By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, August 18, it was announced that former Florida Governor and GOP Presidential candidate Jeb Bush (R) is coming to Birmingham for a breakfast fundraiser on Wednesday, August 26.
The latest chapter in the long saga of one of America’s greatest political families continues with Gov. Jeb Bush’s pursuit of the nation’s highest office: an office held by both his father and his brother.
Like almost everybody else in this race, Gov. Jeb Bush was at the Iowa State Fair last week. Now that that is over Bush released his late-summer fundraising schedule. The former governor will be launching a busy multi-state tour that began Tuesday night in Atlanta, GA. This will run through September 15.
Jeb Bush (63) is married to Columba Gallo, whom Jeb met as a teen while teaching English as a second language near her home in a village near Leon, Mexico. They have three children. Jeb Bush is Roman Catholic. Bush is a University of Texas graduate where he was on the varsity tennis team.
On Tuesday, August 18 at a forum in South Carolina, Bush said, “”There’s a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and NSA doing its job. I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way.” Referring to recent actions by Republicans in Congress, led by rival Senator U.S. Rand Paul (R from Kentucky) to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records.
Bush also told the group that he favored forward deploying U.S. military personnel and equipment in Eastern Europe in response to Russian expansion into the Ukraine.
Jeb Bush while governor of Florida has been a vocal supporter of the controversial Common Core standards and of school choice like charter schools.
Jeb Bush was defeated in his first run for Governor in 1994; but he persevered and ran again successfully in 1998 and 2002.
Gov. Bush said on his website, “When I became governor, I could be pretty relentless about getting the people’s business done. We defended and protected the most vulnerable in our society. I have always believed that as a nation, we reveal our values by how we govern those moments when life is most vulnerable. When we see life not yet born, we should welcome it with love. When we see life compromised by disease or near its natural end, we should treat it as a treasure, not a burden. When I was governor, I tried to act on these values, and worked closely with others who shared my deep commitment to a culture of life. In my personal and active devotion to these causes, I know I made many headlines. But more than that, I hope I made many friends who saw how important it was that we put those who were often last in line, first in our administration.”
Some conservatives are critical of Jeb Bush for his education positions. Other question his commitment to border security.
Bush has written a 300 page book on immigration reform. He supports legalization of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who are living in this country. He also opposes GOP front runner Donald Trump’s plan to deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. Gov. Bush said, “This is in the Constitution. The argument that it’s not I don’t think is the right view.”
Some have characterized Gov. Bush as being the favorite of the ‘establishment wing’ of the Republican Party. Bush however defends his conservative credentials.
Bush and family members, including his brother, former President George W. Bush (R) will appear at a variety of meet-and-greet receptions.
The tour began with an evening Reception in Atlanta, Ga. From there Bush goes to Nantucket, Mass. on Thursday, August 20.
August 21 — Luncheon with Mrs. Columba Bush — Charleston, S.C.
August 22 — Evening Reception of Mission Next — Young Professionals with Jeb Bush, Jr. and Woody Johnson, Jeb 2016 national finance chairman — East Hampton, N.Y.
August 24 – Luncheon Reception — McAllen, Texas; Evening Reception — Denver, Colo..
August 25 — Luncheon Reception — Salt Lake City, Utah; Evening Reception of Mission Next – Young Professionals with Jeb Bush, Jr. — Jacksonville, Fla.
August 26 — Breakfast Reception — Birmingham, Ala.
August 27 — Breakfast Reception — Greensboro, N.C.; Evening Reception — Richmond, Va.
August 28 – Luncheon Reception — Virginia Beach, Va.; Evening Reception — Southampton, N.Y..
August 29 — Breakfast Reception — Sagaponack, N.Y.; Luncheon Reception — Quogue, N.Y.; Afternoon Reception — Wilmington, N.C.
August 31 — Evening Reception — Miami.
September 9 — Evening Reception — Boston, Mass.
September 10 — Luncheon Reception with President George W. Bush — New York City.
September 14 — Evening Reception — Seattle, Wash..
September 15 — Luncheon with Mrs. Columba Bush and Jeb Bush, Jr. — Los Angeles; Evening Reception — Portland, Ore..
