|May 13, 2015
To: Governor Robert Bentley
Members, Alabama Senate and House
From: Eunie Smith, Eagle Forum of Alabama
You are in our prayers as you make the hard, limited-government choices that result in the most cost-effective government and the most liberty for our citizens. We wish to share the following four points with you as you wrestle with budget decisions. Explanations follow.
1. It is NOT a foregone conclusion that the Poarch Creek Indians will have any gambling going forward.
The push for a compact is premised on the notion that Indian gambling is here to stay, and therefore we might as well tax it. This is a false premise! It is being used to convince conservative legislators who would otherwise oppose gambling to give up and support a compact!
The Alabama Attorney General has a strong case pending in the federal Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (in Atlanta) that could be decided in a matter of weeks. If the appeal is successful and the Attorney General eventually wins the case, it will undermine the right of the Poarch Creek to conduct any gambling operations in Alabama!
For over five years, the issue of “electronic bingo” has been fought out in case after case in Alabama state courts. It is this form of gambling that has been conducted up until now on both Indian and non-Indian land in Alabama. Just a few months ago, in a case called Houston County Economic Development Ass’n. v. State (November 21, 2014), our Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling that finally settles the matter once and for all: so-called “electronic bingo” is illegal under Alabama law. Only paper bingo is allowed. Now that this ruling is in place, there is good reason to believe that the federal courts will take notice and rule that, since this gambling is illegal under Alabama law on non-Indian land, federal law will not permit it on Indian land either.
In addition, the case brought by the Attorney General also includes a sound argument that the land on which all of the Indian gambling is being conducted in Alabama was not even properly taken “into trust” for the benefit of the Poarch Creek tribe. In a 2009 case called Carcieri v. Salazar, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that only Indian tribes recognized as such by the federal government in 1934 could benefit from land taken into trust for them by the Secretary of Interior. Alabama’s Poarch Creeks were not recognized as a tribe until the 1980’s!
2. We’re not just talking about gambling on Indian Reservations.
If we enter into a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians, non-Indian gambling bosses will never let us hear the end of it. They will keep pushing until they have the same rights. Once we “cross the Rubicon” and become a gambling state, the political pressure from non-Indians to be treated “equally” will be relentless. (The tools available will include massive political contributions to those who favor increased gambling and equally massive contributions to recruit and support opponents for those who oppose increased gambling.)
The result of gambling expansion is NOT more reliable net revenue to the state. However, the costs are reliable: more addictions, more family breakdown, more divorces, increased crime, increased law enforcement and public assistance programs, business and restaurant closings … See http://stoppredatorygambling.org/
3. Gambling Interests will Take Control of Politics in Alabama.
In Mississippi today, whenever a new law is proposed in the legislature, the first question legislators ask is “Where are the casinos on this?” Do we in Alabama really want to turn control of our state politics over to the gambling bosses?
Right now the two biggest donors in Alabama state politics are the Alabama Farmers Federation and the Business Council of Alabama. Of course there are other “players,” but these are the two dominant forces. But if we legalize casinos, the amount of cash generated will easily swamp the combined political resources available to current donor groups. The gross profits from three or more Las Vegas style casino operations could easily exceed $2 million dollars a day. Whether Indian or non-Indian, the gambling money is huge, it is politically minded and it will likely not be chasing after conservative candidates. Gambling money will control Alabama politics. (While there is talk of restricting political participation by casinos, this is only being proposed as to Indian casinos; and, besides, substantial First Amendment questions exist as to whether any such restrictions will be enforceable.)
Make no mistake: Signing a compact with the Indians will usher in a new era in which gambling bosses will control Alabama politics. They will have much more influence than most people realize over who we elect to our courts, as our Governor, and as our representatives in Montgomery and even in Washington.
4. There is Another Way – Un-earmarking and combining the budgets
“The solution to Alabama’s budget ‘crisis’ is so simple it will blow your mind,” according to Yellowhammernews, which explains that there will be a surplus in education trust fund tax revenues this year of $287 million! This is almost exactly the same amount as the projected shortfall of $290 million in this year’s general fund budget! So without one dollar from gambling interests, the State already has enough money to fund essentially the entire deficit! What is required is that we un-earmark all or even just part of the excess money that is now restricted. And much of this money can be un-earmarked simply by an act of the legislature.
Additionally, the legislature can continue to cut out inappropriate expenditures; and it is time to combine our education and general fund budgets. If 47 other state legislatures can manage dollars used for education without a separate budget, so can Alabama. Please consider these options as you move forward.
We are excited to announce that we have a commercial airing now on the Rick and Bubba Show (WZZK), regarding Dr. James Milgram’s warning of the “irreversible harm” that is likely to occur after four years of Common Core Math. Alabama students are currently experiencing their third year. See the text of the ad below, or you may click on the link to hear it (will not play on Explorer). Then contact your Senator and Representative and ask them to support SB101 in the Alabama Senate and HB424 in the Alabama House of Representatives. Visit our “Find Your Legislators” tab here to find and contact yours.
