Category: Regulations

Celebrate Church Day Care in Montgomery and Lobby against HB277 – DHR Control of Church Ministry

Celebrate Church Child Care Week and stand up for our children and religious liberty – this week at the Alabama State House in Montgomery –  Tuesday thru Thursday, April 11-13 beginning with a briefing at 10AM each morning in Room 325.  We must stop HB277.

  • HB277 is an unnecessary and unConstitutional overreach of government into church ministry.
  • It is a violation of the Alabama Religious Freedom Act and the Free Exercise Clause of the US Constitution.
  • It adds nothing to the health and safety of children already in day care run by legitimate churches.
  • The language in the bill could open control by the DHR of other church related ministries.

We have negotiated and presented ideas and language that should have satisfied the proponents of HB277, but they would not compromise in any form. This is about power and federal funding and not about Child Safety or otherwise they would have accepted at least a few of our recommended changes. See http://alabamaeagle.org/2017/04/07/get-the-facts-on-hb277

We cannot over emphasize the importance of the presence of you and your family and friends at the State House this week at least one of the days mentioned; and if you can attend more days, great. We must show our legislators that we are against HB277.  Please give us an estimate of how many you estimate will be in your group.  We will have people at the State House to help direct everyone and will have handouts in Room 325 to give to the House members along with a brief orientation.

PLEASE email or call and tell your representative that you will be in Montgomery at the state house on one of these days and you want to visit with them.  For your House Member call 1-334-242-7600 and the receptionist will connect you to your representative; or for the Senate call
1-334-242-7800 and the receptionist will connect you to your senator.
If he/she is not available ask the secretary to give them a message that you will be traveling to Montgomery to see them for 5 minutes to discuss your opposition to HB277.

Bring as many as you can! Remember, there will be a brief orientation and training. Bring your business cards, daycare pamphlets, or church/ministry information to pass out.

For information on HB277 Gets the Facts here
http://alabamaeagle.org/2017/04/07/get-the-facts-on-hb277

For Instructions for State House Lobbying, visit our website, here.

Topics

No one is exempt from children safety laws or regulations.
What is currently required of license exempt (church) facilities?
What are the thirteen agencies which regulate license-exempt providers in Alabama?
Licensed care does not ensure safety
Misleading examples of child endangerment as pretext for state action
HB277 targets church facilities but exempts certain other child-care Follow the money Public policy should be based on facts, not stereotypes
Religious Liberty Violations:  First Amendment and Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment 622, Section V Government overreach Removes parental authority and choice Truth about minimum standards Real Solutions

Signators

Dr. Allen Mendenhall, Executive Director, The Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty
Joe Godfrey, Executive Director, Alabama Citizen’s Action Program Alabama Citizen’s Action Program Robin Mears, Executive Director, Alabama Christian Education Association
Rev., Dr. John Killian, Pastor and Past President Alabama Baptist State Convention
Eunie Smith, President, Eagle Forum of Alabama
Deborah Love, Executive Director, Eagle Forum of Alabama
Eric Johnston, President of The Southeast Law Institute
Jeff Smith, Administrator of Trinity Christian Academy and Preschool, Oxford, Alabama
Danny J. Hubbard, Publisher and Author, Reveal Publishing
Scott Elliot, Director of Youth Ministries at Christ the King Lutheran Church
Dr. Tom Ford, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church and Ezekiel Academy Board Member
Col. Charles Orr, Christian Citizen Task Force, Whitesburg Baptist Church
Samuel J. McLure, The Adoption Law Firm
James McCaney, Jr. Senior Pastor, Victory Christian Fellowship Church
Maurice McCaney, Chancellor, Victory Christian Academy
Wanda McCaney, Director, Victory Christian Academy
Lorraine McCaney, Head Administrator, Victory Christian Academy
Mike Parsons, Director of Save Alabama’s Values and Education McCaney Law Group, LLC
Denise Driskell, Senior Administrator of Pathways Academy
Robert M. Driskell, High School Administrator of Pathways Academy
Rev. Jerry Johnston, Associate Pastor, Trinity Baptist Oxford, Alabama
Michael Rippy, Lead Pastor, Evangel Church, Evangel Christian Preschool

Get the Facts on HB277

Get the facts on HB277!  It is important for Alabamians to learn more about the significant role of religious and private child care providers in Alabama. A large portion of Alabama’s families rely on these providers to care for their children on a daily basis.  These are predominately church operated ministries to church members and outreaches to the community. A smaller number are affiliated with religious schools. Many prefer private facilities which are licensed exempt over state controlled facilities. In October 2016, there were 998 licensed and 943 license exempt child care centers in Alabama, according to Alabama DHR. The number of licensed exempt child care centers in Alabama is increasing because many families our choosing licensed exempt centers.

