The Wire

  • Decatur doctor accused of sexual assault responds to lawsuit

    Excerpt from WHNT:

    A Decatur doctor accused of sexually assaulting several of his patients is disputing all claims of wrongdoing. Dr. Michael Dick of Alabama Medicine and Rheumatology Clinic responded to a lawsuit filed on behalf of six women who claim to be his former patients. The doctor also filed a protective order asking a judge to stop the victims from sharing their stories with the media.

    A Birmingham-based attorney responded on behalf of Dr. Dick saying there is “no basis to contend he preys on female patients as alleged in the complaint.” The lawsuit filed against Dr. Dick says female members of the nursing staff were present with him. He says no misconduct took place, as alleged in the lawsuit. The response also says employees who work at the medical practice deny any misconduct.

  • Bobby Bright says ‘D.C. powerbrokers’ pushed Trump to endorse Martha Roby

    Excerpt from AL.com:

    Bobby Bright says ‘D.C. powerbrokers’ pushed Trump to endorse Martha Roby in Alabama’s District 2 race.

    “I understand politics and how Washington works. It appears the D.C. powerbrokers have gotten to the President on this issue. It’s truly a swamp of insiders controlled by big money special interests, the same crowd who’s bankrolling Martha Roby’s campaign to the tune of over $1 million just this year,” Bright said in a statement. “It’s a place where loyalty doesn’t exist. When you take that much money from D.C., New York and California, you lose sight of Alabama.”

    Incumbent Roby will face Bobby Bright — a former congressman she defeated in 2010 — in a runoff next month. Bright served one term in Congress as a Democrat, but switched parties to run against Roby in this year’s Republican primary.

  • Man accused of trying to run over police officer, charged with attempted murder

    Excerpt from ABC 33/40:

    A man accused of trying to run over a police officer was charged with attempted murder Friday, Shelby County authorities confirm.

    Chief Assistant District Attorney Roger Hepburn says Issai Serrano is the suspect connected with a Wednesday afternoon shooting involving an Alabaster Police officer. The shooting occurred at Morgan Road and South Shades Crest Road, said Hoover Police officers, who were the first to respond to the scene.

4 years ago

Two top Ala. Senators propose bills laying out guidelines for Convention of States

From Left: Sen. Trip Pittman, Sen. Arthur Orr, Rep. Ken Johnson, Rep. Barry Moore
From Left: Sen. Trip Pittman, Sen. Arthur Orr, Rep. Ken Johnson, Rep. Barry Moore

Two top-ranking Alabama State Senators today held a press conference to stress the importance of establishing guidelines for amending the U.S. Constitution through a Convention of the States, as outlined in Article V of the Constitution.

Working with lawmakers from 31 other states through the Mt. Vernon Assembly, Senators Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, are sponsoring two bills that would set parameters on delegates to an amendment convention in the event one is called to amend the U.S. Constitution.

Under Article V of the nation’s governing document, an amendment convention can be convened if two-thirds of state legislatures, or 34 states, approve an application for the convention to occur. Proposed amendments would then have to be ratified by three-fourths, or 38 states.

The proposed bills in the Alabama legislature designate a process by which delegates are selected to represent Alabama at the convention and establish guidelines for delegates to follow.

Senate Bill 199, sponsored by Pittman, is designed to hold potential delegates accountable by requiring the Legislature to adopt instructions for delegates, in addition to providing that a vote by a delegate outside the scope of the Legislature’s instructions is void.

“From out-of-control spending to seemingly endless gridlock, it’s easy to see why so many Americans think Washington is broken,” Pittman said. “Fortunately our nation’s Founding Fathers had the foresight to provide states with a mechanism to hold the federal government accountable. Article V of the U.S. Constitution is an important protection tool for states to use against a runaway federal government. It’s equally important, however, that the states have checks in place to ensure delegates honestly represent the views and beliefs of Alabamians, not special interests. These two bills will ensure that Alabama’s delegates are accountable to the people if and when a convention of states is convened.”

[RELATED: Alabama legislator introduces resolution calling for Convention of the States]

Senate Bill 200, sponsored by Orr, establishes qualifications for delegates and gives the Legislature the authority to appoint and recall delegates.

“Nearly three out of four Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction,” Orr explained. “The national debt is skyrocketing, only to be compounded by trillions of dollars in unfunded entitlement programs. By many accounts, the federal government has far overstepped its bounds with unprecedented regulations into numerous areas of our economy and everyday lives. Given the dire outlook, many are realizing that a state-led amendment convention is our best hope for a positive change of direction. If nothing else, this movement of states is a sharp reminder to Congress that we mean business.”

Orr and Pittman also pointed out that while all amendments to the U.S. Constitution to date have been proposed by Congress, 20 states, including Alabama, have petitioned Congress to call a state-led convention on a balanced budget amendment to control unchecked federal spending. This coalition, they said, shows a positive trend of states that are ready and willing to take on a crucial problem Congress has long ignored.

