5 months ago

Alabama Senate committee assignments announced

MONTGOMERY – Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Committee on Assignments announced the composition of the chamber’s standing committees for the 2019-2022 quadrennium.

In a press release, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) thanked the committee for their diligent work.

“I want to thank the Committee on Assignments for their work on these committees, they did a fantastic job of matching Senators with the committee that best takes advantage of their strengths and abilities,” Marsh said.

Committees will be composed as follows:

Committee on Rules

1. Jabo Waggoner (Chair)
2. Clay Scofield (Vice Chair)
3. Gerald Allen
4. Linda Coleman-Madison
5. Vivian Figures
6. Jimmy Holley
7. Steve Livingston
8. Jim McClendon
9. Tim Melson
10. Arthur Orr
11. Greg Reed
12. Rodger Smitherman

Committee on Finance & Taxation Education

1. Arthur Orr (Chair)
2. Tim Melson (Vice Chair)
3. Greg Albritton
4. Gerald Allen
5. Donnie Chesteen
6. Priscilla Dunn
7. Vivian Figures
8. Garlan Gudger
9. Jim McClendon
10. Clay Scofield
11. David Sessions
12. Bobby Singleton
13. Rodger Smitherman
14. Jabo Waggoner
15. Tom Whatley

Committee on Finance & Taxation General Fund

1. Greg Albritton (Chair)
2. Gerald Allen (Vice Chair)
3. Billy Beasley
4. Tom Butler
5. Clyde Chambliss
6. Linda Coleman-Madison
7. Jimmy Holley
8. Steve Livingston
9. Jim McClendon
10. Arthur Orr
11. Malika Sanders-Fortier
12. Larry Stutts
13. Jabo Waggoner
14. Cam Ward

Committee on Confirmations

1. Clay Scofield (Chair)
2. Jabo Waggoner (Vice Chair)
3. Gerald Allen
4. Will Barfoot
5. David Burkette
6. Vivian Figures
7. Sam Givhan
8. Andrew Jones
9. Greg Reed
10. David Sessions
11. Rodger Smitherman
12. Larry Stutts
13. Cam Ward
14. Tom Whatley
15. Jack Williams

Committee on Judiciary

1. Cam Ward (Chair)
2. Will Barfoot (Vice Chair)
3. Greg Albritton
4. Linda Coleman-Madison
5. Vivian Figures
6. Sam Givhan
7. Arthur Orr
8. Malika Sanders-Fortier
9. Bobby Singleton
10. Rodger Smitherman
11. Larry Stutts
12. Tom Whatley

Committee on Government Affairs

1. Jimmy Holley (Chair)
2. Chris Elliott (Vice Chair)
3. Greg Albritton
4. Clyde Chambliss
5. Linda Coleman-Madison
6. Sam Givhan
7. Garlan Gudger
8. Arthur Orr
9. Dan Roberts
10. Malika Sanders-Fortier
11. Shay Shelnutt

Committee on Education Policy

1. Tim Melson (Chair)
2. Donnie Chesteen (Vice Chair)
3. David Burkette
4. Tom Butler
5. Priscilla Dunn
6. Chris Elliott
7. Vivian Figures
8. Jim McClendon
9. Randy Price
10. Shay Shelnutt

Committee on Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry

1. Tom Whatley (Chair)
2. David Sessions (Vice Chair)
3. Billy Beasley
4. Chris Elliott
5. Garlan Gudger
6. Andrew Jones
7. Steve Livingston
8. Tim Melson
9. Randy Price
10. Clay Scofield
11. Bobby Singleton
12. Larry Stutts
13. Jack Williams

Committee on Banking & Insurance

1. Shay Shelnutt (Chair)
2. Jack Williams (Vice Chair)
3. Will Barfoot
4. David Burkette
5. Donnie Chesteen
6. Chris Elliott
7. Andrew Jones
8. Steve Livingston
9. Randy Price
10. Dan Roberts
11. Clay Scofield
12. Bobby Singleton
13. Rodger Smitherman
14. Jabo Waggoner
15. Tom Whatley

Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development

1. Steve Livingston (Chair)
2. Garlan Gudger (Vice Chair)
3. Will Barfoot
4. Tom Butler
5. Clyde Chambliss
6. Priscilla Dunn
7. Arthur Orr
8. Dan Roberts
9. Malika Sanders-Fortier
10. Clay Scofield
11. Shay Shelnutt
12. Cam Ward

