s authority over education issues in the state and require a super majority to pass legislation affecting school boards.

Rainy Day Patriots Chair Ann Eubank said that she and others have been conducting talks about Common Core across the state and have been winning the debates that they have had with proponents of the controversial new Alabama College and Career Ready Standards that are based on the Common Core.

Steve Johnson said that Amendments to the Alabama Constitution are sometimes purposely written so you can’t understand exactly what they mean. Johnson introduced Ken Freeman to the Fair Ballot Commission to explain the five amendments to the gathered members.

Johnson said that Ken Freeman is a cattle rancher and the Chairman of the Alliance for Citizens Rights. He has spoken out against the United Nation’s Agenda 21 and has focused on repealing common core.

Ken Freeman said that he was born in Georgia, but his family has property in Guntersville. Freeman said he moved to Alabama after he came back from Vietnam.

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Freeman said that confusing or misleading amendments on the ballot have been an issue since 1973. To address that the legislature passed the Informed Voter Act. Freeman was an advocate of the bill. It was sponsored by State Representative Steve McMillan.

Freeman said that the Informed Voter Act creates the Fair Ballot Commission. The average Alabama voter has a reading level that is 8th or 9th grade. The bill requires that amendment writers use common language that the people can understand

Freeman said there are five amendments on the ballot, but of the five Amendment Four is the worst.

Freeman said that the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives and the President Pro Tem of the Senate are all on the commission or their stand ins. Each of these then appoint two persons to also serve on the Fair Ballot Commission, “Six lawyers appointed by politicians and six real people.”

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Freeman is one of the six non-lawyers serving on the commission

Rainy Day Patriots Chair Ann Eubank said that people should pay close attention to Amendment Four

Freeman said, “This thing the more you look at it the uglier it gets.” At the meeting on the Amendment four language the meeting was stacked with lobbyists from the school board. Freeman said that Speaker Mike Hubbard’s (R) Chief of Staff Jimmy Entrekin insisted that they pass the wording of amendment four like it appears on the ballot.

Freeman said, “I did everything I could to try to cloud the language,” in amendment four so that the voters would vote it down. “There are several things in this bill that are probably bad news”

Freeman said that the amendment as written would put school boards on same level as municipalities and Freeman feared that an activist judge could interpret the wording in such a way as to give school boards taxing authority. As it is school boards have to go to city councils or county commissions and often the state legislature and a vote of the people to raise taxes. Freeman feared that Amendment four could be an end around those constitutional protections.

“I believe it is working its way toward giving school boards taxing authority.” Freeman warned that State School Superintendent Tommy Bice has talked about building 2000 new school rooms, but has been cryptic about how he would pay for it. Freeman said that this is where he may be looking for the money.

Freeman said that Amendment Four prohibits the state legislature from passing anything that might be an unfunded mandate for a school board of over $50,000, unless a 2/3s vote of the State legislature votes to pass. The bill speaks of it as an aggregate accumulation

Freeman said if Amendment Four passes, “The state legislature is giving up any pretense of controlling the school boards.”

Freeman said that Common Core is why this amendment passed the legislature, “Parents realize what it happening.” There is a lot of pressure to undo Common Core. If the people of Alabama vote yes for amendment four then it would take a two thirds vote to pass a new curriculum. The legislature is tying their own hands.

Freeman warned that pro-Common Core school board member Mary Scott Hunter (R) and the people traveling with her are strongly in favor of Amendment Four. Freeman said, “Since they want it so badly I want them not to get it.”

Freeman said that the legislature knows that there is going to be kick back against Common Core as parents learn more about it. “There will be a big backlash.”

Freeman warned that the State legislature is giving up its power to the State school board.

Freeman accursed pro-Common Core corporate interests of stacking the school board. They, “Go out and find someone who is attractive and photogenic who looks good on a poster and then they dump a $ half million into the (state school board) race.”

Freeman warned that Common Core is being pushed on the State by the Chamber of Commerce, Pierce, and Microsoft. “AEA did not push for Common Core and did not push for this.” The school boards are, “Owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Chamber of Commerce.”

The official ballot title of this measure appears as follows:[3]

Statewide Amendment 4

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit a general law, whose purpose or effect is to require a new or increased expenditure of at least $50,000 of local funds annually, from becoming effective with regard to a city or county board of education without enactment by a 2/3 vote. (Proposed by Act 2014-185)

Ballot summary

The full ballot summary reads as follows:[5]

“Amendment 4 would increase the requirement to a two-thirds vote (over 66 percent), rather than a simple majority (over 50 percent), of the Alabama Legislature in order to pass a law that would require local boards of education to cumulatively spend over $50,000 in local funds without providing the funds to pay for the increased expense. Separately, Amendment 4 would continue to provide that a majority vote would be required for unfunded mandates that address the compensation, benefits, or due process rights of any employee of a board of education.”

Freeman and all the Rainy Day Patriots members spoke in opposition to Amendment Four.

No one spoke in favor of the amendment.

The voters will decide on November 4.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Vaccines should protect against mutated strains of coronavirus

Public health experts say it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Multiple vaccines for COVID-19 are in clinical trials, and one has already applied for emergency use authorization, but how good will those vaccines be against a mutating coronavirus? A UAB doctor says they’ll do just fine. 

Dr. Rachael Lee, UAB’s hospital epidemiologist, told reporters earlier this week that there have been small genetic mutations in COVID-19. What researchers are seeing in the virus here is slightly different than what’s seen in the virus in China, she said. 

