Connect with us

Legislature

Legislature expects $500 million more for education in 2021

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Saturday, State Senator James “Jabo” Waggoner Jr., R-Vestavia Hills, told the Mid Alabama Republican Club (MARC) that the Education Trust Fund (ETF) will be $500 million greater in the 2021 budget than in the 2020.

“Revenue in the education budget is up over $500 million because the economy is booming,” Waggoner said. We are looking at a $7.5 billion education budgets instead of a $7 billion education budget that we have now.

Sen. Waggoner said that January has been spent meeting with constituents, county commissions, city councils ahead of the 2021 Legislative Session that begins on February 4. There was an important meeting in Birminghamport.

“There will probably be a thousand bills introduced,” Waggoner said. “The good news is that only about twenty percent of those will pass.”

State Representative Jim Carns, R-Vestavia Hills, said that there a couple of huge issues facing the Legislature. “One of them is the prison system.”

Carns said that the federal government is pressuring the state to improve prison conditions. If we do it within our own resources we determine how we do it; but if there is a federal consent decree; they determine how much we have to spend.

“Gambling is coming up,” Carns said. “There will be three or four different areas being brought before the legislature.”

Advertisement

The Poarch Creek Band of Indians is putting considerable pressure on legislators to accept a proposal giving them a gambling monopoly in the state of Alabama. PCI is running statewide ads promising to pay one billion for the gambling rights. There are also legislators promoting bills to allow electronic bingo at the dog tracks and other legislators are promoting competing lottery proposals.

“We are going to have an action packed budget,” Carns said. “The booming economy has increase tax receipts. We will have seven and a half billion. I can remember a few years ago where our education budget was four and a half billion.

In most states, the increased income tax receipts would mean that the money could be placed where the greatest need is. In Alabama’s case, the greatest need is the Alabama Department of Corrections; because the state faces both a Department of Justice order to improve the prisons and a federal lawsuit that is currently in Judge Myron Thompson’s court. In the State of Alabama however over ninety percent of revenues are earmarked. All state income taxes are earmarked for the ETF and can not be transferred to the State General Fund (SGF).

Advertisement
Advertisement

The Mid-Alabama Republican Club swore in its new officers.

Jefferson County Commissioners Steve Ammons (R) will be the new President of MARC, taking over for former State Representative Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood. DeMarco is the new Chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party.

MARC meets for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month at the Vestavia Public Library.

The 2020 Legislative Session begins on February 4.

 

Advertisement

House

ACLU of Alabama condemns bill banning transgender treatment for minors

Jessa Reid Bolling

Published

on

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alabama has condemned a recently approved bill to prevent doctors from providing hormone replacement therapy or puberty suppressing drugs to people younger than 19 who identify as transgender.

House Bill 303, the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, would make it a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for doctors to prescribe puberty-blocking medications or opposite gender hormones to minors. The legislation would also ban hysterectomy, mastectomy or castration surgeries from being performed on minors.

The Alabama House Health Committee and the Senate Health Committee approved the bill on Wednesday in separate hearings, both drawing overflow crowds. The committee approval moves the bill in line for consideration by the full House. 

The ACLU of Alabama said in a statement that the bill targets transgender youth and puts their academic success and health in danger. 

“Transgender girls are girls, and transgender boys are boys,” said Dillon Nettles, policy analyst at the ACLU of Alabama. “Alabama lawmakers are considering legislation that runs counter to medical science, prevailing standards for the treatment of transgender youth and basic human dignity.

“The government shouldn’t threaten medical providers with jail for treating transgender kids and schools shouldn’t discriminate against them when it comes to participation in school sports. HB303 and HB35 are dangerous, discriminatory and put kids at risk.”

Multiple women’s sports advocacy organizations, including The National Women’s Law Center, the Women’s Sports Foundation and Women Leaders in College Sports, support trans-inclusive policies and oppose efforts to exclude transgender students from participating in sports.

Advertisement

A June 2019 report from the Trevor Project on mental health issues among LGBTQ youth across the United States found that 78 percent of transgender and non-binary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity in the past year. The report also found that 39 percent of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year, with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered. 

The Trevor Project is a non-profit organization that focuses on suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth. 

This is the second bill in the State House this year dealing with transgender youth. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, is sponsoring House Bill 35, titled the Gender Is Real Legislative Act, or GIRL Act. It would require student athletes in K-12 schools to participate as the gender listed on their birth certificate, preventing transgender athletes from competing as the gender they identify as.

 

Continue Reading

House

Alabama House passes bail reform bill named for Aniah Blanchard

Jessa Reid Bolling

Published

on

The Alabama House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly yesterday to pass legislation to give judges more discretion in denying bail to people accused of committing violent crimes.

