23 Jan 2015
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Just as the public learns that Speaker Mike Hubbard has requested all communications between the prosecution and the Executive Branch of government, it has been confirmed that Hubbard has directly lobbied Gov. Robert Bentley to intervene into his criminal investigation.
We can now report that Hubbard met with Gov. Bentley with the express goal of having him stop the investigation by exercising the Governor’s right as recognized under the "Task Force on Illegal Gambling v. E. Paul Jones" ruling. In essence, the ruling states that the Governor has the authority to step-in on the prosecution, if he believes the Attorney General is not handling a case correctly.
The case states if, “The Governor has determined that action on his part is necessary to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. If the governor's ‘supreme executive power’ means anything, it means that when the governor makes a determination that the laws are not being faithfully executed, he can act using the legal means that are at his disposal.”
Others acting on Hubbard’s behalf, tried to influence Bentley to act against acting Attorney General W.Van Davis as well, but to no avail. Attorneys speaking on background said that this type of extra judicial maneuver was unprecedented and potentially illegal.
Now, Hubbard’s attorneys want, “Any and all electronic recordings of any communication between any prosecutor in this case and any member of the Executive or Legislative Branch of State Government that relates in any way, however remotely, to the prosecution of Mr. Hubbard or this case.” Also, they have requested, “Any and all documents reflecting the time (minute, hour, and date) the Attorney General's Office or the Acting Attorney General issued a press release related to this case both pre and post indictment.”
Hubbard’s attorney, J. Mark White, claims that the conversation between prosecutor Matt Hart and radio host Dale Jackson is somehow evidence of misconduct or a Grand Jury leak.
In the motion White states, “During the December 15, 2014, airing of his eponymous news talk show, Dale Jackson ("Jackson") publicly made it known that Assistant Attorney General Miles Matthew Hart ("Hart") had called him and that Jackson had recorded the telephone conversation. In a December 22, 2014 post to his blog, The Attack Machine.com, Jackson states Hart called him for purposes of '[i]ntimidation' and in 'an attempt to influence an election.'”
In his earlier filings, White had asked for any recording between the prosecution and members of the media. It appears that White already knew that Jackson had a recording before it was publicly disclosed.
Jackson has recently come under fire for publicly releasing the contents of a conversation that he agreed was “off the record,” a pledge that is sacrosanct among professionals in the media. Jackson has also been called to answer for an undisclosed business relationship he has with Rep. Ed Henry, while publicly endorsing him for re-election.
White claims that Hart’s actions were inappropriate and amounted to prosecutorial misconduct. Hart has denied these allegations in a formal filing before Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker III.
It is not known why White is requisitioning conversations between the prosecution and the Executive or Legislative Branch. It is, however, a stunning revelation that Hubbard and others would directly solicit Bentley to take a position in a criminal investigation, much less ask him to use his office for such a propose.
23 Jan 2015
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—School choice supporters will gather for a historic march on Montgomery, Wednesday, January 28, to “demand greater school choice in the Yellowhammer State,” according to Sonya DiCarlo, Director of Communications for former Gov. Bob Riley’s Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund (SGO).
The rally for school choice is headlined by Dr. Howard Fuller, head of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), according to the Riley press release.
BAEO is a Washington-based 501(c)3, which according to its website, works “to increase access to high quality education options for Black children by actively supporting transformational education reform initiatives and parental choice policies that empower low-income and working-class Black families.”
They have received millions in funding from a “variety of corporate and philanthropic organizations, including the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation,” according to activistfacts.com.
Dr. Fuller’s organization is a proponent of Common Core Standards according to the organizations website, which states, “BAEO supports the standards and will work to generate greater support of the standards within the Black community. The standards will better equip parents with knowledge about what their child should be learning in certain grades.”
Dr. Fuller is the former Milwaukee school superintendent, a city that has the dubious distinction of having 4 out of its 10 charter schools cited for providing substandard education, according to a resent report published by the Milwaukee Express.
According to the article, “If Republican lawmakers think that charter schools are an effective vehicle to increase student performance while providing public transparency, they should take another look at the city of Milwaukee’s experience with its 10 charter schools.
“Four of these taxpayer-funded schools are doing so poorly, that according to their annual review, a case could be made for shuttering them.”
So, this is the man who will keynote the march to demand more school choice in Alabama.
Other than Riley’s SGO, the event is being promoted by the Alabama Federation for Children which is lead by former Mike Hubbard acolyte Ryan Cantrell. Alabama Federation for Children is a branch of American Federation for Children, which is affiliated with John F. Kirtley, Riley’s partner in the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund.
