Category: Health Care

Coming Up This Week In The Alabama Legislature

On the Senate side…

In Committee:

SB196–Sen. Paul Bussman’s Shared Parenting bill:  Changes the custodial presumption in child custody cases from 80%/20% to 50%/50%

HB58–Rep. Mike Ball’s Ethics Disclosure Requirements:  Requires public officials/candidates and spouses of public officials/candidates to disclose if they are employed by the state or federal government or have a contract with the state or federal government.

HB64–Rep. Kurt Wallace’s Secret Ballot Protection Act:  Constitutional amendment protecting the right to a secret ballot in employee representation.

SB46–Sen. Cam Ward’s Health Care Rights of Conscience Act:  This legislation will provide a conscience exception for health care providers and pharmacists who believe in the sanctity of life and choose not to perform procedures or provide medication that do not comply with that belief.

SB310–Sen. Trip Pittman’s Teacher Tenure Law and Fair Dismissal Act:  Reforms the state’s tenure system for teachers in order to improve the quality of education in Alabama.

On the floor:

SB301–Rep. Phil Williams’ pro-life legislation:  Redefines person to include all humans from the moment of fertilization.

SB172–Sen. Del Marsh’s legislation to prohibit the use of gas chambers when euthanizing cats or dogs.

SB112–Sen. Arthur Orr’s legislation to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution of 1901.

SB256–Sen. Scott Beason’s Immigration Reform Legislation–reforming the state immigration laws to provide for enforcement of federal immigration laws.

On the House side…

In Committee:

HB98–Rep. Kerry Rich and Rep. Wayne Johnson’s legislation to impose term limits on legislators in Alabama:  Limits to three consecutive full terms in the House and/or Senate.

HB206–Rep. Jack Williams’ legislation to increase the distance campaign materials and candidates can be to a polling location to 300 ft.

HB427–Rep. Paul DeMarco’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights:  This legislation will, among other things, amend the Alabama Taxpayer Bill of Rights to conform to the federal Taxpayer Bill of Rights including certain aspects like an “innocent spouse” defense.  It will also increase the time period in which a taxpayer has to file an appeal of a preliminary or final assessment.

HB193–Rep. Mike Jones’ legislation to prohibit lawsuits against restaurants for obesity or weight gain.

On the floor:

HB123–Rep. Jay Love: Education Budget for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012

Alabama House Passes EF Agenda Items

Yesterday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed two important items on Eagle Form’s legislative agenda.  The first was a tough, Arizona-style immigration law by a vote of 73-28.  Among other things, Rep. Micky Hammon’s HB56 will give state and local police the power to check the immigration status of people who are held for other violations and require employers to verify the immigration status of their employees.  You can find more about the legislation here.

In addition, legislators finished the last of the promised Handshake with Alabama and completed another item on our agenda yesterday by passing an opt out of the federal health care legislation better known as Obamacare.  HB60 preserves the freedom of Alabama citizens to make decisions about and provide for their own health care regardless of federal mandates.

For a complete list of legislation we support, check out our 2011 Legislative Agenda here.

Coming Up This Week In The Alabama Legislature

On the House side:  The House is set to re-vote on the Obamacare Opt Out legislation.  Several Republicans were absent last Thursday, and it did not pass.  I’m told they have the votes to get it through this week.

On the Senate side:  The Senate may take up Sen. Beason’s immigration reform legislation in committee on Wednesday.

Other items on the regular calendar for this week:

Senate:

  • SB127-Limiting terms in the Alabama House and/or Senate to 3 terms.
  • SB136-Provides for electronic filing of campaign finance reports.
  • SB50-Provides tax credits for businesses that create jobs.
  • SB152-Establishes a 5-year property tax exemption for small businesses that relocate or expand in Alabama.
  • SB111-Prohibits counties and municipalities from collecting occupational tax.

House

  • HB32-Moves the presidential primary from March to June to coincide with state primary elections.
  • HB56-Immigration Reform legislation.
  • HB8-Amends the definition of “child” to include the unborn.
  • HB102-Ban on texting while driving.
  • HB126-Forever Wild reauthorization
  • HB211-Requires the state to provide liability insurance for teachers.

Obamacare Opt Out Fails In Alabama House

The Alabama House of Representatives took up legislation this afternoon that would have preserved the freedom of Alabama citizens to make decisions about and provide for their own health care regardless of federal mandates. Sponsored by Rep. Blaine Galliher, HB60 failed by a vote of 59-28.

8 Republicans voted “P”.  P indicates that they did not vote or were not present.  You can find out if your legislator was one of them by clicking here.  Update:  I’m told several of the Republicans who voted “P” were not present for this scheduled vote.

Another Update:  According to ALISON, Rep. Bill Roberts and Rep. Howard Sanderford intended to vote Yes.

**Rep. Owen Drake is listed as “P” because he was not present for the vote.  He is currently in the hospital in Birmingham.




Calls To House Health Committee Needed

The House Health Committee will meet on Wednesday morning at 9:00am and will consider the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act (HB178).  This legislation gives health care providers, institutions and payers the right to decline to perform services that violate their consciences.  Eagle Forum urges Health Committee members to support this legislation.

