The Wire

  • Cagle named president of Alabama Coal Association

    Patrick Cagle has been named the new president of the Alabama Coal Association, succeeding George Barber, who has elected to retire after seven years of service to the coal group which was first formed in 1972.

    Cagle, who has worked with the association on legislative matters in the past, has more than 10 years of experience in navigating Alabama’s political landscape. As executive director of JobKeeper Alliance, a 501c(4) nonprofit whose mission is to protect and create quality jobs, he previously worked hand-in-hand with the coal industry to oppose onerous, job-killing regulations.

    Cagle and his wife, Molly, have a 15-month-old son, Bankston. They are active members at Church of the Highlands. Cagle is an avid outdoorsman and a member of the Conservation Advisory Board, which assists the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with the formation of hunting and fishing regulations.

  • Don’t call $1K in tax cut savings ‘crumbs’ — U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer

    U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) delivered a speech on the House floor today about how tax reform has impacted Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

  • Fatal deer disease would impact more than hunters in Alabama — Montgomery Advertiser

    Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological disease affecting deer; mule and whitetail deer, elk and moose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. It is fatal to animals that contact the disease, there is no vaccine, the CDC says.

    And it’s getting closer to Alabama.

    “The economic impact, of course, is huge,” Sykes said. “Hunting is a major part of the economy in rural areas of Alabama. And hunting is a huge part of the culture in Alabama. It is a part of the fabric of so many people’s lives.”

    Land values will likely be the first indicator of bad news if CWD comes to the state, said Jeff Roberts, a real estate agent who sells hunting land in the Black Belt.

    “For farmers and landowners, leasing the hunting rights to their places is a huge secondary income for many,” he said. “If CWD comes to Alabama, the land values are going to go into the basement. I’ve had clients turn their backs on absolutely beautiful hunting tracts when they found out feral hogs were on the property. You can imagine what CWD would do to spook buyers.”

19 hours ago

7 Things: Trump will not fire Mueller, Etowah County Sheriff is targeted by legislator, Clinton can’t stop the stupid, and more …

1. Sean Hannity says Trump is not going to fire Mueller, and Trump agrees

— Hannity appeared on “Fox and Friends” Monday and stated definitively that, “there’s not going to be any firing of  Mueller”, and added that Trump shouldn’t comment on the matter any further.

— The president seemed to agree, firing off a Tweet saying “@seanhannity on @foxandfriends now! Great! 8:18 A.M”.

2. State Rep. Mack Butler introduces bill to reign in Etowah County’s Sheriff’s food shenanigans

— Rep. Butler’s bill specifically targets Sheriff Todd Entrekin’s excess food money after learning he has pocketed $750,000 over the last three years.

— Current law allows sheriffs to “keep and retain” all excess monies; if this bill passes Etowah County alone will have to set aside that money for law enforcement purposes.


3. Headlines imply that Sessions may have perjured himself, reporting reads differently

— “Sources” apparently “contradict” the testimony that Sessions gave during his confirmation that he rejected the idea of reaching out to Russians during the election.

— The sources claim Sessions did not outright reject the idea instead, according to “exclusive” Reuters reporting, “It was almost like, ‘Well, thank you and let’s move on to the next person’”.

4. Self-driving car hits pedestrian, Uber shuts down self-driving car tests nationwide

— It was bound to happen, a self-driving car hits and kills a human, even though it was late at night, and we will demand they shut it all down.

— Uber will now shut down its vehicle testing for a while, then fire it back up, and continue moving forward with this inevitable technology.

5. The California college rocket team torpedoed by California’s travel ban gets a reprieve

— Originally, the Citrus College board would not allow the team to travel to Alabama because the state is on the official travel ban list after declaring the state unfriendly to LGBTQ individuals.

— Rocket Scientist and author Homer Hickam started a social media campaign to bring attention to the team’s plight, and the fact that they raised their own money to make the trip, and the school will apparently relent on Tuesday,

6. Trump keeps talking about killing drug-dealers, people can’t handle it

— As much as people wish Trump would stop talking about the death penalty for drug dealers, he spent Monday in New Hampshire declaring, “This isn’t about nice anymore”.