Students in Alabama will soon embark on their 4th year of common core mathematics. Professor James Milgram, a national expert on school math standards, has a warning for Alabama parents. “Alabama friends, you need to be aware that four years of common core math can do students irreversible harm based on our experience in California”. Professor Milgram knows what he’s talking about. He authored the 1997 California Standards proving to be the best math standards in the nation. His advice to us: “Ask your state Senator to support Senate Bill 101 in the Alabama Legislature”. Go now to Alabamaeagle.org. There you can email your state legislator directly. Ask your state Senator to support Senate Bill 101, and repeal common core. “Protect Alabama students from the irreversible damage”. Again, that’s Alabamaeagle.org. Paid for by Eagle Forum of Alabama.
Following is the resolution that was unanimously approved by representatives of the 1.1 million member Alabama Baptist Convention in November 2014 which called for the repeal of the Common Core State Standards in Alabama. Please forward this resolution to your pastor and ask that he share it with his state senator and representative with the request that they stop the miseducation and indoctrination of our children by supporting SB101 to replace common core with sound, superior standards. SB101 has passed the Senate Education Committee and is in the Senate Rules Committee chaired by Sen. Jabo Waggoner. We need it to get to the floor quickly so that the House will have time to act. You may also want to print the resolution yourself to give to your representatives.
Information on how to find your senator and representative is here.
The following documentation appeared on the resolution that was submitted to the Resolutions Committee.
 Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Model for Alabama Public Schools
 http://www.talladegacountygop.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Appendix-24-BCA-Praises-AlaStandards.pdf http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/12/questionable-quality-of-the-common-core-english-language-arts-standards; http://pioneerinstitute.org/download/lowering-the-bar-how-common-core-math-fails-to-prepare-high-school-students-for-stem/
This week we learned of the impending danger for Alabama children if we don’t stop Common Core in THIS legislative session. Stanford Professor James Milgram is the acknowledged national expert on Math standards writing. Based on a huge set of data on the failed 1992 California standards written by the same Phil Daro who was the lead author for the Common Core standards, Dr. Milgram addressed the following question:
“ ‘ How long would it take for a student initially in the Phil Daro 1992 program before its low level and erroneous perspective on mathematics would have produced irreversible damage?’ What the data showed was that if a student had been in the program for four or more years … statistically they never recovered… So you have a situation with the Common Core mathematics standards where you have a limited window and you pretty much know what is going to happen … because the guiding ideas behind it are the exact guiding ideas behind the 1992 CA standards.”
Alabama students are being tested on their THIRD year of Common Core math. Next year – their FOURTH year – will be too late for most Alabama students. They will never recover from the irreversible damage as experienced by California students.
For the full text of Dr. Milgram’s letter, click the link below.
The Senate Education Committee will be voting on Senator Rusty Glover’s SB101, the Alabama Ahead Act, that will repeal Common Core, this Wednesday, April 15th. Please contact the committee members, thank them for hearing us at this past Wednesday’s hearing and ask that they vote FOR SB101. Brewbaker, Chairperson; Ross, Vice Chairperson; Bussman, Figures, Marsh, McClendon, Pittman, Sanders, Shelnutt.
SB101 will re-establish local and state control of education; terminate implementation of the Common Core standards; direct the State Board to replace these standards with the Math and English courses in use immediately prior to Common Core; convene Course of Study committees to update these standards and improve upon them using the pre-common core standards from states whose national scores ranked no less than the top 10%; implement these proven, improved standards and aligned assessments; prohibit imposition on Alabama of other such national standards or assessments that cede control away from Alabamians.
See the short DVD by Utah Mental Health Therapist Joan Landes that stresses the urgency of putting a stop to Common Core. She spoke with some House and Senate members at the Alabama Statehouse last year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJVswWCNk24
You may want to look up her credentials and send it to your representatives.
If we are to stop the distress, the dumbing down, and the indoctrination of all our children through common core; if we are to restore state control over education policy in Alabama; if we are to replace common core with the best of the best standards in the nation that reflect Alabama values, YOU will have to act NOW!!! And ask all your like-minded friends to do the same. We need an avalanche of emails to the legislature.
Sen. Rusty Glover (R) has introduced SB101. It will re-establish local and state control of education; terminate implementation of the Common Core standards; direct the State Board to replace these standards with the Math and English courses in use immediately prior to Common Core; convene Course of Study committees to update these standards and improve upon them using the pre-common core standards from states whose national scores ranked no less than the top 10%; implement these proven, improved standards and aligned assessments; prohibit imposition on Alabama of other such national standards or assessments that cede control away from Alabamians.
1. Call or email these Senators and thank them for co-sponsoring SB101 and let them know if you are their constituent. Glover, Reed, Melson, Allen, Brewbaker, Hightower, Albritton, Bussman, Stutts, Smith, Shelnutt, Sanford. Tell them briefly why your family wants common core replaced.
2. Please email and call your state senator and Sen. Del Marsh and Gov. Bentley and tell them briefly why your family wants common core replaced. Ask them to put SB101 on a fast track!
3. Call or email your House member and Speaker Hubbard. Tell them briefly why you oppose common core. Ask them to replace common core this legislative session.
Alabama’s children will be increasingly stifled, frustrated, and controlled if common core continues. We are on the wrong road and we need to turn around before we become hopelessly lost. We must stand for what works to give our children the tools they need to reach their fullest God-given, self-chosen potential. It is up to you. You can find more contact information for legislators by following this link: http://capwiz.com/state-al/home/; and for the Governor at http://governor.alabama.gov/contact/.
Eunie Smith, President Eagle Forum of Alabama