By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was campaigning to a full house of over 230 in the town hall of Henager, Alabama, in rural DeKalb County. At least 50 journalists and news media were also on hand both inside and outside the building.
Roy Moore said, “There is fourteen days left to the general election. We are very exciting. It has been a long and enduring campaign and grueling at times. We have been looking for the end for a while. Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedules to hear about the campaign. We are working very hard. We have been going to meetings and having private meetings. We have been doing all the campaign stuff and got several events this week again and are going to be very busy on the campaign trail.”
“This campaign has been rather strange, rather odd, very unusual,” former Chief Justice Moore said. “It is a special election. It had to be called because there was a vacancy created when Donald Trump appointed Jeff Sessions after he became President. A special election had to be called. We went through a big rigamaro over that, but they finally set a special election and they set it as a very strange time December 12 as the general election. We have been through a primary with eight or nine candidates. I think one dropped out. Then there was a primary runoff. A runoff that was highly touted. This is a special election, “But it is very important because it precedes a general election for the U.S. Senate. For some reason in Washington this is seen as very important. It is important because they know that there is an established group in Washington that do not want change. They want people who will follow along like they have done and not pass President Trump’s agenda. Not look at them.”
“This election has been very contested nationally,” Moore said. “Lots of money has been spent on this election, in the primary runoff alone over $30 million has been spent on one candidate. Over $30 million. That is a lot of money. We did not raise near that amount of money but we were victorious.”
“I am opposed by the Establishment, of both the Democrats and the Republicans. They don’t want me as a Senator,” Moore said. “CNN put it out best on July 2 2017 when they wrote that the Alabama Senate Race is a test case for the GOP divide. They said that the Republican Establishment is in near panic mode because their establishment favorite is trailing, this was written during the primary. McConnell, who has a narrow 52 to 48 majority, has made it clear that he does not want a conservative rebel in a GOP Caucus already difficult to manage. They are aware of my past. They know that I am difficult to manage. That means that I have my own mind. They want to do what they have been doing for 50 years and not get anything done.”
“We have seen false and negative attacks by the both the Republican and now the Democrats establishment,” Moore said. “My wife has been attacked, I have been attacked, my son has been attacked. My Foundation for Moral Law has been attacked.” They said I took a million dollars. I didn’t take a million dollars. They finally acknowledged that I didn’t get a million dollars; but said that I should have been paid a million dollars but, they did not pay me because they did not have it but said you should have paid taxes on it. That is how ridiculous it has got.
“Two and a half weeks ago they have accused me of sexual misconduct,” Moore said. “This hurts me personally; because besides my wife, and my mother, and my only daughter I have five granddaughters. This hurts me that people would attack my character likes that after 40 years of service to this state and community and 50 if you count my military service. In all that time never once has this been alleged. And there have been numerous investigations. I have been investigated by the District Attorney, the Judicial Inquiry Commission, and four times in opposition research statewide and twice in local elections. Never once has it been brought up. When the Judicial Inquiry Commission investigated me in 1996; they asked all the attorneys in Etowah County if I had ever done anything wrong. This went on for a year and a half until I filed suit and it went to the Alabama Supreme Court. Now my opponent has pictures of young children appear conveniently on his commercials.”
“I do not know any of these women and I have never engaged in sexual misconduct with any woman,” Moore said. “As a former Judge and prosecutor I know the seriousness of these charges. I have met many victims of sexual abuse over the years, And I have not seen one who wanted her picture posted on national TV especially in political ads.”
“This is dirty politics,” Moore said. “A sign of the immorality of our times. This is just the sign of the times in which we live. Politicians will stop at nothing to win an election. My opponent is collecting a $million every four days. This is extravagant. Politicians will stop at nothing. They will publish false polls which they are doing today. They are trying to hide the true issues.”
Moore compared the accusations against him to the Russian investigation of President Donald Trump.
“They are taking attention away from the Senate and from the Congress who can’t pass legislation,” Moore said. “The people of this country want movement they don’t want false attacks like this, which is exactly what is happening in this case. They don’t want my opponents issues revealed how he stands on these issues.”
Moore said that Jones’s views are “Completely contrary to the people of this state and country.”
Moore read a Doug Jones quote from “The Economist” where the candidate would not commit to protecting the culture of the people of Alabama. Moore “translated” Jones answer: “Let me put some translation on this if your Christian culture does not accept abortion, sodomy, transgender rights; your rights will not be protected.”
Moore said that he believes what the Bible says. Moore said that there are vast differences between he and his opponent that the people of Alabama need to be aware of.
“He would not have voted for Jeff Session,” Moore said. “I am for the complete repeal Obamacare.”
Moore said that he wants open insurance selling across state lines by repealing the McCarren Ferguson Act.
“He wants to enlarge Obamacare which has already been proven to be a failure,” Moore said. “I know the military. I served in the military and I know how to strengthen the military and that is not by opposing President Trump’s ban on transgender troops in the military. I will support the Raise act.”
Moore said that he would reduce the number of immigrants coming into the country while his opponent would continue the liberal immigration policy that we have now.
“I will not fund Planned Parenthood.” Moore called Roe v. Wade, “An unconstitutional decision just like Dred Scott.”
Moore said that Jones was appointed by President Bill Clinton and was a delegate for Obama. “I opposed both Obama and Clinton.”
Moore said that he has faced spiritual battles before; but that “This has been a big one because I have faced things here that I have never faced in my life.”
“I have not run one negative ad but I am going to take off the gloves and tell the truth in this campaign,” Judge Moore said.
“I have vowed to take my knowledge of the Constitution and of the God on which it is founded to Washington and they do not want to hear it,” Moore said.
Moore said, I have fought in war. I fought in the political arena. “Now I am fighting a spiritual battle.”
The special general election between former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Moore and Clinton-era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones will be on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.
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.