Kirtley, along with Betsy DeVos, heir to the Amway fortune, will lead the board of the American Federation for Children. Board member William E. Oberndorf, a San Francisco billionaire who has poured big campaign donation into Alabama this last election cycle is also on the board.
In the Riley press release DiCarlo said, “Parents across the State are knocking down our doors to apply for scholarships that will open the doors to educational opportunity. It’s time to celebrate something that has never before been available in the State of Alabama, choice in education.”
However, recent filings show that Riley’s SGO has suffered a down turn in funding with less than $700,000 in donation in this cycle.
Other groups will also participate in the march, including the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) which is an ardent supporter of Common Core.
The event is designed, according DiCarlo, to send “a clear message that leaders in Montgomery must dedicate themselves to protecting and expanding K-12 educational choices for children and families.”
The march and rally will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Montgomery, and attendees will march to the South Lawn of the Alabama Capitol.
23 Jan 2015
By Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield recently addressed the Economic Development Association of Alabama (EDAA) at the group’s winter conference and presented a series of economic development stimulants known as the Accelerate Alabama Jobs Incentives Package.
This package is designed to provide new credits for job creation while reducing the State’s reliance on debt to fund job incentives and is currently scheduled to be presented to the legislature during the upcoming session. The package looks to have the interest of several key members of the legislature. Today, Representative David Standridge (R-Hayden), Chairman of the House Rural Caucus, released the following statement regarding the governor’s proposals:
“A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with the governor’s office regarding the need for incentives to spur economic growth in rural areas. As chairman of the Rural Caucus, I applaud Gov. Bentley and Sec. Canfield’s willingness to include a rural component in their package. While we have not been presented with the specific details of the package, I look forward to reviewing it and working with Gov. Bentley to improve the quality of life in our rural areas and small towns.
"The governor’s proposal to provide tax incentives to businesses that invest in rural areas is a good start toward a concentrated effort to improve the economic stability of Alabama’s rural communities. In the coming days the members of the Rural Caucus will be having an open dialogue about the needs of our rural communities. We plan to bring forward ideas and proposals that will not only help spur economic growth, but will also protect the rural way of life through investments in infrastructure, agriculture, essential services, and education."
The House Rural Caucus is a bipartisan group of legislators dedicated to promoting policy and legislation that improves the quality of life of residents of rural Alabama and small towns. The caucus addresses issues related to infrastructure, agriculture, economic development and essential services, all of which directly affect rural Alabama.
Rep. David Standridge has represented District 34 in the Alabama House of Representatives, which includes parts of Blount and Marshall Counties, since a special election in 2012. He was re-elected in 2014, without opposition, to a full term in the State House. Rep. Standridge, a former law enforcement officer, Blount County Probate Judge and Chairman of the Blount County Commission, is married to Danna, a retired teacher. Rep. Standridge has three children, five grandchildren and lives in Hayden, AL.
23 Jan 2015
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, January 22, tens of thousands of marchers (including many from Alabama) were in Washington DC to protest what they believe is the ongoing slaughter of millions of unborn American children. US Representative Gary Palmer and Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead released statements on the annual March for Life event in Washington DC and the House passage of legislation to make the federal funding of abortions illegal.
Congressman Gary Palmer said in a written statement, “I welcome those who have traveled from Alabama and across the country in this peaceful protest. Today I join the chorus of those who have come to march knowing that the right to life is sacred.”
Also on Thursday the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015” in a mostly partisan 242-179 vote. Three Democrats vote for the legislation and only one Republican voted against it. All six of Alabama's Republican representatives voted for the bill.
ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead said in a written statement, “I thank God that the US House of Representatives has taken a strong stand against federal funding of abortions and I thank Alabama's Republican delegation in Washington for standing on the side of life on behalf of the unborn. It is now incumbent upon Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring this bill up for a vote in the Senate, to ensure our tax dollars are not being used to take the lives of the unborn.”
Rep. Palmer said, “The right to life is fundamental to everything I believe. The Declaration of Independence states that all people have certain unalienable rights, including the right to life. ‘Unalienable’ means that the right is not given to us by government, but is a natural right granted by God. Without life, no other right matters. I am proud to stand with those who believe that the Supreme Court’s tragic 1973 ruling should not go unchallenged.”
This year's March for Life rally marks the 42nd anniversary of the controversial Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which ruled that there was a constitutional right to abortion-on-demand. Since 1973 thousands of peaceful protesters have demonstrated annually in what is the largest pro-life event in the world.
