2 years ago

Alabama lawmaker pushes Convention of States to pass balanced budget amendment

United States Capitol (Photo: Eric B. Walker)

A state senator is pushing to renew Alabama’s call for a Convention of States to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) has pre-filed a bill for the 2016 Legislative Session that would compel Alabama to join the “Compact for a Balanced Budget,” a group of states “uniting to fix the debt” through a federal Balanced Budget Amendment

The idea of a Convention of States gained steam in 2013 after conservative talk show host Mark Levin advocated for a states-led convention in his book The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution says that a convention of the states can be convened if two-thirds of the state legislatures (34) approve an application for the convention to occur.

By design, that’s a high bar to clear. And the bar gets even higher when it comes to actually passing a constitutional amendment.

Each state would then choose delegates to represent them at the convention, but each state would only get one vote on proposed amendments. It takes an affirmative vote from three-fourths (38) of the states to actually amend the constitution.

In short, the convention of the states is widely viewed as a last-ditch effort to push back against an overreaching federal government. 27 states have so far passed resolutions calling for a convention to pass a federal balanced budget amendment.

The Alabama Legislature passed a resolution earlier this year strictly limiting the purpose of a proposed convention to three areas:

1) Imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government through a balanced budget amendment;
2) limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government; and
3) implementing term limits on federal elected officials.

Members of the Alabama House and Senate who supported the effort say it was necessary because “the federal government has created a crushing national debt” and “invaded the legitimate roles of the states through the manipulative power of federal mandates.”

The resolution Sen. Allen is now proposing is even more narrowly defined. It would limit the convention to only addressing the question of a balanced budget amendment.

“Even if we don’t get enough states behind it, we’ll send a clear message to Congress,” Allen told the Anniston Star. “Get your house in order.”

The possibility of a “runaway convention” is the most often cited concern with convening such a meeting of the states.

“In the course of our work advising state and federal lawmakers and conservative allies across the country, we have been giving this issue close attention and study,” said Dr. Matthew Spalding of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “The lack of precedent, extensive unknowns, and considerable risks of an Article V amendments convention should bring sober pause to advocates of legitimate constitutional reform contemplating this avenue.”

But Rep. Ken Johnson (R-Moulton), who has sponsored a resolution calling for a Convention of States during the last couple of legislative sessions, said those concerns are overblown.

“Because we’ve never done it, the idea that there could be a ‘runaway convention’ is always brought up as a concern,” Johnson told Yellowhammer earlier this year. “The convention would be limited to a small set of issues. But on top of that, the safeguard is that it only takes 13 states to kill any runaway convention. If there aren’t 13 conservatives states left, we’re in trouble, period. And Washington is a runaway train right now anyway. How much more damage could be done?”

Alabama’s two Senate Budget Chairmen have also been actively involved in the rule-making process for a possible convention. Sen. Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) and Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) traveled to Mt. Vernon, Virginia to discuss the ground rules of a potential convention.

“We discussed the reality that the biggest threat to America is an irresponsible Federal Government,” said Pittman. “Checks that need to be put on the Federal Government have not been accomplished and based on current activity appear not to be likely… 32 (states) participated in the Mount Vernon Assembly, to prepare rules and form committees within a strict framework… to discuss and build support for a possible amendment convention of the States.”

Sen. Allen’s latest bill calls for a 24-hour, one-issue convention to convene in Dallas, Texas, the Wednesday after Congress receives the petition from the required number of states.

1. Two Alabama senators discuss potential constitutional convention at Mt. Vernon Assembly
2. Two top Ala. Senators propose bills laying out guidelines for Convention of States
3. Alabama officially applies to Congress for Convention of States


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VIDEO: Advocate against sex trafficking, porn interviewed on Living Life on Purpose

In this episode of Executive Lion’s Living Life On Purpose, Matt Wilson and Andrew Wells sit down with Melea Stephens, a Christian Counselor at Wellspring Christian Clinic in Vestavia Hills and an advocate against sex trafficking and pornography to discuss the effects these issues have on our society. This gripping episode tackles tough situations that are happening all around us and what we can do to help.


Stephens has been a successful counselor for many years in private practice and through her work with couples, she is working to shed light on root issues that lead to problems in life, marriage, and emotional and physical health. Stephens volunteers to fight against sex trafficking and is active in making people aware of the crimes and hurt that takes place as people view porn.

1) Melea has used her faith and experience to go after root causes of the issues she helps people battle on a daily basis. She is trying to eradicate the evil practices that lead to some behaviors that cripple relationships and cause all sorts of issues.

2) God can shine light on a situation and you can see it as though you have never seen it before, then he can put the cause on your heart and allow you to make a positive difference.

3) Sometimes we have to have tough conversations about uncomfortable topics in order to solve problems. We can’t just sweep certain things under the rug and pretend as though they don’t exist.

