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Walt Maddox: Legislature failed to do their jobs this session

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox released a statement critical of the Republican supermajority following the end of the 2018 legislative session.

“Yesterday, the majority of Alabamians went to work with the full expectation of doing their jobs,” Maddox said. “The same cannot be said about the super-majorities in the legislature which again ended another session failing to address critical needs in education, mental health, health care, corrections and infrastructure. While the lobbyists and special interests were rewarded with a loophole in the ethics law, the super-majorities failed to do their jobs for the people of Alabama.”

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, has a far more optimistic assessment of the 2018 session. McCutcheon said that he would grade the session a high B or a low A, when asked by reporters to grade the session.

“In terms of efficiency, cooperation, and significant legislation passed, the 2018 regular session should be considered among the most successful in recent years,” McCutcheon said in a statement, “Because of conservative fiscal practices and a wise carryover of funds from the previous year, the General Fund budget, which is the largest since 2008, provides state employees with their first pay raise in a decade, begins to address critical needs in our prisons, and keeps the essential functions of government moving forward.”

“Our $6.6 billion Education Trust Fund budget rewards educators with a generous but affordable pay raise, offers healthy increases at all levels of public education, and further expands Alabama’s nationally-recognized ‘First Class’ pre-kindergarten program,” the Speaker continued. “Important bills that address Alabama’s opioid addiction crisis, provide working families with only the second state income tax cut in 86 years, and bring a new layer of protection and security to school classrooms were passed.”

“I am most proud that the partisan discord and floor fighting that has plagued the House over the past several years was largely absent as our members worked cooperatively in the best interests of Alabamians,” McCutcheon concluded.

The Republicans have had a super-majority since stunning victories in 2010. The GOP legislative super-majorities have successfully navigated the worst of the aftermath of the Great Recession. Employment has turned around, and they were able to avoid major revenue increases; but critics argue that in doing that they cut mental health, neglected prisons, underpaid teachers, and cut state services.

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Maddox is the mayor of Tuscaloosa and is a candidate for governor in the June 5 Democratic primary.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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