House Health Committee

Rep. Jim McClendon (Chair)                                                                         Contact

Rep. Mike Millican (Vice-Chair)                                                                  Contact

Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow (Ranking Minority Member)                       Contact

Rep. Elaine Beech                                                                                              Contact

Rep. Donnie Chesteen                                                                                      Contact

Rep. Berry Forte                                                                                                  Contact

Rep. Laura Hall                                                                                                  Contact

Rep. Ed Henry                                                                                                     Contact

Rep. Ron Johnson                                                                                             Contact

Rep. John Knight                                                                                               Contact

Rep. Paul Lee                                                                                                       Contact

Rep. Becky Nordgren                                                                                         Contact

Rep. James Patterson                                                                                        Contact

Rep. Allen Treadaway                                                                                       Contact

Rep. April Weaver                                                                                               Contact

Second Federal Judge Rules Obamacare is Unconstitutional

You would think the Obama administration might get the message, but they still plan to appeal the decision.  This ruling was particularly significant because more than half of the states were plaintiffs in the matter.

A federal judge in Florida struck down President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul as unconstitutional on Monday in the biggest legal challenge yet to federal authority to enact the law.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the reform law’s so-called individual mandate went too far in requiring that Americans start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty.

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void,” he wrote, “This has been a difficult decision to reach and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications.”

Referring to a key provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Vinson sided with governors and attorneys general from 26 U.S. states, almost all of whom are Republicans, in declaring the Obama healthcare reform unconstitutional.  Read more

What is the Significance of the Health Care Repeal Vote?

Update:  Phyllis Schlafly has also written a good piece on the subject.


Matthew Continetti has a great article in the Weekly Standard explaining the significance of the vote to repeal Obamacare.

Something remarkable happened in Washington last week, and too few people in the media and politics appreciate it. The House of Representatives voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 less than a year after Congress passed it into law. What’s more, the vote for repeal (245-189) was larger than the vote for passage (219-212). We racked our brains trying to figure out the last time a major piece of legislation was repudiated by a chamber of Congress with such speed and decisiveness. The answer is 1989, when Congress repealed the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act it had passed 17 months before, and President George H.W. Bush signed the repeal.  Read More

House Leaders Must Keep Their Promise To Repeal Obamacare

Wednesday, January 19th marks the one-year anniversary of the Special Election in which Scott Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate, largely on the promise that he would cast the 41st vote against ObamaCare. As you recall, Harry Reid broke his promise and broke faith with the American people when he used reconciliation, a procedural tool, to skirt the rules and pass ObamaCare.

Liberals just aren’t getting it!  We need to keep reminding them of the message the people of Massachusetts sent last January 19th and that voters throughout America sent on Election Day last November: We want them to repeal ObamaCare and stop out-of-control government spending.

If passed, H.R. 2, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” would repeal P.L. 111-148, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA) and the crooked “reconciliation” vehicle Harry Reid used to pass it, P.L. 111-152, the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.”

We need to put an end to thousands-of pages-long spending bills.  H.R. 2 is barely three-pages long, consisting mostly of its lengthy list of co-sponsors, and it simply states that ObamaCare is repealed in its entirety.

This is a great opportunity to get to know your Congressman’s staff when you call and urge him or her to vote to Repeal ObamaCare on Wednesday!

Federal Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional

Today Judge Henry E. Hudson ruled that the individual mandate to buy health insurance is unconstitutional, saying that it “exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.”  The suit was brought by VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli who argued that the individual mandate was an unconstitutional expansion of the Commerce Clause.

The White House dismissed the ruling as having little effect on the implementation of Obamacare.  They continue to believe the bill will ultimately be ruled constitutional.  Hudson acknowledged that the final outcome will undoubtedly reside with a higher court, but said, “In this Court’s view, the award of declaratory judgment is sufficient to stay the hand of the executive branch pending appellate review.”

The Virginia suit is one of 15 nationwide against Obamacare, and it is the first to strike down part of the health care reform law.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1210/46310.html#ixzz1814rIhlF

Obamacare, the Commerce Clause, and the U.S. Constitution

Peter Suderman has a good article over at Reason on yesterday’s ruling in the Virginia lawsuit challenging Obamacare.  Essentially, the Court said you don’t actually have to be engaged in commerce for your choices to be regulated under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

As he correctly points out, this analysis is a recipe for out of control government regulation:

The section of the decision dealing with the mandate leans heavily on the Supreme Court’s ruling inGonzales v. Raich, a case in which the Court decided that, under the Commerce Clause, Congress could criminalize growing marijuana at home for personal use because failure to do so would upend a legitimate regulatory activity. Yesterday’s ruling by Judge Norman K. Moon quotes Raich to argue that Congress may regulate “purely intrastate activity that is not itself ‘commercial’…if it concludes that failure to regulate that class of activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate market in that commodity.”

What about the argument that refusing to purchase insurance is not activity, but inactivity, and therefore not within Congressional authority to regulate? Judge Moon didn’t buy that either. Cases in which the Supreme Court has ruled that Commerce Clause does not grant authority to regulate—like the 1990 case in which the Court invalidated a law criminalizing possession of a gun near a school—have dealt with attempts to regulate activities that were not highly commercial in nature or effect. The gun ban was not “an essential part of a larger regulation of economic activity,” and therefore not constitutionally justified.

This is a good example of why we need to pay close attention to all judicial nominees.  Out of control courts do as much damage as bad legislation.  Judicial nominees should be vetted so that their judicial philosophy can be thoroughly evaluated.  It is important to make sure we get strict constructionists on the bench.