In 2011, the Alabama House and Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 100, sponsored by Orr, formally petitioning Congress to call a convention under Article V for the specific purpose of passing a federal balanced budget amendment, requiring that, in the absence of a national emergency, federal spending for any fiscal year not exceed total federal revenue.

Both SB199 and SB200 have received their first reading and are pending action by the Senate Committee on Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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4 years ago

Rep. Barry Moore introduces bill to render ObamaCare ‘null and void’ in Alabama

Barry Moore

Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, has introduced a bill that would render null and void certain provisions of ObamaCare and prevent Alabama state employees and agencies from implementing portions of the law that exceed the powers granted to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution.

“I refuse to sit idly by and watch Obamacare destroy our healthcare system and hurt working families all over this state,” Rep. Moore said. “I want Alabama to have the strongest possible protections against this destructive law. The states have an obligation to check the federal government when it exceeds the boundaries set forth in the Constitution. That’s exactly what this bill does. People throughout my district have expressed to me the harmful effects of Obamacare on their families and small businesses. We’re not going to have state employees doing the dirty work of the federal government when it comes to infringing on our liberties.”

The Alabama Freedom of Health Care Act cites the Tenth Amendment to the Constitutes, which provides that the federal government is authorized to exercise only those powers delegated to it in the Constitution.

The bill states that ObamaCare “grossly exceeds” those powers and therefore cannot and should not be considered the supreme law of the land.

The bill goes on to state that “no agency, officer, or employee of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, may engage in an activity that aids any agency in the enforcement of those provisions of (ObamaCare)… that exceed the authority of the United States Constitution.”

The bill empowers the Alabama state legislature to take “all necessary actions to ensure that all agencies, departments and political subdivisions of the state” do not aid in the law’s implementation in the state.

The Alabama Attorney General is also empowered to bring court action in the name of the state if he has “reasonable cause to believe that a person or business is being harmed by the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.”

Such action could be taken against “the person or entity causing the harm to restrain by temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, or permanent injunction the use of such method, act, or practice.”

Moore said that constituents in his wiregrass-area district have grown frustrated with the rising costs of health insurance brought on by ObamaCare and have expressed their desire for him to act.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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4 years ago

What to expect as Alabama’s legislature goes into its election year Session

Mark Twain

Agenda Bills Coming First Out of the Gate

Republicans are going to come right out of the gate this week with bills from their “Commonsense Conservative” agenda specifically related to tax relief. Rep. Barry Moore’s Tax Relief Act and Rep. Jim Patterson’s Tax Elimination Act will likely move very early in the session, as will Rep. Paul DeMarco’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

If history is any guide, House Republicans will plow through their entire agenda in the first couple of weeks of the session. Last year they quickly passed all ten of the bills on their agenda, but only six of them went on to pass the Senate and only five were ultimately signed into law by the Governor.


RELATED: House Republicans: 2014 will be year of ‘taxpayer relief’ in Alabama

Common Core Fight Rages On

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, has publicly stated that he hopes to avoid contentious issues because legislators are anxious to get back to their districts to campaign.

But while it’s unlikely that any piece of legislation will spark the kind of fights we saw last year with the Alabama Accountability Act, Sen. Scott Beason’s continued push to repeal Alabama’s version of Common Core Standards promises to keep the halls of the State House buzzing with conservative activists. Marsh says he won’t bring the bill up for a vote because Republicans are so divided over it. Common Core is by far the most emotionally charged current political issue in the state. That alone is plenty of reason to keep an eye on it during the 2014 session.

Too Early to Tell on Teacher Pay Raise

Another education-related issue that will be in play this year is a potential pay raise for school teachers. In 2013, the legislature passed a budget that gave teachers a 2 percent raise, the first they’d seen in six years. Governor Bentley says he will include another pay raise in his budget this year. House Minority Leader Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, is calling for a 6 percent raise. Bentley says that won’t be possible because of budget constraints. When it comes to budgeting, both Bentley and Ford have the luxury of floating spending proposals without the pressure of executing them. Legislative Republicans will ultimately craft the state’s budgets, and the budget chairmen seem uncertain right now on whether the state will have enough money to hand out any raises. Tight budgets are squeezed further this year due to skyrocketing healthcare costs brought on by ObamaCare. Democrats love this issue politically because it gives them an opportunity to paint Republicans trying to balance the budget as anti-education.


Related: ObamaCare could keep teachers from getting a raise

Modernizing Economic Incentives

The most significant legislation related to jobs this session could end up being a proposal to overhaul the way Alabama offers economic incentives to major industries considering locating in the state. Although landing Airbus was a major coup, economic developers have privately expressed frustration with the way the state currently has to structure its incentive packages. Numerous sources have told Yellowhammer that legislation is quietly being worked on to put Alabama on a level playing field with other states.

