7 Things: Barr slams politicization of the DOJ in contentious hearing, Trump Jr. highlights Alabama Democrat’s abortion comments, AL House committee advances bill that would reward illegal gambling and more …
7. The bill that would cover law enforcement officers and LGBTQ with hate crime protections is ready for an Alabama Senate vote
— The current law allows people to be charged with a hate crime if the crime is motivated by race, religion, national origin, ethnicity or disability. This bill would add law enforcement officers and LGBTQ to that list. The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the bill, so now it moves to the Senate. State Sen. Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile) has been trying to add the LGBTQ protections for years and this was a good compromise on the matter.
6. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has released her plan to give voters “Democracy Dollars”
— Gillibrand wants to get more people donating to federal candidates, so she has proposed giving voters up to $600 worth of vouchers to donate. Gillibrand has called the vouchers “Democracy Dollars.” They would provide $100 for eligible voters to donate in primary elections, as well as in general elections to House, Senate and presidential. Part of her “Clean Elections Plan” also includes candidates not being allowed to accept donations of more than $200 if they accept the vouchers. Gillibrand said, “My Clean Elections Plan is a critical structural change that gets big money and special interests out of politics, and ensures that elected officials in Washington are beholden only to the people who sent them there.” The $200 donation limit per donor would be a significant change from the current $2,800 limit in primary and general elections. This is both an attempt to buy votes and get more money for politician’s campaign accounts. It has no chance of being a real thing, much like Gillibrand’s campaign for president.
5. Correctional officers are getting a raise; Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) thinks a special session is needed to deal with the prison issue
— On Tuesday night, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a 5% pay increase with additional bonus benefits for correctional officers, which would increase their pay by about $10,000. This has been one of the first steps made to improve the prison environment. Marsh has said that he’s urged his colleagues to be cautious when approaching the prison issue with legislation since he’s concerned about the possibility of passing a package of bills that aren’t totally ready yet. Marsh also said, “I would encourage the governor – and I’ve talked to the governor about this – I would encourage the governor at the proper time to call a special session to deal with prison legislation, prison reform that addresses all the different issue, from mental health, security, to pay for those who work in the system, sentencing reform – all these things need to be addressed very similar to the way the infrastructure bill was handled.” Alabama is currently under a federal court order to hire about 2,200 more correctional officers to hopefully help improve the prison conditions.
4. Former Auburn coach and U.S. Candidate Tommy Tuberville isn’t happy that the University of Virginia men’s basketball team turned down their White House visit
— The University of Virginia men’s team refused President Trump’s invitation to the White House after they won the national championship. After declining the invitation, one of the UVA players tweeted, “No thanks Trump.” Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville said in a Facebook post that the players and coaches are missing out on an opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime, and he referenced his trips to the White House after winning college football national championships. He finished by saying, “Whether Democrat or Republican it’s not about the occupant, it’s about the office of the presidency. it’s unfortunate that the University of Virginia is robbing their program of an opportunity they may never have again.”
3. A House committee has approved protections for electronic bingo in Macon County
— In what could be an issue for lottery legislation, the House Economic Development and Tourism committee approved a measure that would allow a local constitutional amendment aimed at protecting Macon Valley’s VictoryLand electronic bingo. Representative Pebblin Warren (D-Tuskegee) sponsored the measure, and after the vote said, “I think people are seeing the crisis, the true crisis we’re facing in Macon County. The right is now available. We’ve got the facilities. Everything’s there. All we need to do is open up and start generating money.” This would reward facilities that are currently operating questionably legal gambling entities. Warren has also justified the amendment by saying, “We’re not asking to do anything that’s not already being done by the state of Alabama,” which is just not true.
2. Donald Trump, Jr. has drawn attention to comments about abortion made by State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham)
— During a debate on a very restrictive abortion bill, Rogers suggested aborting kids is better than sending them to prison. “Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or you kill them later. You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or you kill them later.” His comments were picked up by the Daily Wire and eventually boosted by Trump Jr. to a much wider audience. The Democrats’ extremist statements on abortion continue to show how far to the left some have become on abortion.
1. Attorney General William Barr said that Democrats used the criminal justice system as a political weapon
— On Wednesday, AG Barr testified during a Capitol Hill hearing concerning special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report. For weeks, Democrats have been saying Barr sacrificed his integrity to protect President Trump, but he pushed back. During the hearing, Barr was going back and forth with Senator Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), and said, “We have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon.” This came after Blumenthal said, “I think history will judge you harshly” while accusing him of using the summary of the Mueller report to exonerate Trump. Barr also said during the hearing that the job of the Justice Department is over and it’s up to the American people to decide now. Barr also turned down a request to appear at a House committee today. The hearing will go on.