Learn more about this critical issue and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation here.

(What do you think of this issue? Start a conversation with your family and friends on social media)

39 mins ago

German auto supplier opens $46.3 million plant in Alabama

MöllerTech, a German auto supplier, has opened a $46.3 million plant in central Alabama.

Company officials said 222 employees will be hired at the new supply plant by the end of 2019, Al.com reported . The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held this week almost 16 months after the company announced it would build the plant in Bibb County.


Steve Jordan, President of MöllerTech’s North American division said the supply plant currently has 50 employees.

The supply plant will be next door to Mercedes-Benz’s new Global Logistics Center at the Scott G. Davis Industrial Park. The auto maker will also have an after-sales North American hub in the park.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International CEO Jason Hoff attended the ribbon cutting to welcome MöllerTech.

“This is a beautiful facility, and as a customer, when you walk in and get a first impression, it’s a very favorable impression,” he said.

MöllerTech’s parent company MöllerGroup has been in business for three centuries. The company has had a business relationship with Mercedes since the 1950s.

MöllerTech develops interior parts for Audi, BMW, Daimler, GM, Honda, Porche, Rolls-Royce and Toyota.

“There’s been a lot of energy among our early hires, which is very encouraging,” Jordan said. “Some have already grown into new positions early on which is very encouraging.”

(Image: Made In Alabama)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

2 hours ago

DeVoe, Clemson rout cold-shooting Auburn to reach Sweet 16

Clemson isn’t all about football.

The Tigers are pretty good at basketball, too, and are going to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 21 years.


Gabe DeVoe scored 22 points and Elijah Thomas had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Clemson, which closed the first half with a 25-4 run that helped it beat cold-shooting Auburn 84-53 on Sunday and advance to the Midwest Region semifinal.

“I think it’s a statement game,” Clemson guard Marcquise Reed said. “I think we showed how hard we can compete defensively. I think it’s a real good game for us moving forward.”

In a matchup between Southern schools better known for football — Clemson won the national championship two seasons ago — the No. 5 seed Clemson Tigers proved far more adept on the hardwood than the No. 4 seed Auburn Tigers.

The blowout win put Clemson (25-9) into the Sweet 16 for the fourth time overall and the first since 1997, earning it a spot against Kansas in the regional semifinal.

It was a humbling end for Auburn (26-8), which played this season under the cloud of a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.

The final 10½ minutes of the first half were a nightmare for Auburn, which made only 6 of 33 shots (18.2 percent) in the first half and 17 of 66 overall (25.8 percent).

“I really don’t know where we lost our focus,” Auburn guard Bryce Brown said. “All I can really honestly remember is they had a few stretches where they came down and knocked down shots and we had a few stretches where we came down and took kind of bad shots at times and that led to easy fast breaks for them.”

Jared Harper made a jumper with 10:33 before halftime to pull Auburn to 18-15. The Tigers then missed their next 18 field goals as Clemson raced to a 43-19 halftime lead.

Clemson scored 17 straight points, highlighted by 3-pointers by Anthony Oliver II and DeVoe, to make it 35-15.

Chuma Okeke made two free throws for Auburn, but the Tigers still couldn’t hit a field goal. They got two more free throws by Mustapha Heron with 1:20 to go.

Auburn finally snapped the drought from the field when Bryce Brown hit a 3-pointer 44 seconds into the second half. All that did was pull the Tigers within 21 points.

“I felt like they had a couple of good looks and they weren’t able to knock them down,” DeVoe said. “But we play well defensively like that. The easy looks don’t go in all the time. I think pressure and our defensive intensity really bottled them up offensively.”

The drought “was just bad for us early and it affected what we could do offensively and defensively,” Auburn’s Jarred Harper said.

“We just got away from playing offense together and playing defense together,” Davion Mitchell said.

Heron and Bryce Brown scored 12 points apiece for Auburn and Horace Spencer had 10.

Reed added 16 for Clemson and Shelton Mitchell had 10.

The rout was so complete that Clemson subbed in two walk-ons for the final two minutes.


“I don’t know how long since we’ve been to the Sweet 16, but I know for a fact this won’t be the last time,” Oliver said. “We have a special group of guys, not only for this year but for next year and the year after that.”


Clemson made 10 of 26 3-pointers. DeVoe made 6 of 9.

Auburn heads into an uncertain offseason. Assistant coach Chuck Person was indicted as part of a federal investigation that cost two of Auburn’s best players their eligibility. Person was accused of accepting bribes to steer players to a financial adviser once they turned pro and funneling money to the families of Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy. Neither played this season.


The 25 wins ties Clemson’s school record. … This was Clemson’s largest margin of victory in the NCAAs. The previous largest was an 83-70 win against Saint Mary’s in 1989.


