By Deborah Love, Executive Director, Eagle Forum of Alabama and Shanna Chamblee, Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, Alabama Gun Rights Inc.
The events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have left students, parents and an entire nation in agony. Since the Columbine massacre, our nation has been horribly awakened to a new normal – a world in which these massacres are not all that irregular. Each time one occurs, people are motivated to offer idyllic solutions so that such an incident may not happen again.
Eagle Forum of Alabama opposes the recently introduced resolution HJR23 which pushes a Constitutional Convention as a way to obtain term limits for members of Congress. Term Limits via an Article V Constitutional Convention is a bad idea on multiple counts. We don’t need yet another call for an Article V Constitutional Convention, which according to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger and other Constitutional scholars, cannot be limited to any one issue and could become a Pandora’s Box.
There are many problems with HJR23.
1. We already have ‘term limits’, they are called “elections”, every two, four, and six years. Just because voters are derelict in their duty, does not mean we must change our process.
2. ‘Artificial’ term limits means giving the bureaucracy a LOT more power, in that institutional memory and experience is no longer available.
3. Voters are prohibited from voting for the person they believe is best for that office.
4. In the last term any official serves, without re-election on the horizon, there is no longer the accountability that was once there.
5. Term limits can prevent legislators from gaining the experience they need to become skilled lawmakers.
6. Term limits would give lobbyists more influence. In his presidential farewell address in 1989, President Reagan rightly pointed out that term limits are “a preemption of the people’s right to vote for whomever they want as many times as they want.”
7. Here’s a look at congressional tenure by the numbers: 9.1 Years of average length of service in the United States House of Representatives as of January 2013, according to the Congressional Research Service. Average length of service in the U.S. Senate as of January 2013 is 10.2 years.
The way to effectively reform Congress lies in supporting and voting for candidates who uphold the belief in a stronger local government rather than a stronger national government. Term limits will not achieve the reform that is needed in our federal government because term limits will NOT RESTRAIN the power of our federal government. The solution is for citizens to get involved with the political process at all levels. As Justice Antonin Scalia stated on May 11, 2015: “A Constitutional Convention is a horrible idea. This is not a good century to write a Constitution.”
Opposition to HB277 is about protecting children by protecting some of the best, safest, and most positive child care options for children in Alabama.
If hard working Alabama parents no longer have high quality and low cost options, it harms children. HB277 will hurt poor families that depend on government subsidies to help pay for child care. An unintended consequence of HB277 will be that that many children in rural areas of the state will no longer have any positive child care options.
Eagle Forum of AL also needs to address an advertisement by the Voices organization
released earlier this week on Alabama Public Radio. This commercial falsely claimed that half of the state’s child care facilities are completely unregulated and do not follow even basic safety standards.
Eagle Forum of Alabama along with many other policy organizations in Alabama researched these claims made by Voices. We found them to be untrue. There are at least eleven agencies that regulate all licensed exempt child care providers in Alabama. Basic safety regulations are already required for all of these child care providers. See “Get the Facts on HB277” analysis for more details.
We all believe in protecting children, but Eagle Forum of Alabama finds that this legislation is not properly focused on addressing the real problems at hand. We encourage you to oppose HB277 as more work needs to be done on this legislation.
Eagle Forum of Alabama finds that SB302 and HB487 are bad policy and will not properly address important public policy issues within Alabama’s prisons and infrastructure.
In the last two weeks of the Alabama legislative session, there are two bills that will have profound and lasting effects on the pocketbooks of Alabama taxpayers. The gas tax (HB487), if passed, would be a $300 million tax increase—the largest tax increase in Alabama in modern times. The other (SB302) is the prison bill. We need to address both the prison and infrastructure issues realistically with pay as we go measures that require transparency, accountability, and a vote of the people.
Instead, the legislature is about to be asked to pass (1)The $2.4 billion bond issue for transportation and (2) the now $845 million prison bill. These two measures together equal at least a 50% increase in state indebtedness.