Families already have a choice between licensed exempt and licensed by the state child care providers. Yet many decide to not attend licensed child care providers and purposely go to licensed exempt child care options. Even the grandchild of the sponsor of HB277 attends a license exempt child care provider in Alabama.  Opposition to HB277 is about protecting children by protecting some of the best, safe, and positive child care options for children in Alabama. If hard working Alabamians no longer have high quality and low cost options, it harms children.  Many families will no longer have the opportunities and options they rely on for their families.

No one is exempt from child safety laws or regulations 

  • Licensed exempt day care providers are not exempt from child safety laws and regulations. All child care providers in Alabama are either licensed exempt or licensed. To become licensed exempt the provider must file appropriate paperwork with DHR including immunization records.
  • Criminal behavior is already outlawed in the state of Alabama regardless of where the crime occurs whether in a private or public setting. There are many state laws which directly address child abuse and neglect. The appropriate state agencies already possess the authority to investigate and punish criminals
  • Just as public school employees those at licensed exempt child care facilities already must pass full criminal background checks. (AL Code 38-13-3)
  • In addition, the State of Alabama already places an affirmative duty on child care employees in private and public settings with the responsibility to report suspected child abuse.
  • Child care providers are regulated for health and safety standards by multiple state agencies already. License exemption for child care providers in Alabama does not mean they are exempt from child safety laws and regulations.

What is currently required of licensed exempt facilities?

 DHR provides a list of requirements that involves their agency here http://dhr.alabama.gov/services/Child_Care_Services/license%20Exempt%20Centers.aspx

  • Notice that the child care program is an integral part of a local church
  • Notice that intent to operate a child care program has been given to the appropriate health departments so that facilities will be inspected to meet standards
  • Inspection by fire department at least once a year
  • Inspection by the Alabama Department of Public Health at least twice a year
  • Notice to the department certifying health inspection reports, immunizations, and medical forms for all staff and children.
  • Notice to parents of staff qualifications, pupil-student ratio, discipline policies, type of curriculum, religious teachings, and type of lunch program.
  • Parents required to sign affidavits about licensed-exempt status
  • Church/facility must submit affidavits of notification to DHR
  • Must follow all state and federal laws

What are the thirteen agencies who currently regulate license-exempt providers in Alabama?

  • Alabama Department of Human Resources
  • Alabama and Local Health Department
  • State Fire Marshall
  • State Building Commission
  • Alabama Department of Revenue
  • Alabama Department of Labor
  • Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
  • Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Federal Transportation Administration
  • Local Codes (zoning, safety requirements)
  • Safe States (enforce asbestos laws)
  • County District Attorney
  • The Alabama Code governing numerous aspects of caring for children

Licensed care does not ensure safety

DHR and other state agencies have failed on many occasions to follow through on inspections to facilities. In 2014 changes to block grants from the Federal Government required DHR to inspect facilities receiving grants whether or not they are license exempt.  Those inspections were not always completed.  Regulations and license requirements have failed on many occasions to protect children.

  • There is no evidence that licensed day care facilities are safer than license exempt facilities. We can all cherry pick examples in either public or private settings, but there is no factual evidence that licensed facilities are safer than non-licensed facilities.

Misleading examples of child endangerment as pretext for state action

As a matter of fact, every claim of injury to children upon which HB277 proponents rely are as a result of the violation of health standards already required of licensed exempt facilities.  If DHR and the responsible health departments had done their jobs, those events would not have happened. But more to the point, DHR regulation would not have prevented them. However, it certainly makes for good, if not misleading, selling points to uninformed observers.

Sunny Side Day Care– Sunny Side Day Care was highlighted as a key example of a licensed exempt center for a staph infection outbreak that happened at that location. Sunny Side Day Care receives funding from the Federal Government. That means state agencies already have more ability and responsibility to regulate that facility. However, on many occasions DHR has failed to inspect some facilities as they did in regards to Sunny Side. In regards to food safety all child care facilities must meet be food safety, standards already. All the reasonable measure are already in place to address this problem.  There was no clear testimony provided that regulations or licenses would have prevented the staph incident. This memorandum from the Office of Inspector General about license exempt facilities examines the legal authority. https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-07-10-00231.pdf

  • There is no guarantee that regulations or licenses will prevent all health incidents but one thing is clear: Alabama DHR had the ability to inspect Sunny Side Day Care facility prior to the staph incident. Licenses and regulations do not ensure a child’s safety.

