Legislative News Stuff

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, The Alabama Second Special Session Will Be Nuts


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Right now as I am writing this, the legislatures clowns down in Montgomery are already back in a second special session.  Tonight is pretty much a come together, because starting tomorrow, the fireworks really begin!  Already, the fireworks have begun on social media with the hashtag #alpolitics.  I mean, the war of tweets between the two political sides are a hoot to watch!  Here are a few examples!

Let me add in my two cents to the Alabama political debate!

So, what will happen in this second special session?  I mean, there are already some major things happening with our political leaders in The Gump.  For starters, Governor Bentley is now dealing with a divorce of his wife, who have been married for over 50 years.  One website has reported the reason for the divorce is because of having a extramarital affair with a former communications director.  While I am not here saying that is the case, one thing really needs to happen here.  Governor Bentley needs to come clean!

What happened Mr. Bentley?  Did you misuse state taxpayers funds?  Did you have an affair?  Did you do something else that would break the law?  Sir, if you did something incredibly stupid, do the most honest thing you can do and resign!  But, I am sure you don’t have plans to do that.  Heck, if the Speaker of the House didn’t step down when he was indicted on those felony corruption charges, you are going to do the same thing most other politicians here in Alabama does when they get into trouble, hold onto power for as long as you can before you are handcuffed and forced out of office.  Is that right?

Other than the corrupt politicians down there, we also have some politicians who thinks having hardly any government at all is the right thing in Alabama.  Sure, let’s keep on cutting until the feds comes in and takes over!  Is that the ultimate plan Republicans?  Today, one of those keep cutting Rhinos named Sen. Phil Williams from Rainbow City wrote an op-ed to several news outlets in Alabama.  He actually compared the current General Fund crisis to the classic Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist.  He is comparing the state government to the scene where the boy holds up the bowl and says “Please sir, may I have some more?”

So it looks like Sen. Williams and others are wanting to raid the Education Trust Fund to bail out the General Fund.  That is the only thing the rhinos down in Montgomery are wanting to do, raid other sources of revenue to bail out trouble, instead of doing the thing that will ultimately must be done, reform and raise some taxes in Alabama.  I’m sorry Mr. Williams, but having a $400 million surplus by the end of fiscal year 2016 for the Education Trust Fund is wonderful news!  The trust fund has seen the second highest amount of cuts in the nation since 2008.  And many school systems are dealing with shortfalls, and are asking students to bring in simple things like toilet paper.  Something you should never have to ask students to bring in.

So, is the plan by the clowns down in Montgomery raid the Education Trust Fund, forcing it into proration, and causing more teachers to leave Alabama, and more schools to suffer in education quality?  I hope not!  The Legislature will not care about this. There is a complete lack of support for public education in Montgomery. Our schools rank some of the worst in America, and who cares, let’s just cut education past the bone!  And if you don’t believe me about the cuts to schools, take a look at this graph below.  And tell me again if you support more education cuts in Alabama again?

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At least not everyone in the state supports massive cuts to state government that would cause massive trouble inside Alabama.  A new group called Stand Tall Alabama got more than 200 Alabama groups, churches, health centers, hospitals, clinics, and organizations to tell members of the Alabama Legislature to STAND TALL and fully fund vital services that affect you and every Alabamian.  Here is that letter being sent to everyone in the legislature!

Dear Legislators:

Alabama is at a crossroads. The path you choose could define our state for a generation. As you consider the General Fund budget in a second special session, we, the undersigned organizations, urge you to stand tall and choose a path that will make Alabama stronger. We need $300 million in new revenue to protect vital services we all rely on, especially our children, seniors and most vulnerable neighbors. A strong budget also will let the state move forward on sensible and widely popular reforms.

Our tax dollars support the daily upkeep of our common good. Important services like Medicaid,mental health care and public safety make Alabama a better place for all of us to live and work. In recent years, these services have been cut to the bone. Further cuts will set our state’s health system and economy on a dangerous course. Hospitals in many rural areas will be forced to close their doors. Across the state, mental health patients and their families will have nowhere to turn. Thousands of working mothers will lose safe child care. Highways will become more dangerous as state troopers lose their jobs. Court layoffs will slow the legal process. Every Alabama community will see its quality of life decline.

A budget is more than a balance sheet. It’s a statement of our values. We can’t balance the budget on the backs of “the least of these.” Lives and livelihoods are at stake. We need a budget that makes Alabama stronger, not weaker.

Stop the cuts, approve $300 million in new General Fund tax revenue and stand tall for Alabama’s future.

If you want to see every person, business, or ogranization that has signed the letter, go to: http://www.standtallalabama.com/groups-tell-legislature.  You might want to include Geek Alabama on this list, because major cuts to the General Fund would be bad for Alabama!

One more thing the clowns down in Montgomery and the rhinos across Alabama needs to see!  Here is what would be closed down or affected from the Alabama Political Reporter.  Let’s hope it does not come down to this, or be even worse than this list below.  Man Alabama needs a major wake up call!

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency will: close all driver license offices except Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville, close 13 Trooper posts, shut down the Agriculture and Rural Crime Unit, layoff Aviation staff and Fleet Management Staff, layoff 1/3 of all non-sworn personnel, layoff 75 of 431 Highway Patrol Troopers, layoff 30 of 147 Special Agents, and layoff 8 of 31 Capitol Police Troopers.

The Alabama Department of Public Health will: close the Coosa County Health Department, reduce Licensures and Certifications, eliminate nicotine patch purchases, reduce disease control staff, reduce staff for restaurant health inspections, and reduce area and state support staff.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will: have some layoffs, lose Federal Funds for Marine Resources and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and close facilities including: several State Parks, Lands Division facilities, and Wildlife facilities. The size and scope is yet to be determined but the figure of 15 State parks has been used.

The Department of Forensic Sciences will close the Huntsville Morgue and eliminate fire debris (arson) analysis.

The Department of Youth Services will: lose diversion grants, layoff personnel and close detention facilities, and the juvenile commitment backlog will likely increase.

The Department of Agriculture and Industries will likely: close two diagnostic labs that test dead farm animals for diseases and the seed lab.

The Department of Senior Services is expected to lose $2.55 million in federal funds because the state won’t have the funds to provide matching dollars. Federal Funding is 69 percent of their funding versus 31 percent from the state. This could lead to an expanded waiting list beyond the current referral list of 7,100+ and increased costs by diverting clients from Medicaid Waiver program ($838 monthly) back into costly intuitional care ($5,900 monthly).

The Environmental Management Agency (ADEM) will have less money for inspections so the Bentley administration claim there could be an: increase in abandoned waste landfills and tire dump sites, an increase in illegal dumps, and deferred or eliminated cleanup of petroleum releases into soil and groundwater.

The Department of Commerce will eliminate project recruitment efforts.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is threatening to: eliminate the Alabama Rural Development Office, eliminate the Small Business Office, eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission and warns that there will be a loss of federal funds for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG).

The Military Department warns that they may have to close up to 11 Armories (13 percent of Armories) in the State.

The Department of Labor will layoff two of seven positions (leaving only five employees in Mine Safety Division). This will lead to reduced and delayed mine safety inspections and the elimination of the training contract with Bevill State College for mine rescue teams.

Medicaid will have to make cuts to medical services for the poor and nursing home services for the elderly.

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