12 months ago

Rep. Mo Brooks reveals his 1 sentence plan to completely repeal Obamacare

Congressman Mo Brooks called into Yellowhammer Radio to discuss his plan to completely repeal Obamacare. Yellowhammer Radio hosts, Andrea Tice and Scott Chambers weigh in on the options to replace Obamacare.

Scott Chambers:

Yellowhammer nation, welcome in. This is Yellow Hammer Radio SuperStation 101 WYDE. You can be a part of the program on this Friday edition of Yellow Hammer radio at (866)-551-9933. You can also tweet the program. Check us out on Twitter @yhnradio. So many good things to talk about today.

Andrea Tice, welcome into the program. How are you on this Friday?

Andrea Tice:

I am doing well. Doing well. No more dreams.

Scott Chambers:

Yeah, no more dreams. I had a weird dream last night, and it wrecked my day. I started the day off just really bad. I woke up not feeling well, and then I had this horrible nightmare that literally had me crying. It was …

Andrea Tice:

That’s a nightmare.

Scott Chambers:

It was a vivid nightmare, I’m not going to discuss it on the air, I did tell you about it off the air, and it was a doozie. It was a crazy dream. And so, I started my day, I was awful. A friend texted me, and then I couldn’t go back to sleep, and it just … I said a nice prayer. God is looking over us today. We’re going to have a fantastic show. I am ready to hit the ground running. And, let’s talk a little health-care, maybe.

Andrea Tice:


Scott Chambers:

There’s a gentleman that has a one-line bill that is probably the most genius thing I have ever seen on repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Andrea Tice:

Simplicity in Washington D.C. is an actual work of art these days.

Scott Chambers:

Yes, it certainly is. And, ladies and gentlemen, joining us now, from Alabama’s Fifth District, none other than Congressman Mo Brooks. Welcome into Yellow Hammer Radio. How are you, Congressman?

Rep. Mo Brooks:

I’m doing fine. By the way, I have those similar nightmares. Mine’s about repealing Obamacare. What’s yours about?

Scott Chambers:

(laughs) Well, Andrea dreamed about a swimming pool the other night and we can’t figure that one out.

Andrea Tice:

Well, no. I think my co-host accurately interpreted that I’m over my head in politics with all of this healthcare stuff.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Well, the Republican welfare plan is my nightmare. It’s bait-and-switch. It’s horrible, but keep going.

Scott Chambers:

Amen, right? (laughs)

Andrea Tice:

So, you feel you’re in the deep end on that? I assume.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Oh, it’s just unbelievable that the Republican party is becoming what the Democrats have been for decades, just left-wing socialists on economic issues.

Scott Chambers:

That’s exactly what’s happening. Wow, I could not agree with you any more. This healthcare plan, to me personally, Congressman Brooks … I think it was a disaster. That’s what my thought process is on this plan. I thought it was a disaster.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Well, yes. Let me give you some examples. We were sent to Washington D.C. based on a couple of promises. Number one is: we were going to repeal Obamacare. Number two: as a result of that repeal, we were going to make healthcare costs, and in particular health insurance premiums, more affordable. Well, that’s been breached in a major way.

Under … I’m going to call her Ryancare care for lack of a simpler way to describe it. Ryancare, according to the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation, increases healthcare … excuse me, health insurance … premiums over the next two years by roughly 15 to 20 percent over and above the increases that would normally be expected under Obamacare.

Now, that’s what the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation are telling us as they conduct the financial examination of Ryancare. And that’s not what we told the American people that we were going to do. Now, in fairness, years three through ten, have all the underlying assumptions work out right, there might be a stabilization, perhaps even a decline in premiums after we’re been topped with another 15 to 20 percent in increases over and above Obamacare. And again, that’s assuming that those assumptions are accurate. Historically, they have not been.

Scott Chambers:

Our guest is Congressman Mo Brooks. And let me ask you, Congressman, that’s a lot of what-ifs, isn’t it? That’s a lot of what-ifs.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Yes. This repeal bill of the House leadership, that is somewhat of a bait-and-switch and somewhat deceptive in that it purports to be repeal but it incorporates into the replacement part the bulk of the cost drivers of Obamacare that make it cost-prohibitive for the average American family.