For more information or to get tickets to the Birmingham event (or any of the others): [email protected]
On Monday, August 17 Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) endorsed Ohio Governor and Republican Presidential contender John Kasich (R) in Birmingham for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
Gov. Bentley said in a statement, “With his record as governor and his two decades on the House Armed Services Committee working with leaders like President Reagan to strengthen our military, end the Cold War and revamp the Pentagon, John Kasich is a leader whose readiness to lead our nation on his first day in the Oval Office is unmatched.” Kasich is considered a rival for the same middle of the road, ~moderate voters that Bush will need to win the GOP nomination.
Alabama has been a hotbed of presidential candidates this summer. Gov. Kasich held a press conference with Bentley on Monday; former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was in Montgomery in June; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) has made a stop here; Dr. Ben Carson has visited the state at least three times over the summer; Senator Ted Cruz (R from Texas) has been here for stops in Pelham and Huntsville; New York City billionaire Donald Trump will be holding a pep rally in Mobile on Friday night; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) will be in Talladega on Saturday, August 22 to address Alabama Republicans at their Summer Luncheon. Sen. Cruz will return to Alabama on August 25 when he will be the speaker at the Tuscaloosa County Republican Party’s event.
Republican Presidential candidates at this point include: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, New Jersey businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Doctor Ben Carson, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former New York Governor George Pataki, California businesswoman Carly Fiorina, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore.
The Alabama Presidential Primary is March 1.
(Original reporting by ‘Florida Politics’, Fox News, and the Associated Press contributed to this report)
Tuberville calls for term limits, balanced budget and lobbying reform
Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.
Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville’s campaign began emphasizing key structural reforms that the Republican nominee hopes to advance if elected to the U.S. Senate including congressional term limits, withholding lawmakers’ paychecks unless a balanced budget is passed and a ban on former officials becoming lobbyists.
“Only an outsider like me can help President Trump drain the Swamp, and any of the proposals outlined in this ad will begin the process of pulling the plug,” Tuberville said in a statement. “Doug Jones has had his chance, and he failed our state, so now it’s time to elect a senator who will work to fundamentally change the way that Washington operates.”
Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.
“You know Washington politicians could learn a lot from the folks in small town Alabama, but Doug Jones … he’s too liberal to teach them,” Tuberville added.
Polls consistently show that term limits are popular with people across both political parties, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that imposing term limits would be adding a qualification to be a member of Congress and that can only be done by constitutional amendment.
It is an unspoken truth that when Americans send someone to Congress they never come back. They either keep getting re-elected like Alabama’s own Sen. Richard Shelby, who is in his sixth term in the Senate after four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the other hand, they may become lobbyists getting paid to influence their colleagues on behalf of corporations, foreign governments or some well funded non-government organization.
Tuberville said he would ban that practice.
A balanced budget amendment almost passed in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.
Since that failure, Congress has increasingly passed bigger and bigger budget deficits. The U.S. government borrowed more money during the eight years of President George W. Bush’s presidency than the government had borrowed in the first 224 years of the country combined.
President Barack Obama followed and the TARP program propped up the post-Great Recession economy. Rather than cutting the deficit, President Donald Trump invested billions in the military and a tax cut without cutting domestic spending. The 2020 coronavirus crisis has further grown the budget.
The government has borrowed trillions to prop up the economy and provide stimulus while investing billions into medical research and treating the virus victims. Congress is currently debating a fifth stimulus package that would add more to the deficit.
Both a balanced budget amendment and a term limits amendment would have to be ratified by the states if passed by Congress. Tuberville is challenging incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.
House passes General Fund Budget
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.
The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.
Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”
Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.
The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.
Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.
Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.
The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.
Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.
The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.
Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.
The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.
In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.
SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.
Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”
State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”
The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.
The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.
The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.
The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.
Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.
SB185 passed 101-0.
Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.
Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1 for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.
SB215 passed the House 87-0.
The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.
State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.
SB231 passed 87-2.
The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.
The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.
The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.
Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.
Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.
Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.
Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday
By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.
Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.
Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.
The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.
Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.
Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.
Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.
Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.
Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.
Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.
The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.
Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.
It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.
Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor
By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter
Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.
The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.
Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.
Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.
Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.
- Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)
Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.
Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.
The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.
Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.