“But luckily the way that these vaccines have been created, specifically the mRNA vaccines, is an area that is the same for all of these viruses,” Lee said, referring to the new type of vaccine known as mRNA, which uses genetic material, rather than a weakened or inactive germ, to trigger an immune response. 

The U.S. Food And Drug Administration is to review the drug company Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 10. Pfizer’s vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, as is a vaccine produced by the drug maker Moderna, which is expected to also soon apply for emergency use approval. 

“I think that is incredibly good news, that even though we may see some slight mutations,  we should have a vaccine that should cover all of those different mutations,” Lee said. 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found in a recent study, published in the journal Science, that COVID-19 has mutated in ways that make it spread much more easily, but the mutation may also make it more susceptible to vaccines. 

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In a separate study, researchers with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation found that while most vaccines were modeled after an earlier strain of COVID-19, they found no evidence that the vaccines wouldn’t provide the same immunity response for the new, more dominant strain. 

“This brings the world one step closer to a safe and effective vaccine to protect people and save lives,” said CSIRO chief executive Dr. Larry Marshall, according to Science Daily

While it may not be long before vaccines begin to be shipped to states, public health experts warn it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public. Scarce supplies at first will be allocated for those at greatest risk, including health care workers who are regularly exposed to coronavirus patients, and the elderly and ill. 

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, speaking to APR last week, urged the public to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing for many more months, as the department works to make the vaccines more widely available.

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“Just because the first shots are rolling out doesn’t mean it’s time to stop doing everything we’ve been trying to get people to do for months. It’s not going to be widely available for a little while,” Harris said.

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Tuberville looks forward to public service “probably for the rest of my life”

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

Brandon Moseley

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Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville during an interview with Sean Spicer on Newsmax.

U.S. Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, told Newsmax’s Sean Spicer that he looks forward to the opportunity to give back to this country.

“After winning this and after being up here a couple of weeks and seeing how much of a difference we have made just to this point in the Senate has been gratifying,” Tuberville said. “I look forward to doing public service probably for the rest of my life.”

Tuberville said that he was 18 years old when the Vietnam War was coming to a close and then got into coaching so never served in the military and looks forward to the opportunity to give back to the country.

“As I went around the state of Alabama for those two years though I learned the respect of the people and how much that they want this country to remain the United States of America that we know and grew up in to go by the Constitution and those things. As I went through the campaign I got more and more fond of that I want to give back,” Tuberville said.

“I never served, I never gave back, but God was so good to me and my wife my family,” Tuberville said. “Giving back means so much to me after I was given so much for many, many years.”

Tuberville said that education will be a priority for him, getting education back to fundamentals like reading, writing, history and math. Tuberville said that unless the country gets back to fundamentals in education, “This country is not going to make it. We have got to get back to fundamentals and we are getting farther and farther every day.”

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Tuberville was the only Republican on Nov. 3 to defeat an incumbent Senate Democrat when he unseated Sen. Doug Jones.

“I want to be the voice for the people of Alabama,” Tuberville explained. “The previous Senator was a voice for his party, the Democratic party.”

Tuberville, a career college football coach, reiterated his position that we should play sports and send kids back to school despite the coronavirus global pandemic.

“I think we are doing a lot better in sports than we are doing in a lot of other areas,” Tuberville said. “I was keeping my fingers crossed back in August that we would let our young kids go play high school sports, number one, and then we get into college sports. There are so many people throwing negatives on why we should not do that. But I can tell you, you can see many more positives if we go back to school and we play sports. It’s important that we attack this virus as it has been attacking us. If it gives us an inch, we gotta take it.”

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Tuberville reiterated his opposition to shutting down restaurants, schools and businesses to fight the virus.

“We have to get back to everyday life,” Tuberville said. “You can’t keep shutting people down. Freedom is a power that we have. A power that we have earned because of our forefathers. We can’t give that up.”

Tuberville is an Arkansas native. He was the head football coach at Auburn University where he won an SEC championship, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati. Prior to that, he was a national championship defensive coordinator at the University of Miami. He was also the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Tuberville’s term as senator will begin on Jan. 3 when the 117th Congress is sworn in.

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UAB cancels third game

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

The UAB Department of Athletics on Thursday announced that it is canceling its final home game of the season. UAB was scheduled to play Southern Mississippi on Friday at Legion Field, but the game was canceled due to continuing problems with COVID-19.

UAB has said that it will “continue to work with Conference USA on the remaining regular-season schedule.”

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

UAB currently has a record of just four wins and three losses.

A win at Rice would guarantee the Blazers a winning season, but in this COVID altered season, a four and three or four and four record is probably good enough to be bowl eligible.

Southern Miss has had a dreadful season. They are two and seven and have two remaining games, against UTEP and Florida Atlantic. Both of those games were postponed from earlier in the season.

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Unless the season is extended a week to the 19th, there is no way for UAB and Southern Miss to make up the canceled game.

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Official state Christmas tree was delivered

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

Brandon Moseley

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The 2016 state Christmas tree in front of the state Capitol.

Alabama’s official Christmas Tree was delivered to the state Capitol this week.

This year’s tree was donated by Robbins Taylor Sr. It is an Eastern Red Cedar that was grown in Letohatchee, Alabama.

The approximately 35-foot tree will be displayed on the front steps of the state Capitol building.

The tree will be adorned with lights and decorations ahead of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4. Gov. Ivey’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Capitol in Montgomery.

Alabama became the first state in the nation to make Christmas an official government holiday in 1836. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

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