Clemson plays top-seeded Kansas on Friday in Omaha.

(Image: NCAA March Madness/YouTube)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

2 hours ago

Is the GOP staring at another 1930?

After the victory of Donald Trump in 2016, the GOP held the Senate and House, two-thirds of the governorships, and 1,000 more state legislators than they had on the day Barack Obama took office.

“The Republican Party has not been this dominant in 90 years,” went the exultant claim.

A year later, Republicans lost the governorship of Virginia and almost lost the legislature.


Came then the loss of a U.S. Senate seat in ruby-red Alabama.

Tuesday, Democrats captured a House seat in a Pennsylvania district Trump carried by 20 points, and where Democrats had not even fielded a candidate in 2014 and 2016.

Republicans lately congratulating themselves on a dominance not seen since 1928, might revisit what happened to the Class of 1928.

In 1930, Republicans lost 52 House seats, portending the loss of both houses of Congress and the White House in 1932 to FDR who would go on to win four straight terms. For the GOP, the ’30s were the dreadful decade.

Is the GOP staring at another 1930?


Unlike 1930, though, the nation has not endured a Great Crash or gone through year one of a Great Depression where unemployment hit 10 percent in June, when the Smoot-Hawley tariff was passed.

Today, the economy is moving along smartly. The labor force is larger than it has ever been. Workers are re-entering and seeking jobs. Black and Hispanic unemployment are at record lows. Confidence is high. Our Great Recession is 10 years in the past.

The problem for Republicans may be found in a truism: When the economy is poor, the economy is the issue. When the economy is good, something else is the issue.

A good economy did not save the GOP in the 18th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, where the party’s tax cut was derided by Democrat Conor Lamb as a wealth transfer to the rich. Nor did Lamb hurt himself by implying Republicans were planning to pay for their tax cut by robbing Social Security and Medicare.

Republican candidate Rick Saccone reportedly stopped using the tax cut as his major issue in his TV ads that ran closest to Election Day.

Other factors point to a bad day for the GOP on Nov. 6.

Republican retirees from Congress far outnumber Democratic retirees.

Democratic turnout has been reaching record highs, while GOP turnout has been normal. And even in the special elections Democrats have lost, they are outperforming the Democrats who lost in 2016.

Relying upon hostility to Trump to bring out the resistance, savvy Democrats are taking on the political coloration of their districts and states, rather than of the national party of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders.

There is, however, troubling news from Pennsylvania for Nancy Pelosi.

Lamb promised voters of “Deerhunter” country he would not support San Francisco Nancy for speaker. Look for Democrats in districts Trump carried to begin talking of the “need for new leaders.”

Trump seems fated to be the primary target of attack this fall, and not only in districts Clinton carried. For an average of national polls shows that disapproval of his presidency is 14 points higher than his approval rating. And this is when the economy is turning up good numbers not seen in this century.

At the national level, Democrats will turn 2018 into a referendum on the Trump persona and Trump presidency. For while the Trump base is loyal and solid, the anti-Trump base is equally so, and appreciably larger.

Lest we forget, Hillary Clinton, not the most charismatic candidate the Democrats have put up in decades, beat Trump by nearly 3 million votes. And while Trump pierced the famous “blue wall” — the 18 states that voted Democratic in every presidential election between 1992 and 2012 — the demographic trend that created the wall is still working.

White voters, who tend to vote Republican, continue to decline as a share of the population. Peoples of color, who vote 70 to 90 percent Democratic in presidential elections, are now nearly 40 percent of the nation.

Mass migration into America is re-enforcing that trend.

Moreover, millennials, who have many elections ahead of them, are more liberal than seniors, who have fewer elections ahead and are the GOP base.

But if Republicans face problems of demography, the party of “tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect” appears to be reaching the end of its tether. Federal deficits are rising toward trillion-dollar levels.

The five largest items in the budget — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, interest on the debt — are rising inexorably. And there appears no disposition in either party to cut back on spending for education, college loans, food stamps, housing assistance or infrastructure.

If the Fed did not retain the power to control the money supply, then the fate of New Jersey and Illinois, and beyond, of Greece and Argentina, would become our national destiny.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

(Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr & Wikicommons)

(Creators, copyright 2018)

3 hours ago

Alabama man charged in connection with 91-year-old woman’s death

Police in Alabama say a man has been charged in connection with the death of a 91-year-old woman.

Dothan police said in a news release Sunday that 58-year-old Joe Nathan Duncan was charged with capital murder in the death of 91-year-old Mabel Fowler.


Police say they received a call of a possible death at a residence Saturday. Once officers arrived, it was apparent that it was a crime scene.

Throughout the course of the investigation, police located, interviewed and charged Duncan. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

(Image: Dothan Police Department)

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)