Connect with us

In Case You Missed It

Scott Walker Addresses Alabama GOP

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

 

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter 

scott_walkerOn Saturday August 22, Wisconsin Governor, and 2016 Republican Presidential candidate Scott Walker was in Talladega for the Alabama Republican Party’s Summer luncheon at the motor speedway. 

Walker thanked Alabama Republicans for the support he’s received when union opponents tried to recall the Governor shortly after his election. “So many of you helped us out.  Senator Shelby you stepped up in your caucus and said we have got to help this guy.” Walker said that he had $80 million in contributions from people in all 50 states. The average contribution was just $75.

Walker announced that State Senator Greg Reed (R-Jaspar) would be his Alabama campaign chair.

“Y’all have got some great reformers from the State of Alabama.” 

Gov. Walker said, “My dad was a Baptist preacher in Iowa.” A farmer named Chuck Grassley represented us in Congress.  Paul Ryan lived just a few miles away. 

“America is a can-do kind of country,” Gov. Walker said.  “Washington is 68 square miles surrounded by reality.” 

Advertisement

Gov. Walker said at one point had 100,000 protestors in the state capital trying to interfere with the Republican majority in the legislature.  “I took power out of the hands of the special interests and put it in the hands of the taxpayers.  The Occupy movement did not begin in Wall Street it began on my street. They threw a lot of money and resources at us and we won.” 

Walker said, “People are standing up and saying I want my voice to be held…The SEC primary is going to be incredibly important.”  Walker said that he is the candidate if you want someone who can fight and win without sacrificing common sense or compromising conservative ideals.

Walker said on the Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, “It’s not about emails, it is about national security. We now find out there is top secret information on those emails. It is either illegal or she is incompetent. You can’t put top secret classified material in a place where it is vulnerable. Either disqualifies her to be President of the United States….There is talk that Joe Biden (the Vice President) or Al Gore (Vice President from 1993 to 2001) may run.  A voice from the past or a voice from further in the past.” 

Governor Walker said, “We need someone from outside Washington. We need someone who has gotten the job done. And that is exactly what we did in Wisconsin. We are now the 25th right to work state. We took a $3.6 billion deficit and fixed it and we cut taxes.  Income taxes are down.  Property taxes are lower.  We defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago and we require a photo ID to vote in my state. 

Walker said, “It’s not too late for America. As Republicans, we measure success by how many people are not dependent on government.  We believe in the dignity of Work.”

Walker said that his dad was a small town preacher.  His paternal grandfather was a blue collar factor worker and his maternal grandparents were farmers who did not have indoor plumbing until his mom was in junior high school. “We did not inherit fame or fortune from my family.” Despite that he worked hard and eventually became Wisconsin’s Governor.  “That is the American dream and what we are still fighting for today.”

Walker vowed that if elected, he would take the powers of the EPA away and send back to the states where they have to live with the results.  Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, they think you grow the economy by growing Washington.  6 out the top 10 wealthiest counties in America are now in Washington.  It is time to get the federal government out of the way. 

Walker said that he supports repealing Obamacare once and for all and replacing it with a plan and we actually have a plan to do that.  Walker promised to rein in out of control regulations. “Federal regulations are like a wet blanket on the economy.”  Walker said that he wants his kids to have clean air and clean water too; but he also wants them to have a job.  The Clean Power Plant regulations (recently issued by the Obama Administration) will cost us tens of thousands of jobs.  He supports an all of the above energy policy, would approve the Keystone pipeline.  “We are an energy rich country we need to start acting like it and use the money to fund the recovery.”

Governor Walker said that in Wisconsin, “We reformed public education and gave parents quality choices. Why? Because I trust parents. Parents should be able to choose to send their children to a traditional public school, a charter school, a private school or too quality home school.”  Standards should be set; but no common core.  There will no nationwide school board going forward.  Education money should not go to Washington where the bureaucrats can skim money off the top and where a bunch of liberal bureaucrats can tell us what to do with our schools.

The conservative governor said that he favors growing the economy and lowering the tax burden on individuals and especially on job creators. 

Walker criticized the Obama and Clinton foreign policy which is leading from behind and said that Iran is not a place we should be doing business with.

Gov. Walker said, “The President claimed the greatest threat to future generations is climate change. Mr. President, I disagree. Radical Islam is the greatest threat to future generations. Our enemy is like a virus.  Radical Islam is not like the Cold War. Containment is not an option.  I want to take the fight to them rather than wait for them to take the fight to us. We need to treat Israel like an ally.”

Walker said that the Russians under Putin probe with their bayonets. Where they find mush they push and where they find steel they back away.  “It is time that we have a foreign policy that puts steel in front of our adversary.”

Walker said, “It is an abomination that as great a nation as the United States, has such poor security on our southern border.  It is a direct threat to us. We need a leader who is going to secure the borders once and for all, and who will enforce the laws.  The law of this land is clear and we need to enforce it.”  Walker said that the immigration policies of the United States should give priority to the impact on American families. 

Walker said, “The rest of the world needs to know that there is no greater friend and no worse enemy in this world than the United States of America.”  Walker said that he opposes nation building and that if we must fight we should fight to win. 

