By Brandon Moseley
On Tuesday, February 1, the Alabama legislature reconvenes for its 2016 regular session. Because of the two special sessions this will be the fourth session in the last years.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) will deliver his State of the State address on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in the Old House Chamber of the State Capitol.
Gov. Bentley has invited three special guests to the speech, and will recognize their work in various fields:
CPT Clayton Hinchman, USA (Ret) is the Founder, President and CEO, of USi in Huntsville. USi is an emerging small business providing expert operations management and IT services. He served in the United States Army as an Infantry Officer and medically retired as a Captain due to wounds sustained during an improvised explosive attack while conducting a night raid in Iraq. Governor Bentley will recognize Clayton’s service to our country and his dedication to support and hire veterans.
Miracle Scott is a Senior at Eufaula High School, and was one of the first students to enroll in Alabama’s Voluntary Pre-K Program. Miracle is on track to receive the Seal of Academic Excellence Diploma in May, and has been accepted to attend Auburn University in the Fall. Governor Bentley will highlight Miracle as a shining example of the importance of Pre-K education.
Dr. John Waits is the founder of Cahaba Medical Care and serves as Chief Medical Officer and program director, as well as maintaining an active clinical practice in family medicine and obstetrics. Governor Bentley will recognize Dr. Waits’ efforts in advocating for family medicine and graduate medical education issues.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler announced, “Your headquarters to impact the opening of the Alabama Legislature will be in the State Auditor’s Office. In the historic state capitol, office S-101 (think “savings 101”). Citizens wanting to attend opening day are welcome. Coffee and donuts provided by Jim Zeigler (personal expense, no cost to taxpayers.)”
The session begins at noon. Citizens can start gathering at Auditor’s office any time from 9 a.m. on.
Mike Williams with Sons of the Confederate Veterans (SCV) announced, “There will be a Citizen Rally on the steps of the Alabama State House tomorrow at 11am before the kickoff of the legislature at 12 noon… Several Speakers are lined up…..It’s Your Government! Well unless you sit back and watch! Then it’s their government!”
Williams added “Any Heritage minded folks who may be attending the session, I will have large stickers that say Support SB13 for you to wear on your shirt/jacket etc, so they will see this.”
SB13 is the monuments bill introduced by State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) that would protect war memorials and other monuments from being removed when demographics and/or sentiments change. The City of Birmingham and Jefferson County are in the process of removing a Confederate Veterans Memorial and an Old South mural honoring southern heritage some perceive as racist.
Williams said, “Tomorrow at 12 noon will be the start of the Alabama Legislature. This may well be our last chance in over a year to get a bill passed to preserve monuments of valor that honor our heroes of Alabama and our Confederate ancestry in particular. I am asking that if you think about it to stop and pray that the legislature being led by the Spirit, makes this official by passing SB 13. We will be having a prayer vigil in the State of Alabama Auditors office at noon with many prayer warriors of state government… Please say a prayer at Noon, if not before and anytime after. Deo Vindice!”
State Auditor Jim Zeigler will give a reply “on behalf of the taxpaying public” at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3 in the State Auditor’s capitol office. Zeigler, who has called himself the “anti-Bentley” has disagreed with the Governor on a number of issues including: raising taxes to deals the state general fund crisis, Bentley’s cancellation of the inaugural prayer service, removal of the portraits of Governor George and Lurleen Wallace from the capitol rotunda, the removal of the Confederate flags from the Confederate Veterans Memorial, the closure of six state parks, the cost of two special sessions to pass a general fund budget, the Governor’s spending for personal staff and state aircraft, and the Governor’s spending of $1.8 million in BP funds to restore the “Governor’s Mansion at the beach.”