Asphalt vs. Concrete

A little known issue that’s been bubbling below the surface since last year is a so-called lifecycle budgeting bill being pushed by out-of-state — and some out-of-country — concrete companies. Opponents of the bill say it’s a government mandate that picks winners and losers in the pavement industry and flies in the face of free market principles. Proponents say it’s a way to save the state money over the long haul. One thing that’s indisputable though is that there are no concrete companies in Alabama, while numerous asphalt companies located in the state would take a hit. Both sides are bringing the big guns into the fight. Former Gov. Bob Riley and his lobbying outfit are representing the cement industry. They are pitted against the asphalt industry’s lobbying firm of Swatek, Azbell, Howe & Ross, which includes longtime Riley adviser Dax Swatek. This is set up to be one of the more interesting behind-the-scenes battles of the session.

Calls for Medicaid Expansion Fall on Deaf Ears

Democrats have indicated that they will continue their push for the state to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare. Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, said it will be her caucus’s top priority. The PR campaign will continue over the next 6 months, but insiders say expansion advocates are simply holding out hope that Gov. Bentley will reconsidering his opposition to the expansion after he wins re-election. The Governor has ratcheted up his rhetoric against the expansion in recent months, especially after leftwing public officials and members of the media started attacking him. It’s hard to imagine him changing directions at this point.

Revolving Door Comes to a Stop

In response to numerous legislators leaving office mid-term to take jobs as lobbyists, Sen. Del Marsh is sponsoring a bill to close the “revolving door” between elected office and the governmental affairs world. “The Revolving Door Act” bans former legislators from lobbying either house of the legislature for two years after leaving office. House Republicans have also included the bill in their legislative agenda. It’s being sponsored on the House side by Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton,

$$$$$

Finally, the top issue this session — as it should be every session — is the state’s budgets.

The state is constitutionally required this year to pay back the rest of the money owed to the state’s Rainy Day Fund out of the education budget. It’s too early to tell what that amount will be because we don’t yet know how much money the state will bring in this year, but it could be as much as $128 million. That, combined with the spike in state employees’ healthcare costs brought on by ObamaCare, means the education budget will be as tight as ever.

The General Fund budget is unfortunately in even worse shape. The rising costs of Medicaid are swallowing a greater chunk of the General Fund each year. After level-funding most agencies last year, it’s very likely that some will receive a cut in this year’s budget.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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4 years ago

Rep. says Alabama House GOP’s 2014 agenda ‘focuses on taxpayer relief’

Alabama House of Representatives
Alabama House of Representatives

Alabama’s 2014 legislative session begins next week. Most insiders are predicting a fairly noncontroversial session. Legislators are anxious to avoid contentious issues in an election year and would like to get back to their districts as soon as possible.

House Republicans last year plowed through their aptly named “We Dare Defend Our Rights” agenda, which included several hot button issues like the Alabama Accountability Act (school choice), the Women’s Health and Safety Act (pro-life), The Religious Liberty Act (anti-ObamaCare), and the Alabama Firearms Protection Amendment (pro-2nd Amendment).

The tone is decidedly less confrontational this year.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard and his GOP caucus in early December rolled out their “Commonsense Conservative” agenda for the 2014 session. House Majority Leader Micky Hammon declared 2014 the “year of taxpayer relief” in Alabama. Six of the nine bills on the agenda deal with reducing the tax burden for Alabamians in one way or another.

Rep. Randy Davis, R-Daphne
Rep. Randy Davis, R-Daphne

Yellowhammer caught up with Rep. Randy Davis, R-Daphne, who headed up the GOP’s platform committee that crafted the agenda, to hear how the final product came together.

“We had three different days of roundtable discussions with legislators from around the state,” Davis said. “We’ve made a significant effort to transform state government since we took over the majority in 2010. We passed unprecedented school choice legislation. We’ve kept the state out of proration and made the government live within its means through the Rolling Reserve Act. There are a lot of bills I could point to. But when we started looking ahead to 2014, we wanted to keep the focus on addressing the needs of the state in commonsense, conservative ways. Naming it the ‘Commonsense Conservative Agenda’ was a perfect fit.”

While a lot of the focus in recent months has been on recruiting major industries to the state — efforts that Davis said have been extremely fruitful — Republicans in the House decided they wanted to specifically dial in on small, hometown businesses during the 2014 session.


RELATED: House Republicans: 2014 will be year of ‘taxpayer relief’ in Alabama

“We started brainstorming on what we could do to help mom and pop shops, family owned businesses, small businesses that are in our communities,” Davis recalled. “Every legislator has these folks in their community. We felt it was important to roll back government red tape and simplify reporting to revenue systems, give them tax breaks, and ultimately free up these small business to grow and have a greater impact on our local communities than they already do.”