So, I don’t agree with that deception. That’s why I introduced a real simple, clean bill. It’s very, very short, and it just says, “Look, Obamacare, citing the public statute number, is hereby repealed. All laws repealed by Obamacare are reinstated.” Which would revert us back to the laws that we had in place in 2009. And, just for emphasis, in 2009, American had the best healthcare in the world at a much better price than what we’re paying now. That seems like, to me, a good place to go.

Scott Chambers:

It seems like a great place to go. I’ve been saying this and asking for this for a very long time, “Why can’t we repeal the darn thing?” Then, we can take a look at healthcare reform. I believe we needed healthcare reform. When Obamacare came out, that was just the wrong type of reform. Let’s go back to the way it was. That’s what Republicans have been saying all along, “We’re going to repeal it. Then we will come up with a replacement.” And this Ryancare plan, whatever you want to call it, did the exact opposite, and I was really disappointed.

With seven full years to come up with a plan, and that’s as good as Washington could do? That really bothered me, a hard-working American taxpaying citizen. It ticked me off, Congressman.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Well, it should. It is a despicable bill. It’s one of the worst public policy initiatives I’ve ever seen. And for it to come from House Republican leadership is definitely disappointing.

Andrea Tice:


Rep. Mo Brooks:

We can do better than that. And there are plenty of things that we could do. But first, we have to understand the role of federal government vis a vis to states.

Andrea Tice:

Congressman Brooks …

Rep. Mo Brooks:

The simple solution … Go ahead.

Andrea Tice:

I wanted to say that you were one of the first to come out when this bill was being lined-up to be voted on and you called it an entitlement, which is nothing more than government-established programs that are entrenched. And you called it an entitlement, and you didn’t want to continue it, and I appreciate you calling it for what it is.

We now have Speaker Ryan coming out as of, I think yesterday, on CBS. He was talking in an interview and he said he didn’t want government to be involved in healthcare. How do you explain this discrepancy between him presenting something that essentially was a continuation of Obamacare and entitlements, but saying out publicly he doesn’t want government involved. It confused me.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

It is inexplicable, and it’s self-contradictory. You’ve got a number of different aspects of this bill, the bottom line being that it increases health insurance premiums 15 to 20 percent over and above Obamacare increases, and it does that over the next couple years.

But then, you’ve also got this huge new welfare program that the Republican party, now, will be responsible for. It costs, initially, the estimated costs are in the neighborhood of $35 billion a year, and basically what it does is it pays, directly or indirectly, insurance companies for the cost of health insurance.

So, you can imagine, the health insurance industry is in love with this bill because you’ve got a direct transfer of roughly $35 billion to the [coffers 00:07:06] of insurance companies, paid for out of the United States Treasury. And, of course, we taxpayers are going to have to come up with the money to pay for that ship.

So, what that does, when you start looking at the political dynamics of it and you play it out long-term, all of a sudden all these American voters who are self-sufficient, self-reliant, they pay their own way, they do things the right thing in America, they’re taking advantage of the opportunities this country has to offer. We’re turning them into welfare-dependence.

Scott Chambers:


Andrea Tice:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Rep. Mo Brooks:

But since they’re going to have the federal government paying anywhere from around $2500 on the low side, $2000, $2500 on the low side, to $14,000 of their health insurance cost. And once they become welfare-dependent, well, how do you think they’re going to vote in the general elections going forward? Are they going to vote for free-enterprise or are they going to vote for more welfare?

Scott Chambers:

Definitely more welfare.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

And I think that changes the political dynamics in a major way, and basically ends the Republican party as a functioning entity over the long-term.

Andrea Tice:

One of the things that the House Freedom Caucus did was hold the line on this, staying conservative, staying true to their convictions and their campaign promises, and you were among those, Congressman Brooks. Are you feeling any negative or positive feedback on that decision?

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Well, I’m getting mixed. In my district, I had about 1,800 people ask me to vote against Ryancare, and about 500 people ask me to vote for it. I thought that was noteworthy given that there was a huge media buy in my district. I don’t know the total dollar amount but it was radio, it was TV, and it was robocalls trying to tell people that it’s really between Mo Brooks and Donald Trump. Now that’s a false paradigm. It’s really between the American people and Washington and this legislation.

Scott Chambers:


Rep. Mo Brooks:

But, nonetheless, even though … and I suspect that the insurance companies were behind the financing of these media buys, I don’t know that. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to ascertain who really was putting the money into it. But the bottom line is this: despite all those calls, all that radio, all that TV, trying to make it look like that I was on the opposite side of Donald Trump, it was something like 77 percent of the people in my district that contacted my office, out of over 2000 that contacted my office, wanted me to vote “no” on this legislation rather than “yes”.