First, on Tuesday a SUBSTITUTE VERSION of Gov. Bentley’s PRISON BILL that increases bonding from $800 million to $845 million is being dropped in committee. It has NOT been posted. See Eagle Forum’s prior analysis here. Does the bill address the immediate need of medical care and mental health care? Are competitive bids required? Will prisons be moved from communities that now depend on them for employment? Does new construction now address overcrowding? Citizens won’t know if objections that stalled Gov. Bentley’s plan have been alleviated until after the committee vote, but it is certain that the cost has been increased, not cut. Therefore, Alabama taxpayers would be saddled with an ultimate cost of well over $1.5 billion over at least 30 years. See prison recommendations here.
Second, the Alabama Legislature is considering the largest tax increase in modern history in the form of a transportation bill that calls for $2.4 billion in highway bonds without a vote of the people. This can accurately be called the largest tax increase on Alabamians in modern history because it amounts to $300 million a year in perpetuity. There is no sunset.
Thankfully, the Speaker of the House has assured the people of Alabama that the gas tax (HB487) would not come back up this session. Please thank Speaker McCutcheon for his commitment and ask him to continue to resist attempts to ram HB487 through. There are sound alternatives being proposed for future action.
Please contact your state representatives to let them know that you do NOT support the gigantic bond issues for prisons or roads. Ask them to look at sound alternatives!
On Tuesday, the House passed HB354 (the Daily Fantasy Sports Bill). “In states that sponsor commercial gambling, all taxpayers-including the non-gamblers– end up paying higher taxes for less services and their states end up with worse budget problems over the long term. Allowing states to sponsor online fantasy sports gambling will deepen these financial problems, forcing the taxpayers who don’t gamble to foot the bill.”
During the lengthy debate, a couple of good amendments presented by Rep. Mike Jones were passed. We are concerned that those amendments, which place greater restrictions on the Daily Fantasy Sports companies may be stripped from the bill in the Senate. When the vote on final passage of the bill was taken, it only passed by a narrow margin of 5 votes. You can click HERE to see how your House member voted.
To understand how dangerous this online gambling bill is (even though proponents argue that it is not gambling), you can click HERE to read what Stop Predatory Gambling has written about this deceptive enterprise. You can also click HERE to watch the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentary, _Frontline_, from 2016 about Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Forty-three minutes into the documentary, the producers interviewed a young man from Auburn, AL, Josh Adams, who lost $20,000 playing DFS. You can also read the New York Times story about Josh Adams by clicking HERE.
Urgent: act ASAP to move Common Core Repeal Bill to Senate Floor
The bill to Repeal and Replace Common Core SB415 (Sen. Harri Anne Smith) passed the Senate Education Committee today with a 4-1 vote. (YES: Sen. Brewbaker, Bussman, McLendon, Pittman. NO: Sen. Figures)
SB415 will replace common core (cc) standards (aka Alabama College and Career Ready Standards) in Math and English Language Arts (including history, social studies, science, & technical subjects) with proven, superior standards based on the best of the best pre-Common Core Standards.
TODAY please contact each member of the Senate Rules Committee (below) and ask them to place SB415 number one on the Senate Special Order Calendar so that the Senate will vote on it! Also contact your senator. Let’s show the Senate that the polls are right: over 70% of Alabamians want common core repealed.
Talking points for your contacts:
What is more basic than educating Alabama students in Math and English? Yet we dropped from 25thand rising in 2011 to dead last in 2015.
Protect all children from “irreversible damage” due to 4 years of CC Math documented by California data under Phil Daro CC Math. Alabama is ending its 4th year now! THIS TRAVESTY MUST STOP. See pre-eminent math standards writer Dr. James Milgram letter.
Experimenting with education in Alabama is failing our students. That failure correlates directly with implementation of common core. What higher priority can there be than to correct this problem?
The Alabama Senate must send a message to the State School Board to fast track replacement of common core standards with what was working in Alabama and nationwide prior to common core.
Alabama being dead last demands drastic, urgent action. Denial won’t fix the demonstrated problem.
The Senate must insist that we repeal common core and replace it with proven,superior traditional standards.
Parents, students and educators deserve better than a regimen imposed upon our children through the ordered Obama administration incentives and regulations.
Please instruct and enable educators in Alabama to restore sound education practices.
Alabama’s economic success and growth demands repeal of common core.