— The opioid epidemic has killed more than 500,000 people since 2000, Trump wants to punish the “dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer” who participates in this crisis.

7. Hillary Clinton continues to double-down on stupid

— After her comments in India about white women and why they voted against her, Clinton tried to clarify her comments without taking any blame for making them by claiming she was ultimately correct but sorry she upset anyone.

— Republican candidates will continue to use her to attack their opponents, and she continues to have more dirt revealed daily.


2 days ago

7 Things: Democrats want to hire disgraced FBI deputy, storm trackers enter Alabama ahead of severe weather, bill to allow teachers to carry to get a floor debate, and more …

1. Democrat Congresspersons want to hire the disgraced FBI Deputy Director just to stick it to Trump (and taxpayers)

— Democrats are offering him jobs in their offices in order to help him make it to his retirement date, his retirement is worth $1.8 million dollars.

— Another Democrat, and Trump critic, Adam Schiff says McCabe’s firing “may have been justified”.

2. Now former-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe fired two days before his retirement for lying to investigators

— McCabe was fired after Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that McCabe misled investigators about his role in directing other officials at the FBI to speak to the media about the corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

McCabe is claiming this is all an attempt to silence him, which makes little sense, and an attempt to discredit the Mueller probe.

3. Renowned storm trackers have entered the state of Alabama, which could foreshadow a rough weather day ahead

— The “national Storm Prediction Center” says there is an “enhanced risk” of severe storms for Nashville, Chattanooga, Birmingham, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa.

— School districts are already announcing school closures to prepare for the weather.

4. Bill that would allow some teachers to conceal carry will get House debate, no movement in the Senate

— A bill that would allow approved teachers to carry  in schools could spark an intense debate Tuesday in the Alabama House of Representatives.

— House Speaker Mac McCutcheon questioned the idea of arming teachers, but he said it could be a bigger piece of school safety.

5. Not only did Russians meddle in our election, they also can play with our power grid

— After last week’s acknowledgment that Russia played in our election, the Trump administration has blamed Russia for hacking into American energy infrastructure, potentially causing issues with power delivery.

— A House committee also found that Russian-backed trolls “targeted pipelines, fossil fuels, climate change, and other divisive issues to influence public policy in the U.S.”, in order to sow discord.

6. State School Board member Mary Scott Hunter responds to State Rep. Harry Shiver’s comments on female teachers

— Shiver said, “our ladies” need the legislature to protect them and that female teachers “are scared of guns”, which was mocked last week.

— Hunter, who is also a State Senate candidate who supports the idea of allowing teachers to carry, tweeted that “ladies carry weapons just fine”, and included photos of her shooting weapons from her military service.

7. Social media company under scrutiny for doing data analysis on Americans, known in the past as targeting voters

— A company hired by the Trump campaign used Facebook data supplied by Facebook users to build profiles of users to better target them, Facebook has suspended the firm.

— 270,000 people downloaded an app that allowed the creator to see their likes, the creator passed that data was Cambridge Analytica and used to target Facebook users during the election.

2 days ago

Evidence mounts of full-scale Russian campaign to undermine American energy

The U.S. government for the first time ever blamed Russia for hacking into American energy infrastructure. The Trump administration action comes a little over two weeks after a House committee detailed Russian attempts to influence energy markets.

U.S. officials said a “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors” that began in March 2016, possibly earlier, is part of a campaign to target critical infrastructure, including energy, nuclear and aviation facilities.


The FBI and Department of Homeland Security on Thursday said hackers targeted small facilities “where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks,” Reuters reported.

It’s the first time the U.S. has directly called out Moscow for infrastructure hacking. It’s still unclear whether or not the hacks were successful or led to any damage, and the security alert did not name the companies targeted.

The Trump administration condemnation comes more than two weeks after the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology found Russian agents used social media outlets to embolden opposition to American energy production.

“Russia exploited American social media as part of its concerted effort to disrupt U.S. energy markets and influence domestic energy policy,” reads the committee’s report on Russian activities.

The committee found accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll farm, published 9,097 social media posts from 2015 to 2017 targeting energy policies and projects. Thirteen Russians connected to IRA were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“The IRA targeted pipelines, fossil fuels, climate change, and other divisive issues to influence public policy in the U.S.,” the House committee found.