With that in mind, House Republicans added the Small Business Tax Relief Act and Business Tax Streamlining Act to their agenda.

The Small Business Tax Relief Act is being sponsored by Rep. Barry Moore of Enterprise.

“Currently, businesses are required to pay in advance if their average monthly estimated sales tax payment is more than $1,000,” Moore explained when Republicans rolled out the agenda. “The Small Business Tax Relief Act will raise the threshold for making these payments from $1,000 to $2,500 per month. This could provide approximately 6,000 Alabama small business owners with an immediate, one-time tax cut of up to $2,500 and will inject approximately $4.6 million into the Alabama economy. With ObamaCare raising everyone’s healthcare costs and the federal government trying to regulate us to death, our small businesses need all the relief we can give them.”

The Business Tax Streamlining Act is being sponsored by Greg Wren of Montgomery. It seeks to simplify the process for filing business personal property taxes by creating a new online tax filing system that Republicans say will be a “one-stop-shop” for filing these taxes. It will also “allow businesses claiming $10,000 or less in business personal property tax to file a short form that does not require them to itemize their property.”

Alabama House Republicans announcing their 2014 legislative agenda
Alabama House Republicans announcing their 2014 legislative agenda

“A tremendous group of freshmen were elected in 2010 — Barry Moore, Ken Johnson, Jim Patterson, Mike Jones, Paul Lee, Becky Nordgren, Wayne Johnson, so many others — I can’t say enough good things about them,” Davis said. “The ones I just mentioned are carrying bills that are included in the agenda. Of the nine bills, seven of them are being carried by freshman. That says a lot about the respect they’ve earned in their short time here.”

In addition to the freshmen who are carrying bills, first-term representatives Ed Henry, Paul Lee and April Weaver joined Davis and House Rules Chairman Mac McCutcheon on the platform committee tasked with executing the process of putting together the agenda.

Davis said they discussed ideas with the House committee chairmen, then the whole caucus spent a half-day going through it all. The nine bill package went on to be unanimously approved by the House caucus.

One issue missing from the agenda that will likely make an otherwise placid session a bit more contentious is Common Core. Grassroots conservative groups have made the national education standards their top issue over the last year. Tea party groups have consistently called on the legislature to overrule the state school board and repeal them.

Davis said there are Republicans inside their caucus on both sides of the issue, which would make it difficult to find a consensus on including it in the agenda.

“It’s been back and forth,” Davis said. “We’ve worked closely with the state superintendent on a lot of education issues, but the bottom line is, there’s already an elected board in place that makes those policy decisions, that provides leadership there. It’s a tough issue and I know people on both sides are really passionate about it.”

“We’re proud of our agenda and we really looked to craft bills that could have an impact on communities all across the state,” Davis concluded. “We’ve got some legislation that’s going to really help the taxpayers. This is a year to focus on taxpayer relief and on small businesses to make their life easier.”


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
5 years ago

Top 7 most conservative Alabama legislators

Alabama State House
Alabama State House

1. Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise

Rep. Barry Moore
Rep. Barry Moore

Freshman representative Barry Moore is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. He’s a founder or investor in multiple successful businesses, most notably Barry Moore Industries, a commercial waste management company based in Enterprise. Every vote he casts in the legislature is informed by his extensive private sector experience.

If it’s about smaller government, lower taxes, less spending or decreased government regulation, Moore’s going to be with you 100 percent of the time.

With Ft. Rucker located in his district, Moore has also been a leading advocate for military families. He shepherded a bill that made it easier for active duty military personnel to get in-state tuition, and a similar bill making it easier for military spouses to get business licenses. He also sponsored a bill that would’ve reduced unemployment benefits for certain persons receiving pension payments.

The vote that most illustrates Moore’s rock-ribbed conservatism occurred during the 2011 session. A bill to extend unemployment benefits was passed overwhelmingly in the House by a vote of 94-1. The one “no” vote? Barry Moore.

In a state house packed full of Republicans, Moore is the most dependable conservative vote in the Alabama legislature.

2. Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle

Rep. Ed Henry
Rep. Ed Henry

Known among his colleagues for his sense of humor and willingness to say — and tweet — exactly what’s on his mind, Rep. Henry really hit his stride as a legislator during the 2013 session.

He was the lead House sponsor on the Omnibus Gun Bill, giving Alabama what proponents of the bill called “the strongest Second Amendment protections in the country.” The gun bill was one of the most contentious pieces of legislation during the 2013 session. When negotiations got heated between staunch Second Amendment advocates, business interests, law enforcement personnel and other stakeholders, Henry was a steady, constitutional-conservative champion, balancing Second Amendment and Fifth Amendment concerns in an effort to build consensus.

Over the last few sessions, Henry sponsored the “Tim Tebow Act,” a bill that would allow homeschooled students equal access to sports and extracurricular activities; a “loser pays” bill to discourage frivolous lawsuits; and numerous pro-life bills.