And so, it was comforting to know that, people in my district at least, were starting to understand better about how bad this piece of legislation is, both short-term, with its adverse effect on insurance premiums, and then long-term, with its adverse effect on whether we’re going to continue to be country that is based on principles of liberty and freedom.

Scott Chambers:

Our guest is U.S. representative Mo Brooks from Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District. And, Congressman, I never once saw this as Mo Brooks versus Donald Trump. What you just said makes perfect sense. I saw this as Mo Brooks looking out for his constituency. That’s the way I took it.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Well, it’s also our country. Although my constituency is a sub-part of that. But this, legislation is really bad for our country long-term. There are no free rides, and I use that as an example. The initial welfare program was Obamacare, right? Okay? And, the CBO estimated that it would cost, all of its component parts, around $800 billion over a ten-year period of time.

They had to revise their estimates a short while ago to increase the cost to over $2 trillion over that ten-year period of time. Which means that the CBO was off by a factor of 2.5, that the actual cost was about 2.5 times more than what was estimated. And you can bet your bottom dollar that, if the Republican welfare plan were passed, that they also would be off because the CBO cannot adjust their numbers based on political dynamics. That’s not something they can take into account when they’re doing their scoring.

But, if we make every campaign about who’s going to give me more healthcare, welfare, you can bet your bottom dollar again that the costs are going to go up because politicians are going to react and promise more free stuff that we don’t have the money to pay for.

Andrea Tice:

Congressman Brooks, you stood up and voted against the Ryancare bill, and then you turned around offered a solution, a two-page solution, which, we’ve often said on the show, in and of itself is a work of art that, in D.C., you could put it down to two-pages. So, where does that stand in committee and in the process of bringing that to a floor-vote?

Rep. Mo Brooks:

The only way we’re going to have a floor-vote is this way … the House leadership does not favor a repeal of Obamacare, as you and I and the American people understand the word repeal. Okay?

Andrea Tice:


Rep. Mo Brooks:

They, then, will have to be pushed aside for this to come to the House floor for a vote. And the bill number, for your audience, is HR-1718.

Andrea Tice:


Rep. Mo Brooks:

First thing to do is to get a bunch of co-sponsors so that the House leadership starts to take notice. The second thing to do is to file a discharge petition that forces it past the committee structure and straight to the House floor for a vote. So, I’m hopeful that, when we get to the point in time where I can file a discharge petition, that we will slowly but surely get the signatures on that petition.

I can’t do it right now. Under House rules, I have to wait 30 legislative days. In calendar days, that translates into some time in late May, or June, just depending on how many days we’re in session. But, when that time comes, if we’ve not addressed the repeal of Obamacare to the satisfaction of the American people, then I’m going to file that discharge petition. And at that point, it will be up to the American people to decide if they really want a repeal of Obamacare.

If they do, they contact their congressman, they get enough congressmen to sign that discharge petition, we have a House floor vote, and boom, we repeal it.

Andrea Tice:

All right. Well, we’re putting the word out there for people here in Alabama to contact their congressman and get the word out where they want them to stand on that petition, and hopefully we see some movement on that.

Scott Chambers:

You know, I think the majority of Alabamians, they think that the plan, the first plan that was presented and Ryan was pushing, they looked at it and said, “This is a bunch of garbage.” They don’t want that. You look at what Mo Brooks has presented, this is genius. That’s what we’ve all been saying all along, “Repeal the darn thing.”

Andrea Tice:

It’s the first step. It’s the most logical.

Scott Chambers:

Exactly. Congressman Mo Brooks is our guest, from Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District. Congressman, I want to ask you, what do you make of President Donald Trump and his tweets going after the Conservative Freedom Caucus?

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Well, in a way, it establishes that we are a force to be reckoned with in Washington D.C. We’ve hit the radar screen. In previous years, previous sessions of Congress, the Freedom Caucus was not that notable. We were the ones pushing for border security. We were the ones pushing against unfair trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We were the ones pushing for smaller federal government. Quite frankly, we were the ones that constitute some of the few conservatives left in the United States Congress. And now we’re in the radar screen.

It’s somewhat paradoxical that Donald Trump is coming after us because, if you look at the overall membership of the House Freedom Caucus, that’s probably where 80 to 90 percent of his congressional support came from. The establishment Republicans were the ones who were attacking Donald Trump, even when he was our nominee.