For years, Republicans and energy industry experts have worried Russian money was being used to undermine U.S. energy policy.

Intelligence officials confirmed in early 2017 in a declassified report on election meddling that the state-owned media outlet Russia Today (RT) ran “anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health.”

The House committee began the investigation in 2017 and asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to investigate whether or not Russians were using an offshore Bermuda-based law firm to funnel money to U.S. environmental groups.

Lawmakers asked Mnuchin to investigate whether or not the U.S.-based environmental group, the Sea Change Foundation, took $23 million from a Bermuda-based shell company with ties to Russian oligarchs in 2010 and 2011.

Sea Change gave millions to U.S.-based environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters. All of those groups oppose hydraulic fracturing.

(Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

3 days ago

VIDEO: PA-18’s lessons — dangerous teachers — student walkouts … and more on Guerrilla Politics

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories including:

— Were the results in Pennsylvania’s special election a rejection of Trump or Pelosi?

— Why did the executive director of the state’s superintendent association imply teachers were unstable and dangerous?

— Will the student walkouts bring about some real change on gun issues?

Clayton Hinchman joins Jackson and Burke to discuss his campaign for Congress in Alabama’s 5th Congressional District.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at Hillary Clinton where he begs her never stop talking.

4 days ago

Alabama State Legislature review for week 10 — Taylor’s Top Four

The session looks to be winding down, but we aren’t going anywhere! Here’s your recap of week 10 in the Alabama legislature.

If you want to receive daily news from across the state and nation straight to your inbox each morning, click here to subscribe to API’s Daily Clips.

1. General Fund budget has almost crossed its last hurdle. 

On Tuesday, the house passed the 2019 General Fund budget, which passed the Senate in February. The Montgomery Advertiser reported that it was the fastest the budget has passed in years: “‘The Clerk of the House, who’s been here 30 years, said that’s the fastest he’s seen it,’ said House Ways and Means General Fund chair Steve Clouse, R-Ozark. ‘It’s my 24th year, and I know that was the fastest.'” There are a few things in this budget that have been widely talked about this year: a pay raise for state employees, a bonus for state retirees, a funding increase for the Department of Corrections, and another increase for Medicaid.

Next steps for the budget: back to the senate, either for a concurrence vote or a conference committee, and then to Governor Ivey for a signature. The end is in sight!


2. Education Trust Fund budget is moving a little slower. 

The 2019 Education Trust Fund budget—which includes a pay raise for education employees—has had a bit of a harder time making its way through the legislature. When the proposed budget went through senate committee on Tuesday, Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), the chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee, responded to questions from committee members during the meeting, which lasted for over two hours. This budget only differs slightly from the one passed by the house in February. The budget passed out of senate committee on Tuesday and passed the full senate on Thursday by a 29-0 vote. Now it—just like the General Fund budget—goes back to its chamber of origin for a conference committee or a concurrence vote, and then to the governor. 

3. New requirements and regulations might soon be coming to Alabama child care facilities. 

It has been a long journey for Representative Pebblin Warren’s (D-Tuskegee) child care safety bill. After being one of the most debated bills during last year’s session and ultimately dying in the senate, a new version of the proposal came back this year. This year’s proposal is a compromise between licensing advocates and religious liberty advocates. Senator Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) helped to slow down the bill last week, but said he would not this week.  After spending a week in “legislative limbo,” as termed by the Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman, the bill passed the senate by a 23-4 vote. It now heads to the governor. 

4. School safety remains a hot issue this week.

Although school safety bills were thought by many as unlikely to pass this session, multiple proposals have moved in Montgomery this week. The house voted 83-6 to establish the Alabama Task Force on School Safety and Security, which would require a task force to study current Alabama education and safety laws and policies and provide recommendations to the legislature annually. Additionally, a measure passed in the senate that would allow schools to use money, previously dedicated to a state technology fund, to improve school security—including for the hiring of school resource officers. Lastly, Rep. Ainsworth’s bill that would allow trained teachers to carry guns was met with a public hearing on Wednesday and passed a house committee on Thursday, 5-4. None of these measures have been approved by both chambers yet.

