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Jones calls on Rogers to apologize. Rogers says Trump Jr.’s mother should have aborted him

Brandon Moseley

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Video courtesy of Alabama Public Television

Thursday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) said that he was appalled by recent comments made by state Representative John Rogers, D-Birmingham, during debate on the Alabama Statehouse floor on Tuesday. Rogers defended abortion saying that aborted babies would have to be killed later if they had lived.

“I thought it was outrageous,” Jones said. I was absolutely appalled. I didn’t see that until this morning. I have known Representative Rogers for a long, long time. I think he owes an apology to the people of the state. I think he owes an apology to members of the legislature. That is one of the problems with discussing these types of issues, people get emotional and people tend not to respect each other’s opinions as much, and you end up with comments like this. It is very, very unfortunate and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”

Rogers’ inflammatory remarks have created a national firestorm. After first being reported by the Alabama Political Reporter, the story has been picked up by the cable news networks and many papers and news websites.

“Some children are just unwanted,” Rogers said. “You either kill them now or you kill them later in the electric chair.”

“Some parents can’t handle a child with problems,” Rogers said on the floor of the House. “It could be retarded. It might have no arms and no legs.”

On Thursday the Alabama Political Reporter talked with Rogers at the Alabama Statehouse.

“I stand by what I said,” Rogers told APR. “Two die in the prisons every night.”

State Senator Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, told APR that Rogers made up that statistic.

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APR asked Rogers, Do you support abortion in the eighth or ninth month?

Rogers said, “I as a legislator will not get between a woman and her God and make that decision for her.”

Most Alabama Democrats walked out of the legislature during the debate, leaving Rogers with just two other legislators opposing the Republican supermajority.

Reporters with Channel 13 TV asked Rogers what he thought of the Alabama Democratic Caucus decision to walk out.

“They were stupid,” Roger said.

APR talked with the leader of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus state Representative Artis “A.J.” McCampbell, D-Livingston, who took objection with that comment. “The definition of stupid is to keep doing the same thing you have always done and getting the same results.” We could have sat there for ten hours and the story would have been that Democrats tried to block the bill. By walking out we were able to get our statement out. It was, “A change of tactics.”

Donald Trump Jr, the President’s son has condemned Rogers’ comments.

“This is stomach curling and makes Ralph Northam look like a moderate on abortion,” Trump Jr. said. “Every Democrat running for President needs to be asked where they stand on this. The extreme turn we have seen from Dems on abortion has been really sickening.”

APR asked Rogers to respond to Trump Jr.’s comments

“That’s an honor,” Rogers said.

“He is either crazy or retarded,” Rogers said blasting Trump Jr.: “I could tell there was something wrong with him just by looking at him.”

Rogers told APR: “His mother should’ve aborted him when he was born or he wouldn’t have made that stupid comment.”

WVTM Channel 13 TV in Birmingham filmed that answer in its entirety.

Senator Jones condemned Rogers comments against Trump:

“The rhetoric of Rep. John Rogers gets more appalling each time he speaks. He does not speak for the people of Alabama and is in fact offending all Alabamians with his crude and reprehensible comments.”

Trump 2016 Victory Chair Perry Hooper Jr. told the Alabama Political Reporter that he served with Rogers in the House of Representatives and considers Rogers a friend.

Hooper said that he could not believe that Rogers said that Trump Jr. should have been aborted. “John, apologize.  You are a bigger man than that.”

The use of “retarded” to slam a political opponent and suggesting that the president’s son should have been aborted angered Planned Parenthood.

“We are disgusted and deeply offended by the most recent comments from Representative Rogers,” said Planned Parenthood Southeast President and CEO Staci Fox. “Not only were his remarks reprehensible, they are a complete distraction from the real work still left to be done in this state. The people of Alabama deserve better.”

“Our state suffers from a dire OBGYN shortage, skyrocketing infant and maternal mortality rates, and more deaths from cervical cancer than anywhere else in the country,” Fox said. “Now we face an outright abortion ban that would be a death sentence for even more Alabama women.”