If you’re a conservative, you want Henry in the room working for you.

3. Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Daphne

Senate Education Budget Chairman Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, speaking at the Business Council of Alabama April 9, 2013
Sen. Trip Pittman

Pittman’s libertarian streak is a little unnerving to his senate colleagues sometimes, but if the preservation of the free market is a big deal for you, Pittman’s your guy. He was even a member of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign team in Alabama.

His top duty in the senate is overseeing the biggest pot of money in state government — the education budget.

The budget has not experienced proration since Pittman took over at the helm.

When he’s not mixing it up on the seventh floor of the state house, Pittman runs Pittman Tractor Company, an Authorized Hyundai Dealer selling and repairing heavy equipments all over south Alabama.

A small business owner who fiercely defends the free market. That’s music to conservatives’ ears.

4. Sen. Phil Williams, R-Gadsden

Alabama State Senator Phil Williams Yellow Hammer Politics
Sen. Phil Williams

Williams is a hard-charging conservative bulldog, a trait that likely comes from his quarter century of military service that included multiple tours overseas — one each in Iraq and Afghanistan. Earlier this month, LTC Williams took over command of the 4th Alabama Army National Guard.

In the legislature, Williams has pushed bills on a wide range of conservative issues.

He led the floor debate and ultimately helped win the repeal of the legislative pay raise Democrats gave themselves in 2007. He’s sponsored and supported numerous pro-life bills, including twice carrying the Personhood bill, which declares that life begins at conception. In recent sessions he’s been the lead sponsor on numerous proposals aimed at streamlining and downsizing state government.

Prior to his current private sector gig as an attorney with his own firm, Williams & Associates, LLC, Williams was in full-time ministry for seven years with the international youth outreach organization YoungLife.

5. Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale

Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale
Sen. Scott Beason

Never one to shy away from a fight, Tea Party favorite Scott Beason has been in the middle of just about every controversial bill the Alabama legislature has taken up in recent years.

Want to pass the country’s toughest immigration law? Beason will be the lead sponsor. Want to expand and protect gun rights? Beason’s your guy. Want to repeal Common Core? Beason’s leading the charge.

There are a lot of legislators who could be on this list based on their conservative voting record. Beason’s on here because he’s not just going to vote for it, he’s going to sponsor it, stump for it, yell at the press about it and push his colleagues to support it until it’s finally done.

6. Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Arab

Sen. Clay Scofield
Sen. Clay Scofield

Scofield is the senate’s tort reform champion. He’s led the charge against frivolous lawsuits as part of the GOP’s efforts to make Alabama the most business-friendly state in the country. He’s a guaranteed “yes” vote on any piece of conservative legislation, and a “no” vote on anything that strays from his conservative, down-home roots.

Scofield is also one of Alabama’s most socially conservative legislators. He has sponsored and supported numerous pieces of pro-life legislation since he was elected just three short years ago.

7. Rep. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville

Rep. Kurt Wallace
Rep. Kurt Wallace

Wallace describes himself in his bio as a “Conservative Christian who will fearlessly defend my God, country, and family against all who would do them harm.”

He’s is a staunch defender of Alabama’s right-to-work status. His very first bill in the legislature paved the way to make it more difficult for employee unions to organize using intimidation. It was past as part of Republicans’ “Handshake with Alabama,” a series of bills delivering on GOP campaign promises after the 2010 elections.

He’s earned a reputation around the state house as a calm operator who stands on principle, even when it’s not politically correct or socially convenient.


Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

1
5 years ago

Stand your ground laws under attack nationally as a result of Zimmerman verdict

Although Florida’s “stand your ground” self-defense law was a total non-factor in the George Zimmerman trial, similar laws around the country have now become targets for individuals who are unhappy with the verdict in that case.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder even told the NAACP last week that he believes stand your ground laws “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.”

But public opinion does not currently appear to be on Holder’s side.

According to a Rassmussen survey released today, Americans tend to favor stand your ground laws, although roughly half of those surveyed were not sure if their state already has such a law in place and were unsure whether or not such a law is good for public safety.

According to the survey, forty-five percent (45%) of Americans favor having a stand your ground law in their state while thirty-two percent (32%) are opposed to such a law. Twenty-two percent (22%) are undecided, leaving a good bit of room for both sides to win over a sizable chunk of the population.

Over half the states, including Alabama, have adopted some form of the Castle Doctrine, which says that a person is not obligated to retreat when their home is being attacked. Alabama and other states have gone a step further and removed the duty to retreat from other lawfully occupied locations.

As Yellowhammer reported earlier this month, Alabama’s stand your ground law has recently been a key component in several high profile cases around the state.

“I’m glad we have the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws,” Alabama State Representative Barry Moore, one of the legislature’s most vocal gun rights advocates, told Yellowhammer when interviewed for our previous story on Alabama’s law. “Alabamians should always be able to defend themselves legally. Since taking control of the legislature in 2010, the Republican majority has made sure Alabama has the strongest Second Amendment protections in the country.”