The Governor of Wisconsin said, “Everything in my life is about discerning what God wants me to do and I feel a call to run for President of the United States.”  Walker said that he did not know if he would win or not.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said in a statement:

“Race to 2016 in Talladega was a huge success. On Saturday, a packed house of Republicans welcomed Presidential candidate Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) as he rode into the building in a race car. With Senator Shelby, Senator Sessions, Congressman Aderholt, Congressman Brooks, Congressman Palmer and Congressman Rogers in attendance with dozens of GOP elected officials and candidates, this was one of the largest gatherings of officials we have had at a special event.”

Governor Walker is just one of seventeen Republican candidates in the field.

 

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It

House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

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.

 

Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It

Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday

Sam Mattison

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

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.

Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It

Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor

Sam Mattison

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

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.

Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It

House OKs bill to clarify consulting contracts by state legislators

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill to try to clarify how legislators accept consulting contracts under Alabama’s 2010 ethics law. Some pundits have suggested that House Bill 387 is actually designed to weaken the existing ethics law.

Sponsor state Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa, argues that the legislation is merely a clarification and is intended to prevent legislators from inadvertently crossing the line into illegality.

Wingo said that his bill would require legislators to notify the Alabama Ethics Commission that they have entered into a consulting agreement in an area outside of their normal scope of work.

State Rep. Paul Beckman, R-Prattville, said, “I have never understood why members of this body were allowed to take contracts as consultants or counselors.”

Wingo said, “Never do I use the word counselor in my bill; it is consulting.”

Beckman asked, “Are we going to be getting into an area where  every time we turn around we create a bureaucratic nightmare where we have to go get an opinion. These opinions whether it is orally or written don’t hold up in a court of law.” Beckman said, “We are serving the people here but we get this admonition that we can still be a consultant if we get an opinion.”

Wingo said, “This does not apply to professions where a member is currently licensed.”

Advertisement

Beckman said, “I would like to see more opinions coming out of the Ethics Commission. Right now we have the Ethics Commission competing with the Attorney General’s office over who has more authority.”

State Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, said,”This happened to a friend of mine. He just got out of prison. He was a state senator and had a written letter from the Ethics Commission which his lawyer read at trial and the jury convicted him anyway.”

Rogers never named his friend, but reporters think he was talking about former state Sen. Edward Browning ‘E. B.’ McClain who spent over 22 years in the legislature until he was convicted on 47 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, bribery, and money laundry in 2009.

A federal jury found that McClain and the Rev. Samuel Pettagrue were guilty in a scheme where McClain would secure public funds for Pettagrue’s community programs and then receive a kickback once the funds were in hand. McClain was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison. McClain was not prosecuted under the Alabama ethics law as the state has a much weaker ethics statute then. The current ethics law was passed in 2010.

Rogers said, “If they offer me a consulting contract for a field like aerospace engineering that I know nothing about they are trying to pay me off. If you can already be a consultant for something you know about why would you seek a consulting contract for something you don’t know about.

Rogers this is how they can pay you off for your vote.”

State Rep. Artis “A.J.” McCampbell said, “I don’t like making changes to things like this because we get into things called unintended consequences.”

McCampbell was reading from the bill and Wingo said, “You are reading from the original version it has completely changed.” “We worked tirelessly on this bill with the Ethics Commission this is not a fly by night bill.”

“If a member of the legislature enters into a contract to do a consulting contract outside of their normal field of work this bill requires that they consult with the Ethics Commission first,” Wingo said. “It is up to the member to notify the Ethics Commission not to the company or person offering them the money.”

State Representative Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said, “Everybody but legislators are allowed to do contract work up to $30,000.”

Rep. Wingo said, “This is not intended to be a roadblock.”

State Representative Arnold Mooney, R-Indian Springs, said, “The whole purpose of this is not to prevent members from doing work in your field.” “What you are doing is offering to protect me.”

State Representative John Knight, D-Montgomery, asked Wingo what the Alabama Attorney General said about this legislation.

Wingo replied, “I have not contacted the Attorney General.”

Knight responded, “Something from the Ethics Commission does not carry a lot of protection from the Attorney General. We have seen that in the past. I think the Attorney General and the Ethics Commission should be in agreement in the working on this.”

Wingo answered, “Maybe this is a first step.”

Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, asked, “Do we have anybody doing work outside of their regular scope of work?”

Wingo answered, “Yes I think so.”

Wingo said, “If we had had this bill four or five years ago maybe we could have been spared the embarrassment that this body experienced with the former Speaker.”

Wingo was referring to former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard who was convicted of 12 counts of felony ethics violations in June 2016. Ironically, Hubbard is largely responsible for creating the ethics law that he was found guilty of violating 11 times in his relentless pursuit of outside contracts and personal wealth.

Unlike McClain, however, Hubbard has not yet served any of this sentence.

House Bill 387 passed 67-0 with 26 legislators abstaining.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

(Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group’s Lisa Osborn in 2009 was consulted in this report.)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Authors

Advertisement

The V Podcast

Facebook

Trending

.