Rogers said that he has gotten many emails supporting him and thanking him for what he said, “Thank God for you for telling the truth.”

Despite Rep. Rogers’ effort HB314, sponsored by state Representative Terri Collins, R-Decatur, easily passed the House and is now in the Alabama Senate. Collins hopes that the bill will pass the Alabama Senate without being amended.

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House

Alabama Legislature plans to return to work briefly March 31

Eddie Burkhalter

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The Alabama Senate is planning to get to only a few big, constitutionally mandated items before calling an end to the year’s legislative session amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but whether they’ll get those tasks accomplished remains to be seen. 

Senate leadership is advising lawmakers who fall into “at-risk” categories because of their age or pre-existing medical conditions to not attend the Senate’s meeting when it resumes.

Among the items legislators tentatively plan to tackle before gaveling the session closed sometime in the future are the passage of the Education Trust Fund budget and the General Fund budget, which is the Legislature’s only constitutionally mandated duty.

And “other bills deemed necessary.” 

The state Senate’s Plan of Action, obtained by APR Friday, states that the Senate will meet at 2 p.m. on March 31 for its 14th legislative day. 

“The intent for this legislative day is to advance only essential attendance items and then to adjourn to a date certain for the 15th Legislative Day. April 28 has been discussed with the House,” the plan reads. 

The State Senate’s plan: 

“As leaders, it is imperative that we demonstrate that the business of this state carries on in an orderly and systematic fashion while adhering to the recommendations of our public health officials.

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The Alabama Senate will meet on Tuesday, March 31 at 2:00 pm at the Statehouse in the Senate Chamber as scheduled. This will be the 14th Legislative Day.

The intent for this legislative day is to advance only essential attendance items and then to adjourn to a date certain for the 15th Legislative Day. April 28 has been discussed with the House.

Below is a draft agenda for Tuesday, March 31.

  • Gavel In
  • Pledge and Prayer
  • Roll Call
  • Excuse all Senators
  • Points of Personal Privilege
  • President Pro Tem Marsh
  • Majority Leader Reed
  • Minority Leader Singleton
  • Adjourn to date certain for 15th Legislative Day.

“It is highly recommended that any Senator that falls into any of the at-risk categories stay away from the March 31 Legislative Day,” the plan advises. “However, each Senator’s personal wish will be accommodated.”

Any Senator or staff member that is ill, has been ill, or has been in the same room of anyone that has had any symptom of illness in the 72 hours preceding the March 31 Legislative Day must stay away from the March 31 Legislative Day, according to the Senate’s leadership.

A disinfecting station will be provided under the canopy of the second-floor rear entrance for each senator to disinfect hands and cell phones as they enter the State House and as they leave the Statehouse.

“We must ensure that we practice all Health Department recommendations while at the Statehouse,” the plan reads.

Social distancing will be accomplished by having senators report to their offices by 1:45 p.m. They will then walk into the chamber as the roll is called and then go back to their offices.

“As much separation as possible is required therefore greetings must be verbal only from a distance of 6 feet or greater,” the plan reads.

The remainder of the session will be held possibly Tuesday, April 28 through Monday, May 18.

This timeframe includes three weeks of the session plus the last day of May 18.

A specific plan for meeting more days than normal will be developed and provided prior to the next legislative meeting date.

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House

$200,000 in campaign finance penalties deposited into State General Fund

Staff

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Act 2015-495, which went into effect beginning with the 2018 Election Cycle, allows the Secretary of State’s Office to issue penalties to Political Action Committees (PACs) and Principal Campaign Committees (PCCs) that fail to timely file campaign finance reports.

As of today, the Office of the Secretary of State has collected $202,504.20 which has been deposited into the State General Fund to benefit the people of Alabama.

Conversations with the Senate and House General Fund Chairmen are currently underway to determine the best way to allocate these resources to counties.