The effect stand your ground laws have on crime rates has been a hotly discussed topic among the research commnunity in recent years. The latest University of Chicago Press publication of “More Guns, Less Crime” stated that adoption of the Castle Doctrine reduced murder rates by 9 percent and overall violent crime by 11 percent.

On the flip side, a Texas A&M economics professors found that Stand Your Ground laws increased the homicide rate while only being a minor deterrent to crime. However, this study used data that did not stipulate whether or not a homicide was “justified” as a result of self-defense.

With a staunchly conservative legislature and governor in Alabama, our state’s stand your ground laws are in no danger of being weakened any time soon.

But what do you think? Do stand your ground laws make people more or less safe?

Other Rasmussen polls today show that 61% expect health care in the U.S. to get worse over the next two years, 47% approve of Obama’s job performance and only 19% of Americans rate the economy as good or excellent. Rasmussen’s stand your ground laws poll surveyed 1,000 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.


Related:
1. Alabama stand your ground laws remain in spotlight

What else is going on?
1. Shelby advocates for Huntsville-based space program, asks for more accountability
2. Bentley picks up Forestry Association endorsement
3. Power points, prayer controversy & protestors: just another day at the PSC
4. The Byrne Identity: The front-runner with the target on his back
5. Enviro representative: It is ‘batsh** crazy’ to pray at public meetings

1
5 years ago

Alabama 'Stand your ground' law remains in spotlight

Mickey Jordan of Enterprise was found not guilty Friday on felony charges of shooting into an occupied vehicle because the jury found that he was standing his ground in self defense.

Jordan was alleged to have shot a .270-caliber rifle into a vehicle occupied by his then-19-year-old nephew who was attempting to remove a piece of equipment from Jordan’s property.

According to Jordan’s attorney, Jason Brogden, the nephew was confronted but refused to leave the property, opting instead to drive “doughnuts” in Jordan’s yard at roughly 20 mph only a few feet away from Jordan and his 14-year-old son.

Jordan retrieved a rifle and shot in the direction of the vehicle and called the authorities. However, Jordan was ultimately the one who was arrested and charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle, a felony.

Brogden told the Dothan Eagle that Alabama’s “Stand Your Ground Law” was key in the case.

“As long as you have a legal right to be there, you are allowed to stand your ground and you are not required to retreat,” Brogden said.

21 states total have passed what is commonly known as the “Castle Doctrine,” which was derived from the historic English common law principle that “an Englishman’s home is his castle.” Alabama and eight other states have taken the Castle Doctrine a step further with “Stand Your Ground” laws, which state that a person is not obligated to attempt to retreat first before using force in self defense.

“We believe this verdict sends a message… that citizens of this state will not put up with trespassers and would-be thieves coming onto your property and trying to run you over,” Brogden told the Eagle. “This case assures us we are justified to respond with deadly force, and won’t be branded a felon for standing your ground.”

Alabama’s Stand Your Ground law has been in the the spotlight several times recently.

An Autaga man was found not guilty of murder in May because he was found to have been acting in self defense. Also in May, the Stand Your Ground law was a factor in deliberations about a Mobile murder case.

Alabama’s statute is identical to the Florida law that has gotten so much attention as a result of the George Zimmerman case, which is currently being tried in Florida court. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder after shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman’s defense leans heavily on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

Back in Enterprise, the area’s State Representative, Barry Moore, said he likes the fact that Alabama has strong Second Amendment protections.

“I’m glad we have the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws,” Moore told Yellowhammer. “Alabamians should always be able to defend themselves legally. Since taking control of the legislature in 2010, the Republican majority has made sure Alabama has the strongest Second Amendment protections in the country.”


What else is going on?
1. Secretary of State Beth Chapman resigning
2. House Republicans push for ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy
3. EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with Lt. Gov. Ivey, who just announced her re-election bid
4. Brooks, Roby and Rogers vow to fight ‘Gang of 8’ bill in the House
5. Immigration bill passes, Senate gallery chants “YES WE CAN!”

1
5 years ago

Hubbard Announces Committee Appointments for 2013 Legislative Session

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard Yellow Hammer Politics
House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn)
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard today announced a slate of new committee chairman and vice chairman appointments that will begin during the 2013 Regular Legislative Session, which is scheduled to convene on February 5.

Most notable about the assignments is that several freshmen House members have been named to important leadership positions on key committees.

“I am confident that this group of legislators will help lead our fight to protect the rights and values that Alabamians hold dear,” Hubbard said. “The backgrounds, the talents, and the conservative ideologies of each of these individuals has made them uniquely qualified to fill these posts, and I look forward to working with them in this session, and for many more to come.”

