By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, the Alabama House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to House bill 425, which would undo a key Bentley Administration policy and break up the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). This on the same day that ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler retired under pressure from new Governor Kay Ivey (R).
HB425 was sponsored by Representative Phillip Pettus (R-Killen). Rep. Pettus said that ALEA was created in 2013. This bill would undo those changes and would bring everything back to where it was before ALEA.
State Representative John Rogers (D-Birmingham) asked why this was needed.
Rep. Pettus said there are less troopers on the road now than there was then.
Rep. Rogers joked, “I am glad because I am speeding.”
Rep. Pettus said that fatalities are up, accidents are up, and injuries are up on Alabama’s roads.
State Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) said of the Bentley Law Enforcement task force, “They claimed they saved $11 million the first year and $35 million in total.” It never came back to the General Fund
Rep. Pettus said that the Legislative Fiscal Office said that the breakup would be break even and maybe even lead to some savings.
Pettus said that it would end the position of ALEA secretary and assistants. They would be gone. We would eliminate all of those positions. Rep. Pettus said that ALEA is top heavy with a whole upper management staff and the former agency heads are still there as department heads.
The Committee voted give the bill a favorable report.
ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler applied for his state retirement after being asked to leave by Governor Kay Ivey (R).
After Stabler’s retirement announcement, State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) commented, “The swamp is being drained.”
When former ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier was forced by Gov. Bentley to take medical leave, Stabler was appointed as the acting head of ALEA. Stabler quickly claimed to discover evidence that ALEA property had been misused by a number of top Collier aides, who were either fired or reassigned by Stabler. Sec. Collier responded by releasing the now infamous audio tapes of Gov. Bentley talking about his love fo his top politival advisor and mistress, Mrs. Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Bentley fired Collier and made Stabler (who had headed the Governor’s security team) as the Second head of ALEA in State history.
An investigation by the Alabama Attorney General’s office cleared Collier and the other terminated or transferred ALEA officials of doing nothing wrong, despite the public accusation made by Bentley and Stabler.
State Representative Tim Wadswroth (R-Arley) said, “State Government Committee gives favorable report to bill abolishing ALEA and returning various agencies back to where they were before ALEA was formed several years ago. Goal is to eliminate top heavy heads of ALEA. Each agency retained its original department heads.”
Representative Phillip Pettus retired from the Alabama State Troopers after 25 years of service in which he rose to the rank of Captain. He was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2014.