You also might want to know about…

—   An amended version of the Juvenile Justice Bill (HB225) passed 69-20. API published an op-ed on juvenile justice reform you can read here.

—   Rosa Parks Day is closer to becoming a holiday. The bill was passed by senate committee this week.

—   Payday lending bill running out of time. The bill has passed the full senate, but is awaiting a committee meeting in the house.

—   A bill banning racial profiling and requiring law enforcement to report race, age, gender, and other information about drivers and officers involved in traffic stops to the attorney general’s office was approved by a house committee this week. The bill has already cleared the senate.

—   Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering might soon become a reality in Huntsville. Senator Arthur Orr’s (R-Decatur) bill that creates the school passed the senate earlier in the session and cleared a house committee this week.

—   Representative Lynn Greer’s stand your ground in church bill passed senate committee. The bill now goes to the full senate.

Taylor Dawson is director of communications for the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families.

5 days ago

7 Things: ‘Bama lawmaker believes women are ‘scared of guns,’ Trump sanctions Russia, UAB shooter identified, and more …

1. Alabama lawmaker’s terrible argument about guns and women get plenty of attention

— State Rep. Harry Shiver (R-Stockton) believes women should be protected, “are scared of guns”, and the best way to protect them is to not allow them to carry guns.

— In spite of this, the bill still passed out of committee and could get a floor vote this session, at least in the House.

2. President Donald Trump sanctions Russia over election meddling and other aggressive actions

— The sanctions were imposed on Russian organizations and individuals in retaliation for interference in the 2016 presidential election, cyber-attacks, and the latest nerve agent attack on British soil.

— This comes at the same time reports indicate Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is seeking records from the Trump family business.


3. UAB shooter identified, he was angry about being reprimanded and shot the person reprimanding him

— 63-year-old Nancy Swift was killed by Trevis Devon Coleman, in an incident that set off “active shooter” warnings on the Birmingham campus.

— Swift was reprimanding Coleman when he produced a handgun, killed Swift, shot another employee, and then killed himself.

4. Racial profiling bill, that would require the race of all people stopped during traffic stops 

— The bill would require officers to record the race of a person pulled over in a traffic stop,  submit the data to the state attorney general’s office, which could withhold funds from agencies that didn’t follow the law.

— The likelihood the AG withholds funds over this is almost nil, the problems this bill will create via intentionally misleading news reports will be numerous.

5. Stormy Daniels’ attorney implies she was “physically threatened” by someone, the media will spend all day on this

— Her attorney told the hosts of “Morning Joe”, “I think it will become apparent to people when they tune in to 60 minutes … the details related to the threat.”

— The attorney for the porn star went on to say the information will all be made clear on “60 Minutes” later this month.

6. Alabama’s football team will visit the White House after protests over the potential visit

— The Tide will roll in to Washington D.C. on April 10th to celebrate their overtime victory over Georgia, which the President attended.

— 73,000+ people signed a petition urging the the school not to make the trip because Donald Trump is President.

7. The legislature looks to end Daylight Savings Time

— The Alabama Senate approved a resolution Thursday to end Daylight Saving Time permanent or keep it permanent, either way it would stop you from having to change your clocks once a year.

— Sen. Marco Rubio has a bill in Congress that would do the same thing, there definitely seems to be a movement growing for this.

7 days ago

This is not a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, Pennsylvania loss is bad for Republicans

We all remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, the children’s books where you get to decide the path your character takes and experience the consequences of your decision.

Republicans across the country have decided to continue making bad decision after bad decision, ignoring the evidence in front of them, and turn their pages to the “blame the obscure candidate” so they can keep ignoring the reality in which they live. Republicans have issues, mainly that President Donald Trump is an unprincipled and erratic lightening rod. His behavior fires up Democrats, both their base and their moderates, Republicans on the other hand, are suffering because of a disaffected sect within the Republican Party likes Trump’s policies but hate Trump’s behavior and leadership style.

This is leading to a mountain of evidence that should be telling Republicans the midterms will be ugly, the Weekly Standard lays it out pretty well: “In most special elections during the Trump era, Republicans have under-performed the Trump’s 2016 margin. Saccone is no exception—the election was essentially tied in a district that Trump won in a blowout.”