Here are the Freshmen who were appointed to be a committee chairman or vice chairman:


Representative Lynn Greer, a lawmaker who retired for a term before returning to the House with the 2010 freshman class, will replace Rep. Mac McCutcheon as Chairman of the Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure committee. McCutcheon was recently tapped as Rules Committee Chairman.

“This committee is invaluable in its work to address issues critical to Alabama. Whether it be working with the Department of Transportation to build or repair roads or making other key infrastructure decisions that are vital to our economic development, Rep. Greer is a highly respected member and I have no doubt that he will be up to the challenge of the tough choices this committee requires,” Hubbard said. “Chairman Greer leads by example and will be a strong advocate for the conservative policies, principles and reforms that our Caucus supports.”

Representative Allen Farley, a former Assistant Jefferson County Sheriff and graduate of the FBI National Academy, will serve as Vice Chairman of Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

“Rep. Farley has already shown tremendous leadership among his peers in his short time in the House,” Hubbard said. “Combined with a 36-year career in law enforcement, Allen is the perfect choice for this position.”

Representative Barry Moore will serve as Vice Chairman of the Commerce and Small Business Committee.

“Representative Moore’s experience as a small business owner gives him the perspective and know-how needed to serve in this leadership role on the Commerce Committee,” said Hubbard.

Moore was also named one of Yellowhammer’s 2012 “Legislators to Watch.”

Representative Bill Roberts has been named Vice Chairman of the Committee on Boards, Agencies and Commissions.

“Rep. Roberts is a true public servant, and his diverse service in both the private and public sectors makes him an obvious choice for this position,” Hubbard said.

Click HERE for a full printable list of committee appointments for the 2013 legislative sessions.

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6 years ago

Speaker's Commission Meets in Shelby County


[Speaker’s Commission members from left: (not pictured – Lynn Robinson), Rep. Ed Henry, Rep. April Weaver, Cliff Sims, Rep. Micky Hammon, John Killian, Rep. Kurt Wallace, Rep. Barry Moore]

Speaker Hubbard’s Commission on Alabama Values and States’ Rights held it’s second forum last night in Shelby County [See notes from the Decatur meeting HERE]. Leaders from numerous conservative organizations came out to talk about issues that are important to them and their members. A few of the organizations represented were the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, Rainy Day Patriots, Alabama Eagle Forum, Alabama Citizens For Life, Shelby County Republican Party, and the Alabama Policy Institute — among others.

House Majority Leader Micky Hammon chaired the meeting and facilitated the discussion that lasted well over two hours and covered a broad range of policy issues. Some of the topics put forth for discussion by the citizen leaders in attendance included:

Predatory lending practices of pay day loan companies
Common Core Standards
Forever Wild
Budget reform
Public pension reform
Various pro-life issues
School choice
Medicaid reform
Prison reform
Requiring disclosures by state agency lobbyists
Taxpayer bill or rights
Healthcare exchanges and the healthcare compact

The Commission is planning to hold a few more meetings around the state, compile the input, and present some recommendations to Speaker Hubbard and the House Republican Caucus as they formulate their legislative agenda for the 2013 session. I believe the agenda will ultimately be made stronger by the feedback the Commission is getting directly from people all across Alabama.

We’re also pleased to be accepting online input from people across the state.

The Commission launched a website that allows you to send your ideas directly to us online — so you can participate even if the Commission doesn’t make it to your city. If you have a few minutes, visit ALValuesAndRights.com and leave your thoughts. The website also allows you to select from a list the three conservative policy areas that are most important to you. That way you can contribute even if you don’t want to get too into the weeds on specific legislative ideas.

Below is a chart that gives a snapshot of the general feedback we’ve received online so far from thousands of Alabamians. I hope you will add your voice to the debate. Together we can continue bringing conservative reforms to our state.


Lynn Robinson

On a quick side note, last night was Speaker’s Commission member Lynn Robinson’s birthday. She drove a couple of hours down from Addison to spend the evening serving on the Commission. Thank you, Lynn, for your sacrifice!

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6 years ago

Hubbard Appoints Commission on the Protection of Alabama Values & States Rights

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard

I was honored several weeks ago when Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard asked me to serve on his new Commission on the Protection of Alabama Values & States Rights. The Speaker told me his goal was to engage with conservatives all across Alabama to find out what issues are important to us — to give us a seat at the table in helping shape the agenda for the 2013 legislative session.

The vast majority of Alabamians are growing more and more concerned with the federal government’s increased intrusion into our lives — not to mention our pocket books. Whether it’s the Obamacare mandate, or the President’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or his Justice Department’s incessant challenges to state voter-ID and immigration laws — it’s obvious that the states rights component of the Speaker’s Commission could not come at a better time.