Andrea Tice:

I know.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Or, on the other hand, they weren’t willing to help him. And so, now, Donald Trump … I think he’s getting bad advice. I wish that he would support what we’re trying to do because when we get to those trade issues, when we get to border security, you go down a long list of issues where it looks like we are perfectly in line with Donald Trump.

And, I hope that he does not unnecessarily alienate some of our members by the kind of personal targeting. And it really shouldn’t be personal targeting. You’ve either got a good bill or a bad bill. And we should be talking about public policy and how to improve a bill, and by way of background Ryancare has only 17 percent approval from the American people.

It’s opposed by the Harris Foundation. It’s opposed by Freedomworks. It’s opposed by Club for Growth. Last night on TV I was watching Sean Hannity. He was against it. Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, was against it, and has been talking about our killing this bill, assuming that it’s dead, our killing this bill has helped save the Republican party.

You also had Laura Ingraham who’s opposed to it. Virtually all of the conservative think tanks have come out against this legislation once they figure out what it does and how it breaches our promises to the American people.

Scott Chambers:

Absolutely. Representative Mike Rogers … changing the subject for just a moment … Representative Mike Rogers has introduced a bill to fund construction of the wall. And, I noticed on your Twitter yesterday, you sent a tweet out saying you fully support President Trump’s effort to build that wall, and have Mexico pay for it, and then Rogers, the bill that he’s introduced is to tax illegal immigrants. Tell us a little bit about that because you’ve signed on as a co-sponsor.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

I’m very, very thankful that Mike Rogers has introduced this bill. This is a sign of real strong leadership by Congressman Rogers with respect to our border-security issue. And, basically, there are wire-transfers and other transfers of money from illegal aliens in America to people back in their home countries, usually Mexico but not always.

And what Mike Rogers wants to do is to put a tax on those transfers of funds. I think the amount is in two percent but you’re testing my memory in that regard. It might be a little bit more, might be a little bit less. But that’s one way to come up with the money to pay for the wall without it burdening American citizens.

It’s one way for Donald Trump to keep his promise to make Mexico pay for it, and I’m very thankful that Congressman Mike Rogers from Alabama has taken a leadership role in this. And I’m happy to have the opportunity to co-sponsor and help him get it passed.

Scott Chambers:

Well, I’m certainly glad that you’ve co-sponsored that. I think it’s fantastic. Here in Alabama, sir, we definitely want that wall. You know that (laughs). There’s no question.

Andrea Tice:

I’m actually excited and impressed that two Alabama Congressmen have made initiatives in resolving this problem, Obamacare and the wall, and it speaks well of our state. So, keep up the good work, Congressman.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

Will do. And thank you so much for the opportunity to be on your show and also for what you all do to help the American people better understand what they need to understand in order for our republic to go in the right direction.

Scott Chambers:

Absolutely. Congressman Mo Brooks from Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District. Appreciate you being with us here on Yellow Hammer Radio. I look forward to talking to you again very soon, sir.

Rep. Mo Brooks:

My pleasure. Y’all have a good one.

Scott Chambers:

You too.

Andrea Tice:

You too.

Scott Chambers:

Congressman Mo Brooks with us here on Yellow Hammer Radio. A short break, we’re right back for this Friday edition.


6 mins ago

Debbie Long is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact

This summer, Debbie Long will call it a career at Protective Life Corp.

What a career it has been.

Long, who also is a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact, served as executive vice president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary of the insurance company before taking on a part-time advisory role this year. She is one of Alabama’s highest-paid female executives.


Long also has been a big contributor to her community.

Long told Business Alabama in 2012 that she always wanted to be a lawyer, although first she had idealistic visions of saving the world. After graduating in 1980 from the University of Alabama Law School and then clerking for a federal appeals court Judge Frank Johnson, she went to work for a law firm and practiced corporate law.

“Although I hadn’t initially wanted to practice business law, I found I loved it,” she told the publication.

Long left the firm along with several other lawyers to help form the powerhouse Birmingham firm of Maynard, Cooper and Gale.

In 1992, Long joined the board of Protective Life as general counsel of the insurance company.

Long told Business Alabama that her advice to would-be business leaders would be to stay open to opportunities that might come along at unexpected times.