The legislation, House Bill 81, is named for Aniah Blanchard, a 19-year-old Alabama college student who was kidnapped and murdered last year. The man charged with her murder, Ibraheed Yazeed, was out on bond for charges including kidnapping and attempted murder at the time he was arrested in connection with Blanchard’s case. 

Section 16 of the 1901 Constitution of Alabama currently requires that “all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great; and that excessive bail shall not, in any case, be required.”

This bill would allow judges to deny bail in cases involving certain violent offences and it amends the Constitution to read: ”If no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm to the accused, the public, or both, ensure the presence of the accused at trial, or ensure the integrity of the judicial process, the accused may be detained without bail. Excessive bail shall not in any case be imposed or required.”

Blanchard’s father, Elijah Blanchard, stepmother, Yashiba Blanchard, and mother, Angela Harris, were in the House gallery and received a standing after the bill passed by a vote of 104-0. 

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Chip Brown, R-Mobile, goes to the Alabama Senate next for consideration.

 

Advertisement

Continue Reading

House

Bill to change the process to implement occupational tax advances in the Senate

Staff

Published

on

By

Thursday, the Alabama Senate passed House Bill 147 which changes the process required to implement the occupational tax. The bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Sells, R- Greenville, was passed in the Senate by a vote of 27-7.

House Bill 147 would ensure protection for workers who live outside of the municipality they work and do not have a voice to be in support of, or to reject the occupational tax set forth by local government officials. This bill requires that the Legislature vote on the occupational tax rather than local leaders having the power to implement the tax on their own.

Senator Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, carried the bill on the Senate floor and praised it passage. 

“As was brought in the debate today, representation is fundamental in our country. Lack of representation is what moved our country toward independence. Being subject to an occupational tax without representation is no different. Passage of HB147 simply gives us that representation,” said Senator Chambliss.

Senator Andrew Jones, R-Centre, expressed his support for the legislation. 

“Today is a great day for hard working Alabamians. The occupational tax is harmful to economic development. I was proud to be one of the Senators who worked to raise this issue and bring it to the forefront and I think that our state will benefit as a whole thanks to its passage. I feel like Alabamians are better off now that the legislature has put accountability in place for these taxes,” said Senator Jones.

The legislation will not affect any municipality that enacted an occupational tax within their jurisdiction before February 1, 2020.  

Advertisement

With its passage in the Senate, House Bill 147 will now go to the Governor for a signature.

 

Continue Reading

Legislature

Legislature declares pornography a public health crisis in Alabama

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Thursday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring that pornography is a public health crisis in Alabama.

SJ7 was carried by State Representative Danny Garret (R-Trussville) in the House.

Garret warned that pornography leads to sex trafficking, violence against women and other crimes. When I was young it was in Playboy and other magazines now it is online actively seeking out young people.

State Representative Laura Hall (D-Huntsville) opposed the resolution saying that it was a waste of time and questioning if it really constitutes a public health crisis. Hall argued that Alabama has a public health crisis in that many lack access to healthcare. Friday, the two Houses held a joint session honoring Black History month and the many contributions that Black people have contributed to the state. Hall thought that it was inappropriate that a resolution on pornography was the focus of the House on the same day as the Black history program.

Garret said that pornography is an addiction that ruins lives.

Alabama Eagle Forum supported this resolution. They argue that young children are now exposed to hardcore (mainstream) pornography at an alarming rate and that 27 percent of older millennials (age 25-30) reporting that they first viewed pornography before puberty and that 64 percent of people ages 13 to 24 actively seek out pornography weekly or more often, both males and females.

“The pervasive depictions of softcore and hardcore pornography in popular culture, and their easy accessibility via streaming and mobile devices, produce problems and significant risks outside the ability of individuals and families to manage on their own,” Eagle Forum wrote. “Like the Tobacco Industry, the Pornography Industry is Creating a Public Health Crisis. Despite tobacco’s former widespread use and acceptance in American culture, once its harms became apparent, society took action and adopted dramatic new policies to limit the harmful effects of smoking. Similarly, we believe that people need to be protected from pornography exposure and be made aware of the risks associated with pornography use. Additionally, pornography should not be socially endorsed, normalized, or presented as cool. IMPACT ON SEXUAL VIOLENCE Pornography Teaches that Women Enjoy Sexual Violence: Analysis of the 50 most popular pornographic videos (those bought and rented most often) found that 88% of scenes contained physical violence, and 49% contained verbal aggression. 87% of aggressive acts were perpetrated against women, and 95% of their responses were either neutral or expressions of pleasure.[v] Pornography Is Linked to Increased Sexual Violence: A 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that internationally the consumption of pornography was significantly associated with increases in verbal and physical aggression, among males and females alike.”

Advertisement

The House passed SJR7 67 to 19.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Authors

Advertisement

The V Podcast

Facebook

Trending

.