Committee on Transportation & Energy

1. Gerald Allen (Chair)
2. Dan Roberts (Vice Chair)
3. David Burkette
4. Tom Butler
5. Donnie Chesteen
6. Priscilla Dunn
7. Chris Elliott
8. Sam Givhan
9. Andrew Jones
10. Steve Livingston
11. Randy Price
12. Greg Reed
13. David Sessions

Committee on Healthcare

1. Jim McClendon (Chair)
2. Larry Stutts (Vice Chair)
3. Billy Beasley
4. Tom Butler
5. Donnie Chesteen
6. Linda Coleman-Madison
7. Tim Melson
8. Greg Reed
9. Dan Roberts
10. Cam Ward
11. Tom Whatley
12. Jack Williams

Committee on Children, Youth & Human Services

1. Larry Stutts (Chair)
2. Andrew Jones (Vice Chair)
3. Greg Albritton
4. Will Barfoot
5. Billy Beasley
6. Clyde Chambliss
7. Linda Coleman-Madison
8. Sam Givhan
9. Jimmy Holley
10. Dan Roberts
11. Malika Sanders-Fortier
12. Shay Shelnutt
13. Jack Williams

Committee on Tourism

1. Del Marsh (Chair)
2. Randy Price (Vice Chair)
3. Billy Beasley
4. Priscilla Dunn
5. Chris Elliott
6. Garlan Gudger
7. Andrew Jones
8. Tim Melson
9. David Sessions
10. Bobby Singleton
11. Rodger Smitherman

Committee on Veterans & Military Affairs

1. Tom Butler (Chair)
2. Sam Givhan (Vice Chair)
3. Will Barfoot
4. Billy Beasley
5. David Burkette
6. Donnie Chesteen
7. Jimmy Holley
8. Malika Sanders-Fortier

Committee on Local Legislation (LL1)

1. Clyde Chambliss (Chair)
2. Del Marsh
3. Greg Reed

“I look forward to working with these members in the upcoming session. There are some tough issues facing the state and I believe these committees and their members are best equipped to address these issues in a way that benefits the people of Alabama,” Marsh added in the press release.

Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) emphasized that he was excited to see these new committees in action.

“Committees are the backbone of the legislative process, a place where bills are refined and improved and ideas are vigorously debated,” Reed explained.

“Like the entire Senate, the committee chairmen come from all walks of life and include small business owners, doctors, farmers, former teachers, and attorneys from every region of our state,” Reed said. “The 4.8 million citizens of Alabama deserve the best leadership possible, and I am confident that these citizen-lawmakers will ably lead the Senate’s fifteen committees during the new legislative term.”

Highlighting the chamber’s bipartisanship, Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) applauded the way committee assignments were handled.

“Because we are in the minority we’re only going to get so many seats on committees. However, I think what has been done was fair based on the percentage of people that we have,” Singleton said. “There were only two committees that we didn’t get seats, the Committee on Assignment and the Local Legislation Committee, but I would have liked to have representation on those as well, and of course we would love some chairmanships.”

‘Happy people’

The optimism and collegiality purveyed in the three leaders’ respective statements echo the sentiments Marsh and Reed relayed to Yellowhammer News in a recent interview.

“Senator Reed, who was in charge of trying to put the puzzle together with the organization and committee assignments and everything else, he and some other members that were involved did a masterful job,” Marsh told Yellowhammer News.

While committee assignments were announced Wednesday, the second and likely final day of the legislature’s 2019 organizational session, all of the senators knew of their committee assignments well before their orientation meetings in December. In fact, Reed personally called each member to inform them of their pending assignments before Thanksgiving.

Marsh advised, “We’ve got truly 27, in my opinion, happy people [in the Senate Republican Caucus] and all the Democrats – let me tell you, we work with them, we’ve always made an effort to make sure that everybody is treated with respect in the Senate.”

“All is good,” he concluded. “And Senator Reed, I have to give him credit on that. He’s the one who worked day in and day out with that.”

Reed added, “Well, and I appreciate Senator Marsh and his engagement in the process as well. And certainly his wisdom and advice as Pro Tem, in regards to things that worked well [in the past] and how we could put it together.”

“I think that as we wound up understanding who our members [in the Republican Caucus] were going to be, and also who were going to be the members of the minority caucus, trying to look at all these different backgrounds, with all the different elements of their experiences and what they were bringing to the table, to try and look at the big, giant puzzle of the organization of the Senate – who functions best in different roles – was something that we looked at with a keen eye and tried to understand where people could best serve,” Reed explained.

The majority leader said, “Being able to work on it together with a good quality group of men and women, we’ve been able to have a good outcome.”

The state legislature’s regular session kicks off on March 5.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

12 hours ago

Are you afraid to answer the phone?