Chairman Armistead said, “Almost every politician I know ends their speeches with 'God Bless America', but how long can we expect His blessing when we are murdering approximately 1.2 million unborn babies each year? If we truly want God's blessing on our country, we need to repent of our sin of taking the lives of these children yet to be born - future Governors, Senators and Presidents - and embrace life for all, born and unborn.”
Rep. Palmer said, “There has been significant progress in the pro-life movement in recent years, but our work is incomplete. In our history, there have been others who have marched for basic human rights in America. They also faced long odds, but they persevered, and ultimately, they prevailed. I am committed to stand for the unborn.”
Chairman Armistead said, “It was 27 years ago this week - January 25, 1988 - that the much-loved Republican President, Ronald Reagan, made this statement in his State of the Union Address about life and federal funding of abortion: 'medical evidence confirms the unborn child is a living human being entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let us unite as a nation and protect the unborn with legislation that would stop all Federal funding for abortion'. Almost three decades have passed since President Reagan spoke out against federal funding of abortion. Now that Republicans control both the House and Senate, it is time to codify Reagan's admonition.”
Rep. Palmer said, “The March for Life is proof that the fervor of good-hearted Americans to protect the unborn has not abated over the years. I am heartened that there are so many people from all over the country who choose to come to Washington to participate in the march, and I applaud their efforts.”
The bill, H.R. 7, bans taxpayer funding for abortion through Obamacare. According to information provided by Chairman Armistead’s office, even though President Obama claims that says abortions are not being funded through Obamacare, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has issued a report which confirms that federal tax dollars are being used to subsidize abortions in 1,036 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act health plans. Some health insurance plans provide abortion coverage and many lower income Americans receive federal subsidies for their health insurance plan, which in some cases provide the controversial abortion coverage.
A defiant President Barack H. Obama has vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Chairman Bill Armistead is to stepping down as Chairman of the Alabama GOP at the end of his term next month.
23 Jan 2015
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, January 22, the Republican controlled US House of Representatives did not vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The House had been expected to pass the Pro-Life legislation to coincide with Thursday’s national March for Life. The House did, however, vote to end taxpayer support for abortion.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) President Carol Tobias said in a written statement, “The House of Representatives did not pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act this week because certain lawmakers who voted for the same language in 2013, and who had promised their pro-life constituents that they would do so again, instead worked to weaken the bill or to prevent it from coming to the floor.”
President Tobias continued, “While we are profoundly disappointed that the vote on the bill was delayed, we much prefer delaying the vote to passing a greatly weakened bill. We thank the House Republican leadership for quickly facilitating passage of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7) which is another National Right to Life legislative priority.” The House passed H.R. 7 today by a vote of 242-179.”
Tobias said, “Pro-life citizens across the nation are sharply disappointed with those lawmakers who violated commitments to constituents and derailed a bill to protect babies in the sixth month and later, a bill with broad popular support. In some cases these actions were apparently dictated mainly by inordinate concern with political correctness and garnering favorable coverage from the mainstream news media. Some of these lawmakers may ultimately conclude that they were ill advised to sacrifice the trust of their pro-life constituents so egregiously.”
The operative text of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) was identical to H.R.1797, which the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed on June 18, 2013, by a vote of 228-196.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36) would extend general protection from abortion to unborn children nationwide beginning at 20 weeks fetal age, based on congressional recognition that by this point in development, if not earlier, the unborn child is capable of experiencing pain. H.R. 36 is sponsored by US Representatives Trent Franks (R-Arizona) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and is based on model legislation developed by National Right to Life that has already been enacted in 10 states, including Alabama.
The problem that tripped up the legislation is a rape exception in the bill, but the rape must have been reported to legal authorities. Despite running on a Pro-Life platform, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-North Carolina) withdrew her co-sponsorship of the bill over new objections to the definition of rape in the legislation. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana) also withdrew her co-sponsorship.
Ellmers was pressuring Republican female lawmakers to omit the requirement of reporting the rape in order to get an exception. The National Right to Life Committee said in a statement: “20 weeks is 5 months time to obtain an abortion without any need to report, however after 5 months in order to get an abortion exception, a rape report would have to be filed. This is a HUGE loophole we cannot afford to have in the bill.”
National Right to Life is concerned that widening the rape exemption to include non-reported rapes would be too large of a loop hole and objected to weakening the bill further.
Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) who supports H.R. 36 said on Facebook, “I believe this bill, and other important pro-life legislation, has a good chance of reaching the president's desk. One in particular I am eager to send to him is our bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. Differences within the conference kept us from passing it this week, but I'm confident we can get it done soon.”
In the US Senate, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) plans to introduce the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act very soon.