By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, May 4, 2017, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a number of bills related to the military in Alabama. Among the bills passed were one allowing Kay Ivey to continue being the Chairman of the State’s Military Stabilization Commission.
Senate Bill 242 sets up the Alabama Job Creation and Military Stability Commission which would study, recommend, and secure the resources necessary to maintain Alabama’s strong military presence within its borders. SB242 was sponsored by state Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R from Madison). The bill was carried in the House by State Representative Dickie Drake (R-Leeds).
Rep. Drake said that the Commission was establish in 2011 by a joint resolution of the House and Senate. SB242 establishes it through an act which was needed for certain legal reasons.
Rep. Drake amended the bill on the House floor to establish a line of succession for the Chairmanship of the Commission. The Lieutenant Governor is the Chairman of the Commission. Kay Ivey through her office as Lt. Gov. has been chairing the Commission.
Rep. Drake said that Gov. Ivey is very passionate about the military. “She is very aware of all the goings on of the Commission.” The amendment makes the Governor the Chairman of the Commission when the office of Lt. Gov. is vacant as it is now.
State Representative Juandalynn Givan (D from Birmingham) said, “I can not support this. This is about one person. “What happens after 2018?”
Rep. Drake replied, “After 2018 there will be a Lieutenant Governor and they will be the Chairman.”
Rep. Drake said that the Adjutant General, the Secretary of Commerce, four retired military members, two House members, and two Senate members all serve on the committee in addition to the Lt. Gov.
Rep. Mary Moore complained that the Commission has not shared information with her even though the National Guard has facilities in their district. Drake promised to correct that in the future.
State Representative John Knight (D-Montgomery) told Drake, “I want to commend you,” but complained that all the military appreciation day bills ere Senate bills. Rep. Drake said that he introduced the same legislation in the House, but it is the Senate bills which made it through the legislative process.
Rep. Knight said that you have to stand up for the House or the Senate will run over you.
The bill passed overwhelmingly like the other Military Appreciation Day
State Representative Isaac Whorton (R from Valley) wrote on social media:
“SB218 creates a mechanism for the commission to fund its recommendations.
SB97 secures the re-employment rights of all deployed National Guard members living or simply working in Alabama.
SB203 guarantees public school access to recruiters from the nation’s military branches and the Department of Homeland Security.
SB204 ensures that Alabama’s Code of Military Justice fully conforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice used on the federal level.S
SB241 allows the use of state industrial access funds on military property in order to promote job creation.
SB96 requires the Alabama Department of Human Resources to report suspected cases of child abuse to the U.S. Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program if an involved parent is in the military.”
Rep. Drake and State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) said that the bills are designed to improve the State’s chances of retaining its existing military bases and perhaps even benefitting from the next round of Base Realignments And Closings (BRAC).
All the bills passed with wide bipartisan support.
Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) said, “I think it is important that we took time to make this a military appreciation day.”
All of the bills have already passed the Senate.