HB277 exempts certain child- care facilities but targets religious facilities

Do supporters of HB277 think that licenses and the regulations associated with this bill protect children?  Why then are shopping center day cares exempt on page 6 of HB277 Why would public controlled facilities be exempt from this regulation? The potential for safety concerns for children is the same in these locations as others.

Follow the money

The free market allows parents to decide for themselves in what type of educational environment or child care facility they would like to place their child. Most parents like options because it produces the best choices for their children. However some groups and individuals are resorting to scare tactics to push economic protectionism against religious affiliated facilities. In the last several years more families have been moving away from licensed facilities and towards licensed-exempt facilities. That concerns some who benefit economically from licensed centers.

  • In addition to the economic protectionism aspects of HB277, the Federal involvement and out of state donations to lobbying organizations have thrown big money to groups and agencies to push for licensure mandates. As the fiscal note for the HB277 shows the financial support for this regulation comes from the Federal government http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/ALISON/SearchableInstruments/2017RS/FiscalNotes/FN-36426.htm. Another source of funding for this lobbying push comes from Kellogg Foundation a national out of state organization.

Public policy should be based on facts not stereotypes

Religious and secular child care providers both care about protecting children and helping families. That is why they do what they do.  There have been many innuendos and false claims made about religious institutions in Alabama.

  • The vast majority of Alabama’s religious institutions and religiously affiliated providers do wonderful work for Alabama’s families. Just as we do not judge every public school teacher by the actions of a small percentage of teachers we should apply that same respect for private and religious institutions.
  • We punish the individual not an entire religious community or group. We do not judge every private child care institution by select bad actors. That promotes fear and prejudice between Alabama’s religious populations, the general public and state agencies. Solid public policy proposals will not result from fear tactics and prejudice.

Religious Liberty Violations

“A child care facility that is an integral part of a church or nonprofit religious school shall be licensed…” (pg. 27 of HB277)  HB277 removes important religious liberty protections that ensure Alabama’s diverse religious population has freedom to exercise their religious beliefs in regards to early childhood development without government intrusion and control. “Also under existing law, child care facilities that are part of a church or nonprofit religious school are exempt from licensing by the Department of Human Resources.” (pg. 1 of HB277) Alabama’s diverse religious communities have for generations worked to protect children, start hospitals, adoption agencies, founded schools, and ministries for the poor.

Separation of church and state means that the state does not control the church or any religious institutions. If the church must receive a license from the state in order to operate a ministry that violates the religious liberty protections Alabamians have been provided in the state and Federal Constitution.  Protecting children and religious freedom are not mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact parents and the Alabama Constitution expect them to be mutually inclusive. The Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment provides for what is called the “compelling interest test.” Government may not burden or restrict a religious activity or belief without first having a compelling interest to do so in the least burdensome or restrictive way. HB277 is unconstitutional and will likely face class action suit by Alabama religious institutions. It will very likely be struck down.

  • First Amendment United States Constitution applicable to Alabama

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  • Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment 622, section V

Section V. (a) Government shall not burden a person’s freedom of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).

(b) Government may burden a person’s freedom of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:

(1) Is in furtherance of a compelling government interest; and

(2) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling government interest.

(c) A person whose religious freedom has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government.

Government overreach

Hundreds of licensed exempt facilities will close due to HB277 unnecessary regulatory overreach. HB277 oversteps and violates what the proper role of government is in Alabama.  The government has an interest in protecting safety of all Alabamians but that does not mean the government should control private religious institutions. Reasonable regulations and criminal laws already punish bad actors. State agencies already retain the ability to regulate and inspect in needed situations.  Demanding licenses and the regulatory power that comes with licenses will not improve children’s safety. Instead, a license requirement will mean more state control over private and religious institutions. If the church was must come to the state to request to operate then the church is not free from state intrusion. In addition to day cares HB277 will regulate mother’s day out, volunteers, day nurseries, and play groups.