There are 114/119-ish seats in the House where Donald Trump won with a bigger margin than Trump won PA-18. Obviously, Republicans will not lose all those seats, and Democrats and their media allies can’t focus on those races as they have over the last 14 months. But they Democrats don’t need all those seats, they only need 23 of them. Last week, President Trump said “the world is watching“, the question now is “What path will Republicans choose?”

The details:

— In all the special elections since Trump’s election Republicans have under-performed by 13 points, and that is before Tuesday’s 20-point drop.

— More incumbent Republicans have announced the will be stepping down this election cycle (41) than have since 2000, the most of the 2000s was 31 in 2014.

— Polling shows generic Democrats are leading generic Republicans when the question is who do you want to control Congress by an average of 7.7 points.

— The Cook’s Political Report lists PA-18 as a +11 for Republicans, Alabama Republicans have little to worry about as all their districts are safer than that with Bradley Byrne’s district being the closest at +15.

Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show from 7-11 a.m. on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.


7 days ago

7 Things: Tillerson is out, arming teachers bill gets hearing, students plan walkout today, and more …

1. President Donald Trump cans Rex Tillerson, promotes CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Secretary of State

— After multiple public disagreements Tillerson’s tenure as Secretary of State comes to an end with a quivering press conference where his voice cracked and he

— The biggest sticking points for Trump and Tillerson seems to be the Iran nuclear deal, North Korea, and an embarrassing debate about whether Tillerson called the President a “moron”.

2. Rep. Will Ainsworth’s bill allowing teachers to carry will get a public hearing, unlikely it sees a vote

— Even as superintendents and teachers appear to be against anything that would allow teachers to protect themselves and students, a public hearing will happen today.

— For most people watching this legislation it appears to be heading nowhere, but will be used as a campaign issue because Republicans support the idea.


3. Student protests are planned in Alabama and all over the country today, most schools support but some will punish 

— Over 1,000 walkouts are planned across the country, including Alabama, to protest gun violence.

— Like many schools, Challenger Middle in Huntsville will lead a student assembly that will hold a “Walk Up not a Walk Out” Assembly to keep the kids in the schools.

4. PA-18 results are not in, choose your own adventure

— If you are a Democrat: The Democrat won regardless of outcome, this is a huge win, and it means Democrats will be seizing the House and possibly the Senate, and Trump is going to get impeached.

— If you are a Republican: The Republican might have lost a seat that is going away in the midterms, the Democrat was not that liberal, the GOP candidate was a bad candidate, and this means nothing about President Trump or the midterms.

5. Alabama House approves money for prisons and a pay raise for state employees

— After years of talks of the prison system needing more money, Alabama legislators approved $80 million dollars ($30 million this year/$56 million next year) for renovations and improvements.

— For the first time in 10 years, state employees will receive a 3 percent cost of living increase.

6. Etowah County’s Sheriff bought a $740k beach house with money meant to feed inmates

— In a move that is completely legal, and that will infuriate many, Sheriff Entrekin has used his “food provision” surplus over three years to purchase the home.

— The Sheriff knows the law is on his side, his office told “Regardless of one’s opinion of this statute, until the legislature acts otherwise, the Sheriff must follow the current law”.,

7. A Washington Post “analysis” finds white women do what their husbands say, but it does not at all

— The media’s constant need to clean up Hillary Clinton’s sad messes continues whether she is campaigning or not, they assure you her comments about white women were totally smart and accurate, not sad an embarrassing.

— The Washington Post had to mangle Clinton’s clear comments about white women being pressured by the men in their lives in to an incomprehensible mess about women voting in their spouses best interests.

1 week ago

Committee finds no collusion — School superintendents say no to armed teachers — Hillary thinks you’re racist, and more in Dale Jackson’s 7 Things

1. GOP House Intelligence Committee finds there is no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign 

— The committee looked at Russian measures against the 2016 U.S., the U.S. response, links between Russians and the Trump and Clinton campaigns, and leaks of classified information.

— From the report: “We havea found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”


2. AL superintendents come out against allowing teachers to carry weapons, support more funding for mental health

— Hoover Superintendent  told lawmakers that the School Superintendents of Alabama and the Alabama Association of School Boards are not in favor of arming teachers, arguing the status quo is good enough.

— Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hall told the group, “It’s hard for me to swallow when you say ‘arm teachers'”, but he did say a school “marshal” may be necessary.

3. Hillary Clinton continues to blame everyone but herself for her election loss in 2016 Democrats truly believe

— Hillary Clinton was speaking at a conference in India and once agaain blamed James Comey for her election loss..

— She also feels women are weak and are controlled around by their bosses, husbands, and sons. “We don’t do well with married, white women [either],” she said. “Part of that is an identification with the Republican Party and [an] ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son… believes you should”.

4. Congressman Mo Brooks is torn on Trump’s tariffs and call Dog Jones’ victory a “major loss” for America

— Brooks told a crowd in Huntsville that the steel and aluminum industries may need protection but the tariffs could lead to retaliation against Alabama’s agriculture industry.

— His comments about Sen. Doug Jones were called “disappointing” by Jones, but Brooks stood by them explaining that the two men have very different set of beliefs and principles.

5. A judge wants the public to see the videos from the Parkland school shooting that authorities don’t

— A judge ruled the public will be able to see the video of the Broward County Sheriff’s office on Thursday at noon at the earliest.

— Local media outlets argued the public right to know outweighs the school system’s desire to keep camera locations confidential, which is absurd.

6. Convicted double murderer will receive settlement from state, could include a deal to not try to execute him again

— Doyle Lee Hamm’s execution was  truly botched, he suffered injuries to his groin, multiple puncture wounds, and he wanted to die.

— Court records show attorneys on all sides are having “substantial and very serious settlement discussions, and believe that this case can be settled in the near future”.

7. Another battleground district goes to the polls today

— President Trump went to PA-18 to try to drag Pennsylvania State Rep. Rick Saccone over the finish line in a district Trump won by 20 point, but the latest polls show Democrat Connor Lamb leading.

— Unless Saccone blows this out, it will further solidify the narrative that the GOP is collapsing while Democrats are surging.

1 week ago

ICYMI: The Legislature last week – Tax cuts – School safety – Ethics

We are back with your recap of another week in Montgomery! What happened last week in the Legislature and beyond? Read below to find out!
If you want to receive daily news from across the state and nation straight to your inbox each morning, click here to subscribe to API’s Daily Clips.


  1. Tax cuts might soon be in store for some Alabama families.

Last Thursday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a modest tax break bill that increases the standard deduction for an estimated 180,000 lower-income Alabamians, by a vote of 89-0. Residents who file Married Filing Joint, Head of Family, or Single and make between $20,500 and $32,999 could see a decrease in taxes if they typically accept the standard deduction and do not itemize. Those who file as Married Filing Separate must make between $10,250 and $15,249 to qualify. The bill passed the Senate without opposition in January and now heads to Governor Ivey’s desk.

  1. Governor Ivey introduces her own school safety initiative.

The governor announced a school safety initiative during a press conference at the State Capitol last Tuesday. The executive order creates a council tasked with considering all school safety ideas including, from the governor herself, “arming personnel, utilizing security teams, [and] controlled access to buildings”. The council was asked to submit a report by April 30. The Legislature’s regular session will likely end this month, however, and many, including Bryan Lyman of the Montgomery Advertiser, are doubtful that any bills addressing school safety will pass this session. Governor Ivey could, however, call for a special session later this year.

Last Thursday, a Senate committee passed a bill—which was endorsed by Governor Ivey at her Tuesday press conference—that allows school systems to take money from the Advancement and Technology Fund to go toward school safety measures. The leaders of both legislative chambers—Senator Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Representative Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia)—have both called for a responsible and thorough approach to school safety.

  1. API and the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy released new research with the hope of seeing occupational licensing reform come to Alabama.

API and the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy are pleased to announce the release of a new policy report entitled “The Costs of Occupational Licensing in Alabama.” Last Tuesday, API and the Johnson Center debuted the report’s findings to an audience of lawmakers, academics, and economists. Occupational licensing imposes substantial costs on Alabamians in terms of reduced occupational mobility, reduced entrepreneurship, higher unemployment, and higher consumer prices. Speakers at the event included API Senior Director of Policy Relations Leigh Hixon, Associate Professor of Economics at St. Francis University Dr. Edward Timmons, policy analyst at the Johnson Center and co-author of the report Courtney Michaluk, and Bruce Locke, a retired auctioneer who shared his hardships dealing with the licensing board, which ultimately led to him giving up his license.