Anyone who receives a campaign finance penalty is able to appeal their penalty to the Alabama Ethics Commission who has the authority to overturn a penalty.

“When I campaigned for this office in 2014, I made a promise to the people of Alabama that I would work to see that it is easy to vote and hard to cheat in this state. Since then, we have worked to make the electoral process more fair and transparent through requiring the honest reporting of all PACs and PCCs,” stated Secretary of State John H. Merrill.

Anyone who suspects an individual may be in violation of the Alabama Election Fairness Project is encouraged to report suspicious activity to StopVoterFraudNow.com.

 

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Economy

Daniels: We have to get help to those who need it most

Josh Moon

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There is not enough help coming fast enough to the people struggling the most. 

That was the message from Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, who was asked on the “Alabama Politics This Week” podcast about the efforts of Alabama’s state government to address the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“If you’ve never been poor, you don’t fully comprehend how things like this affect the poor and the unique problems the poor people face,” Daniels said. “I commend Gov. (Kay) Ivey and her staff for working to try and address this crisis the best they can, but I just think there’s a lack of understanding among all of us in some cases of how people need help.” 

To address those issues, at least in part, Daniels is writing a series of letters to different entities, including Ivey, to explain how they can best help the state’s most vulnerable. 

Daniels plans to ask the Alabama Supreme Court to order lower courts to halt foreclosure proceedings and evictions for those affected by coronavirus job losses and illnesses. He also will ask Ivey to intervene with banks on behalf of customers who are falling hopelessly behind on mortgage, car loans and other installment loans. And he will seek additional assistance from the state for borrowers with overwhelming student loan debt. 

“I want people to understand that I’m not criticizing what’s being done or trying to take control, I just hear from these folks on a daily basis and believe there are some better ways to help people,” Daniels said. “President Trump has addressed student loan debt by knocking the interest of those loans, but what does that really do for a person who just lost a job? Or someone who’s had hours and pay cut? We need to pause those payments and give people substantial forgiveness. 

“Otherwise, it’s going to be ugly.”

Democrats in the House also have been putting together potential legislation that could be passed to help the state’s poorest citizens and those who have been laid off from jobs. The specifics of those pieces of legislation weren’t available, but Daniels said they would have the same focus — providing real help for those who need it most. 

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If those bills are anything like the measures taken during the last economic downturn, you can expect a relaxing of rules on social programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and unemployment assistance programs. 

One of the first moves could be overturning a measure passed during the last legislative session that cut the number of weeks of unemployment pay in the state from 26 to 14. State Sen. Arthur Orr sponsored that legislation, and critics argued at the time that a downturn, such as the one that occurred in 2008, could suddenly leave thousands in the state without jobs and job prospects. It passed anyway.

 

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House

Alabama House cancels March 25 committee meetings due to coronavirus

Jessa Reid Bolling

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The Alabama House of Representatives announced on Monday that committee meetings scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 will be cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The legislative day on March 26 has not technically been cancelled but the House is not expected to have a quorum for that day.

A “quorum” is the minimum number of House members that must be present at any meeting to make the proceedings of that meeting valid. If there are not enough members present, then the meeting cannot proceed and House rules state that the speaker of the House is allowed to set a new date for the meeting. 

The Legislature is currently on an annual spring break. The House and Senate are both expected to reconvene on March 31. According to the statement from the House, a joint decision will be made regarding the future legislative meeting days.

The full statement reads:

“The leadership of the Alabama House of Representatives has made several changes to the upcoming meeting calendar because of the coronavirus crisis in the state.

House committees that were scheduled to meet on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 have been cancelled.

The House is scheduled to meet on Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. but no quorum is expected that day.

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Under House Rule 5(b), if there’s no quorum to conduct business during a state of emergency declared by the governor, the speaker of the House is allowed to set the date and time of the next meeting day. 

Both the House and Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 and at that time a joint decision will be made as to future legislative meeting days.”

 

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