Removes Parental Authority and choice

Currently there are more positive child care options and choices in early childhood service providers in the state of Alabama. Once HB277 passes that will no longer be the case. If you dislike one provider, you have options outside of state regulated facilities or facilities who accept grants. Families who rely on grants also have options currently. However, HB277 will remove this option for parents.  It will require every child care provider to follow the same regimen, and it will give state agencies control of these institutions.

Truth about minimum standards

Many private and religious child care providers in Alabama already go above and beyond minimum standards by DHR.  HB277 would require every day care facility to follow the list of regulations called minimum standards. Child neglect, abuse, health, and safety regulations and law exist and are already in place outside of minimum standards. Many religious institutions or private facilities reject DHR minimum standards.  These regulations have many aspects that are not directly related to child’s safety but they are instead more focused toward the facility.

DHR would have the full authority to deny licensing, employment, and ability to volunteer based on individual receiving speeding tickets, or criminal charges even when found innocent.

DHR would have the authority to consider a center’s beliefs unsuitable for licensing, employment and the ability to volunteer.

DHR can immediately terminate license, employment and the ability to volunteer for being viewed as unsuitable with no proof of wrongdoing. It gives them unintended control due to the subjectivity of determining who or what is “unsuitable”.

DHR can close a center for what they “think” is a lack of business funds.

DHR holds the approval to whether or not a Center Director can be hired.

DHR requirements for certain number of staff per child.

Real Solutions

Rather than address the issue of a few “for profit” daycares masquerading as churches, proponents of HB277 want to remove the protection of all churches. The good faith offer of actual redress of the real problem has been disingenuously and deceitfully rejected by supporters of HB277 in favor of unconstitutional church regulation. Using child protection as an excuse, their real goal is church regulation of this very important church ministry, the choice of parents to raise up their children in the way they should go. 

Dr. Allen Mendenhall, Executive Director, The Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty

Joe Godfrey, Executive Director, Alabama Citizen’s Action Program

Alabama Citizen’s Action Program

Robin Mears, Executive Director, Alabama Christian Education Association

Eunie Smith, President, Eagle Forum of Alabama

Deborah Love, Executive Director, Eagle Forum of Alabama

Eric Johnston, President of The Southeast Law Institute

Jeff Smith, Administrator of Trinity Christian Academy and Preschool, Oxford, Alabama

Danny J. Hubbard, Publisher and Author, Reveal Publishing

Scott Elliot, Director of Youth Ministries at Christ the King Lutheran Church

Dr. Tom Ford, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church and Ezekiel Academy Board Member

Col. Charles Orr, Christian Citizen Task Force, Whitesburg Baptist Church

Samuel J. McLure, The Adoption Law Firm

James McCaney, Jr. Senior Pastor, Victory Christian Fellowship Church

Maurice McCaney, Chancellor, Victory Christian Academy

Wanda McCaney, Director, Victory Christian Academy

Lorraine McCaney, Head Administrator, Victory Christian Academy

Mike Parsons, Director of Save Alabama’s Values and Education

Rev., Dr. John Killian, Pastor and Past President Alabama Baptist State Convention

McCaney Law Group, LLC

Denise Driskell, Senior Administrator of Pathways Academy

Robert M. Driskell, High School Administrator of Pathways Academy

Rev. Jerry Johnston, Associate Pastor, Trinity Baptist Oxford, Alabama

Michael Rippy, Lead Pastor, Evangel Church, Evangel Christian Preschool

 

 

 

 

 

HB277 / SB256 Must be Stopped!

SB236/HB277 – Sponsored by Senator Cam Ward and Representative Pebblin Warren, proposes to require church nurseries and religious childcare providers (daycares) to be licensed by the state Department of Human Resources as are all other such providers. Church daycares and nurseries have always been exempt from licensure, even though their workers must pass background checks. The First Amendment should send a bold statement to state legislators about the proper role of state and federal government. Their role IS NOT to regulate churches or their ministries. This House bill passed unanimously by voice vote in the Child and Senior Advocacy Committee.  Eagle Forum of Alabama strongly opposes SB236/HB277. This bill will allow the state to regulate Vacation Bible School, for example. It removes important religious liberty protections that currently protect Alabamians. This bill is about much more than simply licensing church daycares and nurseries, it is also about money.  Foundation grant money has been awarded here in Alabama to push for all Alabama daycares to be licensed.  The Alabama DHR was awarded $1.7 million to improve the quality of daycare in the state.  Their only answer to that is to license daycares in church which are now exempt, although such centers are statistically safer for children by far than licensed centers. Those involved in negotiating for changes to the bill have offered 5 changes that would deal with the issues brought up by proponents for all child care facilities but these were totally dismissed, giving credence to the fact that this is not about protecting children, but about money and control.

