By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, leaders of various conservative and Tea Party groups held a planning meeting at the Alabama State House an hour before the 2018 Regular Legislative Session began.
Dr. Lou Campomenosi with the Common Sense Campaign of Alabama emceed the event. Campomenosi said, “I think it is important for people like us to meet to set the tone for the Legislature.”
Pastor John Killian praised the efforts of the Tea Party. “You folks, your work has paid off. Things are not perfect, but things are better than they were before 2010. Over a billion dollars has been cut, pro-life bills have passed, they sent us a constitutional amendment on pro-life that we should pass or they will never listen to us again.” Killian also praised the rolling reserve act and warned against legislation doing away with an elected school board. He also warned about a National Constitutional convention.
“We spend a lot of time in the building,” Ann Eubank, president of the Rainy Day Patriots and head of Alabama Legislative Watchdogs, said, “This year and we are back again.”
Eubank praised the Legislature for the work being done by the economic reform committee under Danny Garrison.
“All we hear is we need more revenue,” Eubank said. “Common core has put us at 48th to 50th in the nation [in education].”
Eubank said that she has looked at the pre-filed bills and said that there is a bill that says you can not smoke in a car if a child is present. “I don’t smoke; but the government is going to tell you when you can smoke? If you allow them to take that freedom, what is the next freedom they are going to take away? The daycare licensing bill is back. It is not about children.”
“The Republicans have controlled Alabama for eight years and we are back to where we started – WHY,” Eubank asked. Eubanks said that the Watchdogs were going to reintroduce the watchdog corruption platform. “I think the Ethics Commission and its funding should be taken out from under an appointed commission and be given to the Attorney General’s office.”
Former state Sen. John Rice said, “I was only here for eight years. I served one term in the State House and one term in the Senate.”
“The statement of economic interests is ridiculous it tells you nothing,” Rice said. “It has been so disappointing to watch education fall from 25 and 26 to essentially dead last in the country.”
Rice said that they had fought the power of the big mules in Birmingham to control Alabama through corporate donations for years while the Democrats had control. Instead of reforming campaign finances, the Republicans passed a law allowing unlimited corporate contributions.
Retired Colonel Mike Parsons denounced Common Core as an attempt to transform the country into a socialist model. Parsons warned that it will transform education to a socialist model that will place our kids where the numbers say that they fit. Common Core is the standards, the assessments and the data collection.
“Sentance he was on track to repeal the Common core standards,” Parsons said. “He was on a path to do it because they were not good standards.”
Republican candidate for Attorney General Alice Martin said that as a U.S. attorney, she got over 140 federal convictions of elected and appointed public officials. As Deputy Alabama Attorney General, she was a part of over 20 state public corruption convictions. Martin said that while she was state deputy attorney general, they tried to pass ethics reform through the Alabama Legislature but could not because of then Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. Martin said that the three bills the AG wanted, “Passed quickly out of the Senate but in the House we could not even get a committee meeting. We learned that the Committee Chairmen were told by Hubbard if they even had a hearing, they would be stripped of their committee chair.”
Dr. Lou Campomenosi with the Common Sense Campaign of Alabama said that it is important that the legislators realize that someone is watching.
Campomenosi said that they have had a mixed bag of results to this point. Common Core has not been repealed and ethics reform has not passed. “We beat Matt Brown, the BCA candidate for school board even though he had the money. The legislature has not repealed Common Core. Our one chance was Michael Sentance and Stephanie Bell sabotaged those efforts. I like Stephanie Bell, but I don’t know what she was doing with that one.”
Sean Grehalva spoke in favor of term limits legislation.
Shanna Marie Chamblee with Alabama Gun Rights spoke in favor of constitutional carry. Presently, Alabama requires citizens to carry their guns concealed, even though no permit is necessary to carry your guns openly. AGR and the National Rifle Association support Sen. Gerald Allen’s constitutional carry bill.
The 2018 Legislative Session is now underway and is expected to be unusually short.