Millions of Americans fear answering their phone due to a plague of billions of robocalls. These calls have made a mockery of the national Do Not Call Registry and touch on several public policy questions.

We had seemingly ended the problem of unwanted telemarketing calls. Congress authorized the Do Not Call Registry in 2003 after more than a decade of calls disrupting the peace and quiet of our homes. Fines of $11,000 per violation largely put telemarketing companies, with hundreds of thousands of employees, out of business.

609

Why have unwanted calls returned? VOIP technology (voice over internet protocol) allowed anyone with a computer and an internet connection to make thousands of calls. A handful of responses can make thousands of calls worthwhile when the cost is almost zero. Furthermore, technology makes robocallers mobile and elusive.

By contrast, telemarketing firms employed hundreds of people at call centers. The authorities could find and fine telemarketers. Firms had to comply with the Do Not Call registry, even if forced out of business.

Technology further frustrates the control of robocalls. Spoofing makes a call appear to be from a different number. Spoofing a local number increases the chance of someone answering, defeats caller ID, and makes identifying the calls’ source difficult.

By contrast, technology allowed the elimination of spam email. It’s easy to forget that fifteen years ago spam threatened the viability of email. Email providers connected accounts to IP addresses and eventually identified and blocked spammers. Google estimates that spam is less than 0.1 percent of Gmail users’ emails.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banned almost all robocalls in 2009 (political campaigns and schools were excepted). Yet the volume of calls and complaints from the public rise every year. And the “quality” of the solicitations is lower: legitimate businesses employed telemarketers, while most robocalls seem to be scams.

Telephone companies and entrepreneurs are deploying apps and services to block robocalls. The robocallers then respond, producing a technological arms race. The technology of this arms race, however, is beyond me.

I’d rather consider some issues robocalls raise. The root of the problem is some people’s willingness to swindle others. Although we all know there are some bad people in the world, free market economists typically emphasize the costs and consequences of government regulations over the cheats and frauds who create the public’s demand for regulation. People can disagree whether a level of fraud warrants regulation, but free marketers should not dismiss the fear of swindlers.

Robocalls also highlight the enormous inefficiency of theft. Thieves typically get 25 cents on the dollar (or less) when selling stolen goods. Getting $1,000 via theft requires stealing goods worth $4,000 or more. In addition, thieves invest time and effort planning and carrying out crimes, while we invest millions in locks, safes, burglar alarms, and police departments to protect our property. America would be much richer if we did not have to protect against thieves or robocallers.

Finally, having the government declare something illegal does not necessarily solve a problem. Our politicians like to pass a law or regulation and announce, “problem solved.” Identifying and punishing robocallers is difficult; the FTC had only brought 33 cases in nearly ten years. And less than ten percent of the over $300 million in fines and relief for consumers levied against robocallers had been collected. Government has no pixie dust which magically solves hard problems.

The difficulty of enforcing a law or regulation does not necessarily imply we should not act. The Federal Communications Commission, for instance, recently approved letting phone companies block unwanted calls by default, and perhaps this will prove effective. We should weigh the costs of laws and regulations against a realistic projection of benefits and laws failing to solve problems as promised should be revised or repealed.
Still, a law that accomplishes little can have value. Cursing robocalls accomplishes little yet can be cathartic. A law that costs little might provide us satisfaction until technology solves the problem.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

13 hours ago

VIDEO: Culverhouse vs. UA, Trump and Biden battle in Iowa, the Bentley saga could be over 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:

— Why did the media get the story with Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. and Alabama so wrong?

— Is the Iowa slap-fight between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden a 2020 preview?

— Now that former ALEA head Spencer Collier has settled his case with the state over his firing, is the sordid Bentley saga over?

65

Jackson and Burke are joined by State Representative Mike Ball (R-Madison) to discuss medical marijuana, the prison special session and the lottery.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” that calls out Joe Biden for lying about the lack of lies and scandals in the Obama administration.

VIDEO: Culverhouse/UA, Trump and Biden battle in Iowa, the Bentley saga could be over and more on Guerrilla Politics

Posted by Yellowhammer News on Sunday, June 16, 2019

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

14 hours ago

Alabama team targets international connections at SelectUSA Investment Summit

Alabama is home to a diverse lineup of international companies, and the state’s business recruiters are looking to expand those ranks.

The economic development team is in Washington D.C. at the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit, which starts today and is the premier foreign direct investment (FDI) event in the U.S.

349

FDI is a significant part of Alabama’s economy. Last year alone, it came from 16 different countries, for a total of $4.2 billion in investment and 7,520 new and future jobs.