Dollars are flowing from the federal government in support of licensed daycare facilities. The more that are licensed, the more money. With federal dollars come federal control.  The bill says that in licensed church daycare facilities “no employee of the department (DHR) may infringe upon the ability of the center to teach or practice a religion.”  However, these words would not control mandates from the federal government, such as those on the state Pre-K program that say, “no part of the day may be religious in nature.”  If religious day care programs are required to be licensed, it is safe to assume that such mandates would follow.

Please contact your Representatives and Senators today as well as Senator Ward  and Rep. Warren immediately to let them know that you strongly oppose this bill. His email address is cam@camward.com, and office number is 334-242-7873. Representative Pebblin Warren’s email address is tiger9127@bellsouth.net . Her office number is 334-242-7734

Talking Points for SB236/HB277

  • Background check requirements already in place
  • Child abuse and neglect already outlawed in AL
  • This bill is about regulation and money, it is not about child safety

Tornado Recovery: A Tale of Two Cities

David Beito, History Professor at the University of Alabama, and Daniel Smith, Economics Professor at Troy State University, have written an excellent editorialcomparing tornado recovery efforts in Joplin, MO and Tuscaloosa, AL.  The two cities took vastly different approaches to the rebuilding efforts, one relaxing government regulation and one using it as an opportunity to enact more.  As the subtitle of the editorial so aptly puts it:  “One city is letting local business lead the revival, the other is imposing top-down rules and waiting for FEMA. Guess which one is rebuilding faster?” The answer might surprise you.

 

Update on SOPA-Better, But Still Not Good

SOPA a.k.a. the Stop Online Piracy Act is the first step to letting the federal government censor the internet.  As we said here, SOPA is dangerous. It will, for the first time ever, require private companies like Google, Mozilla, Facebook, Twitter, and others to censor internet content.  The bill requires social networking sites and search engines to block content that the entertainment industry decides “facilitates online piracy or copyright infringement.”

In its original version it would have also:

  • Made social networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter responsible for content posted by their users.  
  • Banned links to sites that are deemed offending even in search results
  • Mandated the use of deep packet inspection by ISPs to watch all traffic of all users.

Some of these controversial provisions were taken out in committee.  But the changes don’t go far enough to negate the censorship concern.

James Gattuso gives the clearest description of what the legislation is authorizing in his WebMemo for the Heritage Foundation:

As it is currently drafted, this is how SOPA would work: First, it allows the U.S. Attorney General, as well as individual intellectual property holders, to sue allegedly infringing sites in court. The site would have to be proven to be a foreign site “directed towards” the U.S. and that it would be subject to seizure if it were U.S.-based. Alternatively, a suit could be brought by a private plaintiff, who would have to show that the site is “dedicated to theft of U.S. property.” That test, in turn, can be met if the site or a portion of the site is “primarily” designed, operated, or marketed to “enable or facilitate” infringement. The bill requires that attempts be made to notify the website operator of any such legal action, but legal proceedings would go forward even if no response is received.

If the court finds in favor of the plaintiff, a range of third-party restrictions would go into effect. Specifically, in cases brought by the Attorney General, to the extent “technically feasible and reasonable,” a court order would:

  1. Require Internet service providers to prevent subscribers from reaching the website in question. This would be done by severing the mechanism by which the domain name entered by Web users is connected (“resolved”) to the proper IP address;
  2. Prohibit search engines such as Google from providing direct links to the foreign website in search results;
  3. Prohibit payment network providers, such as PayPal or credit card firms, from completing financial transactions affecting the site; and
  4. Bar Internet advertising firms from placing online ads from or to the affected website.

In cases brought by a private party, only the restrictions on payment networks and advertising firms would apply.

One particular controversial provision that would have allowed intellectual property holders to trigger the above described third party restrictions based on their own unilateral determination that a site was violating their property rights was taken out.  Now, as noted above, intellectual property holders will have to get a court order to trigger these restrictions. Gattuso lists several other concerns with the current version. While this is better, it is not good enough.

When considering regulations, we must look at the potential benefit vs the cost.  The risk of starting a slippery slope with this legislation is too great.  More importantly, there are other ways we can address the problem and achieve the same result–see the Wyden/Issa proposal.