“It’s very doubtful that someone’s going to come to you early in your career and say, ‘I want to be your mentor,’” she said. “It’s far more likely you will meet people along the way who will give you great advice if you are open to receiving it. Someone at a cocktail party might say something that could change your life.”

Long has been active in the larger business community. She has served as chairwoman of the Business Council of Alabama’s Judicial and Legal Reform Committee and also has worked on the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, the Federal Affairs Committee and on the board of ProgressPAC — the lobby’s political action committee.

Last year, the BCA honored her with the Robert W. “Bubba” Lee Political Courage Award, given each year to someone who is willing to take the right position regardless of cost.

“She has shown through her support that she cares about the Alabama business community and she values the role we play and the jobs we create,” BCA Chairman Perry Hand said at the time. “She has been a distinguished member of the Alabama and Birmingham business communities for nearly three decades.”

Her charitable endeavors include Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham, the YWCA of Birmingham, Oasis Women’s Counseling Center, the Birmingham Museum of Art and Partners in Neighborhood Growth Inc.

In addition, she serves on the Alabama Women’s Commission and the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, as well as The Fellows program of the American Bar Foundation.

“It is her commitment to excellence that has made her such a valuable asset to Alabama’s business community, and there are few individuals more dedicated to our corporate community, the rule of law, and the political arena than Debbie Long,” Hand said last year.

Join Long and special guests from across the state for a Birmingham awards event March 29 honoring the 20 Yellowhammer Women of Impact whose powerful contributions advance Alabama. Details and registration may be found here.

@BrendanKKirby is a senior political reporter at LifeZette and author of “Wicked Mobile.”

22 mins ago

Alabama Rural Broadband Act on governor’s desk

A bill that would provide grants to aid rural broadband expansion is on Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk.

The legislation was delivered to the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon after the Senate adopted changes to the Alabama Rural Broadband Act previously made in the House.

Originally conceived as a bill that would offer tax incentives to companies to provide high-speed internet services to some of the state’s more remote areas, the bill was changed to offer grants instead. Projects that would provide speeds of 25 megabits per second down and 3 megabits per second up would be eligible for $1.4 million per project, while projects providing minimum speeds of 10/1 could get $750,000 each.


The bill is expected to provide $10 million annually, with the program being administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Private providers and cooperatives would be eligible for the money, but government entities would not.

The sponsor, Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville), wanted to give providers tax credits for providing broadband rather than cash. The bill still has safeguards in place – the money won’t be received upfront and a legislative committee would monitor the program for effectiveness.

Scofield couldn’t be reached for comment this week.

Ivey is expected to sign the bill after speaking about the need for such programs in her January State of the State speech. The legislation sailed through the Alabama Legislature, receiving unanimous yes votes in the House on Tuesday and in the Senate concurrence vote on Wednesday.

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), said grants are better for taxpayers.

“It’s more transparent and gives us more accountability,” he said.

In reality, both funding mechanisms have been dismissed by critics. The MacIver Institute said in a 2014 report that incentives can actually hurt economic growth, while Obama’s stimulus grant program was one of the more stark examples of grant largesse.

Alabama lawmakers hope their broadband plan goes hand-in-hand with a proposal from President Trump to spend an immediate $200 billion and long-term $1.5 trillion on infrastructure improvements. Trump hopes to spur more public-private partnerships – so-called P3s – with his proposal to help state and local governments shoulder more of the load. But his plan has faced criticism on both sides – Democrats aren’t fans of the president’s goal to put more costs on the states, while many Republicans say the plan calls for too much spending and haven’t exactly deemed it a high priority this session.

Some on both sides have criticized the lack of any guaranteed funds for broadband, although the plan cites high-speed internet as an infrastructure priority. There are concerns that federal broadband grants could accelerate the growth of government internet projects, which have largely been a sinkhole for taxpayer money.

52 mins ago

Alabama Committee approves ethics exemption for economic developers

An Alabama Senate committee has approved legislation, pushed by the state’s top industry recruiter, to exempt professional economic developers from the state ethics law.

The Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee approved the House-passed bill Wednesday on a 10-2 vote. It now moves to the Senate floor.


The proposal would exempt professional economic developers from the rules that govern lobbyists. The rules include registering with the state, undergoing yearly training and reporting activity.