Since 2013, the state has attracted $12.8 billion in FDI, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce. It’s spread across a variety of sectors, including automotive, aerospace and bioscience.

“Team Alabama is looking to capitalize on a record-breaking year for FDI in the state, by continuing to build partnerships with world-class international companies looking to grow in the U.S.,” said Vince Perez, a project manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce.

SHOWCASING ALABAMA

SelectUSA is led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and its annual summit regularly attracts top industry leaders and investors from around the globe. This year’s event is expected to draw more than 2,800 attendees from more than 70 international markets and 49 U.S. states and territories.

Participants of the past five summits have announced $103.6 billion in greenfield FDI in the U.S. within five years of attending, supporting more than 167,000 U.S. jobs.

“We are excited to have another opportunity to showcase Alabama’s vibrant business climate that’s been cultivated over the years through business-friendly policies,” Perez said.

“This year’s Investment Summit is very timely as we will be armed with the recently passed Incentives Modernization Act, which upgraded our already-strong incentive tool kit, making us more marketable than ever.”

The measure targets counties that have had slower economic growth. In particular, it expands the number of rural counties that qualify for investment and tax credit incentives. It also enhances incentives for technology companies.

Joining the Commerce Department at the SelectUSA Summit are PowerSouth, the North Alabama Industrial Development Association, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Alabama Power Co., and Spire.

Speakers at the summit will include key government and industry leaders who will discuss opportunities in a broad range of areas and industries, such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture and technology.

FDI supports nearly 14 million American jobs, and it is responsible for $370 billion in U.S. goods exports. The U.S. has more FDI than any other country, topping $4 trillion.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

A ‘Story Worth Sharing’: Yellowhammer News and Serquest partner to award monthly grants to Alabama nonprofits

Christmas is the season of giving, helping others and finding magic moments among seemingly ordinary (and occasionally dreary) days. What better way to welcome this season than to share what Alabamians are doing to help others?

Yellowhammer News and Serquest are partnering to bring you, “A Story Worth Sharing,” a monthly award given to an Alabama based nonprofit actively making an impact through their mission. Each month, the winning organization will receive a $1,000 grant from Serquest and promotion across the Yellowhammer Multimedia platforms.

Yellowhammer and Serquest are looking for nonprofits that go above and beyond to change lives and make a difference in their communities.

Already have a nonprofit in mind to nominate? Great!

Get started here with contest guidelines and a link to submit your nomination:

125

Nominations are now open and applicants only need to be nominated once. All non-winning nominations will automatically be eligible for selection in subsequent months. Monthly winners will be announced via a feature story that will be shared and promoted on Yellowhammer’s website, email and social media platforms.

Submit your nomination here.

Our organizations look forward to sharing these heartwarming and positive stories with you over the next few months as we highlight the good works of nonprofits throughout our state.

Serquest is an Alabama based software company founded by Hammond Cobb, IV of Montgomery. The organization sees itself as, “Digital road and bridge builders in the nonprofit sector to help people get where they want to go faster, life’s purpose can’t wait.”

Learn more about Serquest here.

15 hours ago

Alabama Power wins Electric Edison Institute awards for power restoration efforts following Hurricane Michael

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) awarded Alabama Power with the EEI “Emergency Assistance Award” and the  “Emergency Recovery Award” for its outstanding power restoration efforts after Hurricane Michael hit Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in October 2018.
The Emergency Assistance Award and Emergency Recovery Award are given to EEI member companies to recognize their efforts to assist other electric companies’ power restoration efforts, and for their own extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions caused by severe weather conditions or other natural events. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process.

181

Alabama Power received the awards during the EEI 2019 annual conference.

Alabama Power’s extraordinary efforts were instrumental to restoring service for customers across Alabama, Georgia, and Florida quickly and safely,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “We are pleased to recognize the dedicated crews from Alabama Power for their work to restore service in hazardous conditions and to assist neighboring electric companies in their times of need.”

Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm to make landfall during the 2018 hurricane season, was a Category 5 hurricane with peak winds of 160 mph. The storm hit Mexico Beach, Fla., on October 10 before being downgraded to a tropical storm and traveling northeast through Georgia and several Mid-Atlantic states. Alabama Power sent more than 1,400 lineworkers and 700 trucks to help restore service to customers over the course of two and a half months.

Hurricane Michael also resulted in 89,438 service outages in Alabama Power’s territory. Due to their tireless work, Alabama Power’s crews restored power to 100 percent of customers within four days after the storm, dedicating more than 124-thousand hours to the recovery.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)