President Obama is also clearly out of step with the values of the majority of Alabamians. Pastor Rick Warren tweeted this in opposition to the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate:

…and Alabama Democrats have blocked pro-life legislation from passing for decades. I appreciate Speaker Hubbard’s commitment to Alabama values and he assured the members of the Commission in our first meeting that pro-life legislation will be a priority in the coming session.

The Commission is currently working on ways to engage with conservatives across the state, compile your input, and present our recommendations to the Speaker later this year. In the mean time, I’d love to hear what issues are important to you. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email here.


Press Release
From the Office of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard

SPEAKER’S COMMISSION ON THE PROTECTION OF ALABAMA VALUES & STATES RIGHTS HOLDS ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING IN MONTGOMERY

The Speaker’s Commission on the Protection of Alabama Values & States Rights, a new study panel created by House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R – Auburn) and charged with ensuring that conservative social issues and 10th Amendment safeguards are given prominent attention during the upcoming 2013 legislative session, held its initial meeting this week with members from around the state gathering in Montgomery.

“It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the national news that the individual rights of Alabamians are under attack from an ever-expanding and encroaching federal government, committed liberal activists, and entrenched special interests fighting to preserve the dysfunctional status quo,” Hubbard said. “I have asked this commission to search for ways the Legislature can help preserve the 10th Amendment rights guaranteed to Alabama by the U.S. Constitution while, at the same time, suggesting bills and other measures that will repel the federal assault on our citizens’ freedoms and liberties.”

Hubbard said the panel will seek input from conservative activists, Constitutional authorities and other experts on matters including, but not limited to, taxpayer rights, religious liberties, pro-life initiatives, Second Amendment protections, and Obamacare.

The appointed members of the Speaker’s Commission on the Protection of Alabama Values & States Rights are:

Rev. John Killian Sr. of Birmingham, Alabama
Lynn Mitchell Robinson of Addison, Alabama
Cliff Sims of Homewood, Alabama
Representative Ed Henry of Hartselle, Alabama
Representative April Weaver of Brierfield, Alabama
Representative Barry Moore of Enterprise, Alabama
Representative Kurt Wallace of Maplesville, Alabama
House Majority Leader Micky Hammon of Decatur, Alabama

Additional meetings will be held in the coming months as the commission works to present its final report to Hubbard prior to the commencement of the 2013 regular legislative session.

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6 years ago

House Passes Bill Creating Small Business Financing Authority

Alabama Representative Barry Moore Yellowhammer Politics
Rep. Barry Moore at the mic during House debate on HB 600

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama House of Representatives today took action to improve access to capital for small companies, passing a bill to create the Alabama Small Business Financing Authority.

The Alabama Small Business Financing Act, House Bill 600 sponsored by Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), would set up an independent entity to assist companies with a variety of credit needs, operating under the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, or ADECA. Rep. Moore said the bill allows the state to strengthen and streamline ADECA’s existing business loan and grant programs, and allows for further state investment in the future.

“As a small businessman myself, I understand how difficult it is to finance a new venture or fund an expansion,” Rep. Moore said. “Loans are increasingly difficult to come by, even for good candidates with solid business plans. Many small businesses want to grow and create more jobs, but the recession and new federal banking laws have dried up the loan market. We can’t fix what Congress did with Dodd-Frank, and we can’t undo the banking debacle that happened on Wall Street. However, we can work as a state to make it easier for businesses to secure the capital they need to grow and create jobs.”

Others states have seen tremendous success with small business financing authorities. Virginia’s authority has helped facilitate more than $1.5 billion in financing for thousands of new and existing businesses, creating and retaining more than 24,000 jobs. Their program has seen 30-1 private-public funding ratio, and in the first year of operation returned approximately $5.89 in new state revenue for every $1 invested.

Establishing a small business financing authority was a key recommendation of the Speaker’s Commission on Job Creation after its efforts last year seeking ideas on boosting private sector job growth. House Speaker Mike Hubbard thanked Rep. Moore for working with the Speaker’s Office and ADECA to make this legislation a reality.

“Job creation has been and continues to be our top priority this session,” Speaker Hubbard said. “One of the top inhibitors to small business growth is access to capital. Assisting viable companies attain loans is a real-world way to promote job growth. Rep. Barry Moore has worked diligently on this legislation for almost a year. I appreciate his efforts on this bill, as well as his continued dedication toward looking out for the interests of small businesses.”

In August, Alabama was awarded a $31.3 million grant through the U.S. Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative to promote small business lending through three programs: the Alabama Capital Access Program, the Alabama Loan Guaranty Program, and the Alabama Loan Participation Program, all administered within ADECA. The Alabama Small Business Financing Act would codify the current SSBCI programs into law under the Alabama Small Business Financing Authority, an independent entity operating under the authority of ADECA.

Codifying the programs will strengthen and protect them from major administrative changes in the future, ensuring more consistency and less politics in the process. It also gives the programs the legal authority to modify the specific rates and terms of the programs to ensure that bank participation remains strong.

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