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield has said professional site developers, who help businesses decide where to locate, will not work in Alabama if they must register as lobbyists.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton has expressed concern about exempting a group of people, whose primary job involves interacting with government officials, from the state ethics law.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Human trafficking bill that would impose severe penalties for obstruction is step closer to becoming law

Anyone who obstructs a human trafficking investigation in Alabama could be met with the same penalties as the traffickers if the governor signs a bill that passed the House this week with near unanimous support.

The bill, which already passed the Senate, increases penalties in place for those who obstruct, interfere with, prevent, or otherwise get in the way of law enforcement’s investigation into the practice that includes child sex trafficking.

Under current law, such obstruction is only a Class C felony and could result in just one year in prison. The new legislation would increase the maximum offense to a Class A felony, with a minimum jail sentence of ten years.


Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) sponsored the bill and said he is proud that the Alabama Legislature made this a priority.

“This week we’ve taken another crucial step in ending this horrific practice,” Ward said in a statement. “By increasing penalties for those who would aid traffickers, we will hold them just as accountable as the traffickers themselves.”

Human trafficking victims are often children who are trafficked into sexual exploitation at an average age between 11-14 years old, according to the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.

“Most people assume, ‘Well, that doesn’t happen in my backyard,’” Ward said in an interview with Yellowhammer News when the bill was first introduced. “…It’s everywhere in our state, but there’s low awareness as to how bad it really is.”

Just this week, a Decatur man pled guilty to child sex trafficking and other charges related to his plan to kidnap, rape and kill a mother and sell her 14-year-old daughter to a Memphis pimp, according to horrifying details reported by the Decatur Daily.

Brian David “Blaze” Boersma’s plan was thwarted because an informant, who Boersma recruited to help him with his plan, alerted the FBI.

“Oftentimes it’s like what we say with terrorism,” Ward said. “If you see something suspicious, tell somebody, because a lot of times, trafficking can take place right underneath our noses in our communities.”

The legislation to increase penalties for obstructing human trafficking investigations was delivered to Governor Kay Ivey for her signature Wednesday afternoon.

Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News.

Bill funds ‘active shooter’ training for local law enforcement, school faculty and staff, and students

For much of the year, the safety of our students rests in the hands of the faculty, staff, and resource officers at our schools.  Without a shadow of a doubt, the people who know best how to protect our schools are the teachers, parents, administrators, police officers, and students in their own communities.

In February, the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida resonated throughout our communities, highlighting a disturbing trend of individuals who clearly show signs of grave mental instability falling through the cracks.

Sadly, this incident likely could have been avoided had there been better oversight at every level of law enforcement. From the top down, we failed these students by not heeding the warning signs and working together as a team to ensure our students’ safety.


In response to this incident, the House recently passed the Student, Teacher’s Officer’s Prevention (STOP) School Violence Act, which Bill  to help identify and prevent school violence before these tragic events occur.

First, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding for training to prevent student violence, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students in the event of an emergency.  This training would be designed to give students and school personnel the ability to recognize and respond quickly to warning signs of violent behavior and would include active shooter training.

Second, the bill provides funding for technology and equipment to improve school security.  This includes the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems, as well as the installation of metal detectors, locks, and other preventative technologies to keep schools secure.

The legislation also authorizes funding for school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams for school personnel to respond to threats before they become real-time incidents.  Recognizing the warning signs of violent, threatening behavior and having the proper resources to address it on the front end can prevent these tragedies from ever occurring.

Finally, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding to support law enforcement coordination efforts, particularly the officers who already staff schools.  From the federal level all the way down to our local law enforcement, we need to ensure there is accountability and communication when handling violent behavior.

Many of our local schools are already reevaluating their security measures and taking additional steps to promote a safe learning environment for our students.  Our students’ safety and security should always remain a top priority, and I believe it is imperative that our local schools have the most appropriate resources in place in the event of an emergency.

As we look for ways to prevent these terrible tragedies, I am open to additional solutions to address the underlying issues that cause these events to occur.  That said, I remain steadfastly committed to upholding the individual right of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.  Millions of Americans should not have their Second Amendment rights infringed upon due to the bad actions of a few individuals.

Rather, I believe we should focus on addressing mental health issues and combatting the role of violence in our modern culture, such as the prevalence of violent video games that normalize this behavior for our young students, and promoting commonsense solutions that will address the larger issues of mental health so that those with mental illness do not fall through the cracks.

There is still work to be done to ensure each child’s safety and well-being while attending classes. However, I am proud that we have taken this action in the House to promote a safe, secure learning environment for our children.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. 

(Image: File)