  1. Remember last week when changes to ethics laws were moving, and then they weren’t? Well, they’re on the move again.

The Alabama House of Representatives spent last Tuesday evening debating an ethics bill that would exempt economic developers from having to register as lobbyists. Proponents of the bill argue that these changes are essential to recruiting jobs to Alabama and that current requirements are scaring away businesses. Opponents labeled the bill as an attempt to weaken Alabama’s ethics laws, a characterization that bill-sponsor Johnson flatly rejected. Although the debate lasted hours, the bill passed, 79 to 7. Two other ethics bills—one requiring lawmakers with consulting contracts to file with the state Ethics Commission and another that expands the definition of a minor ethics violation—received favorable reports from the House Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee early this week.

You also might want to know about…

— The House passed a bill making it a capital offense to murder a police officer, first responder, corrections officer, or a child under 14. The bill passed by a 72-20 vote, with six representatives abstaining.

— Bills were introduced in both chambers this week that would make December 1 of each year Rosa Parks Day in Alabama.

Senator Bill Hightower’s sexual harassment policy was adopted by the state Senate.

— A teacher pay-raise bill passed the state house 104-0 and now moves to the Senate.

— The BJCC may be expanding, and a bill that would allow for its funding passed a house committee this week and could be considered in the full house next week.

— State employees haven’t received a pay raise in a decade, but a bill providing for a 3% increase, which is part of the General Fund budget for 2019, passed a house committee last Wednesday afternoon.

— A public hearing last Wednesday addressed a bill aimed at racial profiling that would require police officers to document the race of those pulled over in a traffic stop.

The Senate passed a bill that changes the time to pay back a loan from a payday lender from ten days to thirty days.

A bill that would require county superintendents to be appointed by the county board of education, rather than elected, passed the Senate last Thursday. This bill only applies to counties that do not already have procedures for electing superintendents specified in the state constitution.


1 week ago

‘Campaign Trump’ is back — Student charged with murder — Ivey concerned about tariffs, and more in Dale Jackson’s 7 Things

The 7 Things You Should Be Talking About Today

1. Free-wheeling President Donald Trump is back at rally for Pennsylvania candidate

— The president tried to rally voters to support state Rep. Rick Saccone in a district Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 20 percentage points in 2016, he also unveiled his new campaign — “Keep America Great.”

— During the rally he talked about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s fake heritage and fake news.


2. Huffman High junior charged in shooting death of classmate, motive still unknown

— Michael Barber has been charged with manslaughter and illegal gun possession in the death of 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington as classes let out last Wednesday.

— The confusion seemed to originally stem from the fact that Barber shot himself, that is why they thought the shooting was accidental.

3. Governor Kay Ivey has issues with tariffs for steel and aluminum

— Gov. Ivey spoke at an auto parts supplier’s new plant in Vance and discussed the issues Alabama could face with Trump’s tariffs.

— She said, “Alabama’s economy is driven in large measure by advanced manufacturing in automotive and aerospace firms, and both of those utilize a great deal of steel and aluminum.”

4. NRA sues Florida after gun restrictions pass and the governor signs it in to law

— Last week, Florida passed a sweeping gun law that included raising the age to purchase a rifle to 21; it also allowed some teachers to carry handguns with proper training.

— The NRA argues that the law “prohibited an entire class of law-abiding, responsible citizens from fully exercising the right to keep and bear arms.” GOP candidate for governor Ron DesSantis believes the lawsuit will “probably succeed.”

5. Questionable candidate commissioned poll in AL-05 shows Congressman Brooks opponent up 10 points

— The push poll included questions like, “If you had the choice to vote for a Congressman that supports President Trump to make America Great Again. Would you vote for: Mo Brooks would who has voted in Congress against President Trump Or Clayton Hinchman who was awarded the purple heart for fighting for his country and will always support our President.”

— Push polls are done to elicit a certain response and this one worked, after these questions Clayton Hincham leads with 36.6 to Brooks 26.6 with 36.9 undecided.

6. Democrats have some “great” ideas, they include raising taxes

— Trump’s biggest asset continues to be his opponents’ terrible ideas and the fact that eventually they will have to do something other than being the anti-Trump party.

— A plan released last week, with little fan fare, included increasing taxes on corporations and individuals.

7. Trump pardons sailor convicted and jailed for taking a picture of a submarine

— The White House announced Friday that Trump pardoned a Navy sailor. On Saturday Trump congratulated the sailor and thanked him for his service.

— Kristian Saucier took photos of classified areas inside a submarine and served a year in federal prison for it, the case came up often on the campaign trail when talking about how Hillary Clinton got off scot-free.

2 weeks ago

‘The costs of occupational licensing in Alabama’ — The Alabama Policy Institute and the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy release new research

The Alabama Policy Institute (API) and the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy are pleased to announce the release of a new policy report entitled “The Costs of Occupational Licensing in Alabama.”

On Tuesday, API and the Johnson Center debuted the report’s findings to an audience of lawmakers, academics, and economists.


An occupational license is essentially a government permission slip to do certain work. In Alabama, before one can become a hair braider, cosmetologist, shampooer, massage therapist, auctioneer, pest control worker, and so on, one must first jump through a variety of hoops—attending classes, taking exams, and paying costly initial and recurring fees—mostly set at the state level and throughout the course of one’s career. Alabama licenses a total of 151 occupations, covering over 432,000 Alabama workers, which represents over 21 percent of the state’s labor force. The report estimates the total initial costs of occupational licensure, excluding the educational costs, to be $122 million.

Occupational licensing imposes substantial costs on Alabamians in terms of reduced occupational mobility, reduced entrepreneurship, higher unemployment, and higher consumer prices.

On the release of this report, API Senior Director of Policy Relations Leigh Hixon said the following: “Occupational licensing reform is a bipartisan issue that we can work together to solve. Many states are introducing legislation to restrict the growth of occupational licensing laws. Currently in Tennessee, for example, the legislature is considering a bill that removes licensing requirements for natural hair braiders. Reforms could help reduce the costs of occupational licensing on Alabamians, especially for vulnerable segments of the state’s population, by lowering prices, increasing competition, giving consumers more choice, and increasing economic opportunity. We are encouraged by the overwhelming interest in and support of this report, and hope to see efforts to reform occupational licensing in Alabama come as a result.”

Bruce Locke, a retired auctioneer from Toney, Alabama, shared his hardships as a small-business owner affording his state-required permission slip to do the job he was educated to do. Locke stated, ”It seemed like the board simply wanted my money. Unhappy with the way I was treated, I gave up my license, and eventually sold my business. There are a lot of states who don’t have licenses for auctioneers, and they’re doing just fine. If Alabama were to eliminate the board, I would definitely go back to work as an auctioneer. I’m just unhappy with the way all this happened, and I hope that this gets addressed soon.”

Courtney Michaluk, policy analyst at the Johnson Center and co-author of the report, declared that the time is now for reform in Alabama: “Our report details the full costs of licensing in Alabama, from education to required training to fees, of all licensed workers in the state. Occupational licensing reform has become such an important issue on the national level, and states are starting to consider whether licenses to work are really necessary and whether this practice threatens individual economic freedom.”

Dr. Edward Timmons, Associate Professor of Economics at St. Francis University, has conducted extensive research on occupational licensing reforms in the states—especially in Alabama. At Tuesday’s event, Dr. Timmons presented compelling evidence on the harmful affects of occupational licensing across the country: ”Occupational licensing has grown from affecting 5% of workers in 1950 to as much as 29% today. Licensing increases prices for consumers but there is little evidence that it enhances quality. My research suggests that the elimination of barber licensing in 1983 in Alabama increased competition in the marketplace as measured by decreases in barber wages and reductions in the number of cosmetologists.”

Given the substantial costs of licensure, policymakers in Alabama should consider substantial reforms to occupational licensing laws, as detailed in this report.

API policy experts are available for interviews and presentations on occupational licensing research. To book a speaker or schedule an interview, please contact Taylor Dawson, Director of Communications, at