Bottom line:  SOPA is a huge risk and even with improvements it still has the potential to bring federal censorship of the internet to a whole new level.

Alabama Joins Lawsuit Against EPA

Alabama has joined twenty-four other states in filing an amicus brief in a lawsuit brought against the EPA to require delay of the imposition of the Utility MACT rule.  The Rule is expected to go into effect in early November and has the potential to cost the utility industry billions of dollars and could lead to the closure of plants and the loss of jobs, at a time when our state and nation can ill afford it.

From the Decatur Daily:

State Attorney General Luther Strange said today that Alabama has joined 24 other states and Guam in filing a brief in U.S. District Court in Washington to require the Environmental Protection Agency to delay air emissions regulations, claiming the new rule could damage Alabama jobs and electricity rates.

The EPA’s proposed Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule would create a new federal regulation to address emissions of hazardous air pollutants from coal and oil-fired power plants.

The proposed rule may require installation of new expensive control technologies to meet the new limits mandated by the EPA.

You can read more about the Utility MACT rule and its potential effect on the utility industry here and here.

FCC Moving Forward On Net Neutrality

I’ve written before about the danger of net neutrality and its threat to free speech. Unfortunately, last December the FCC passed new net neutrality regulations despite significant opposition.  A little over a week ago the FCC finally published the new rules in the Federal Register starting a 60 day comment period before they become law on November 20.  It is imperative that we keep this from happening.

The House has passed a resolution (H.J.R. 37) that will nullify the new regulations.  The Senate has 51 days left to act.  They must pass the joint resolution and get it to President Obama’s desk.  Opposition to net neutrality is bipartisan and will put a lot of pressure on the President to sign.

So what can you do?

Call your Senator and ask him to move to pass the same resolution (H.J.R. 37) and stop the federal government’s takeover of the internet!


Capitol Switchboard:  202-224-3121

New Obama EPA Regulations Will Create 230,000 Jobs And Cost $21 Billion

President Obama has recently submitted a jobs plan to Congress.  Unfortunately for him, the reception has been less than stellar even among members of his own party.  In typical Obama style, he is now going around Congress to start creating those jobs and is spending $21 billion to do so.

This is not a new tactic for President Obama as he has often used regulatory agencies to accomplish what he cannot get through legislatively.  For instance, Congress rejected Cap and Trade yet the EPA has implemented most of the cap and trade policies on its own.  Congress wouldn’t pass an immigration reform bill, so President Obama used an executive order to grant what amounts to amnesty.  Under this administration, the FCC has tried to put in place a new regulatory structure for the internet called Net Neutrality–again, something Congress wouldn’t pass.

The President is becoming increasingly bold about these kinds of maneuvers.  Recently while announcing exemptions from the No Child Left Behind Law, President Obama said the following:

I’ve urged Congress for a while now, let’s get a bipartisan effort, let’s fix this,” Obama said. “Congress hasn’t been able to do it. So I will. Our kids only get one shot at a decent education. They cannot afford to wait any longer. So, given that Congress cannot act, I am acting…

This is not the mindset of someone who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers.

And that doesn’t even begin to address problems with the actual policy.  The regulatory burdens in this country have become so heavy and difficult, many businesses are looking for ways to move over seas to places that have a much more business-friendly environment.  Recently Coke announced it was ramping up its investments in China.  The Coke CEO, Muhtar Kent, made the following statements about his reasons for shifting more investment to China:

“Coca-Cola now sees the US becoming a less friendly business environment than China, … citing political gridlock and an antiquated tax structure. … Muhtar Kent, Coke’s chief executive, said ‘in many respects’ it was easier doing business in China, which he likened to a well-managed company. ‘You have a one-stop shop in terms of the Chinese foreign investment agency and local governments are fighting for investment with each other … They’re learning very fast, these countries … In the west, we’re forgetting what really worked 20 years ago. In China and other markets around the world, you see the kind of attention to detail about how business works and how business creates employment’. …”

“Kent argued that US states did not compete enough with each other to attract businesses while Chinese provinces were clamouring to draw investment from international companies.

There are a growing number of business owners and investors who have publicly stated their unwillingness to invest or expand due to the uncertainty in the regulatory field and with the nation’s economy.  Back in February, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee heard directly from small business owners about the devastating impact the tsunami of Obama Administration regulations is having on their ability to grow and create jobs.

“The cost of regulation incurred by all businesses is eventually passed on to the consumer and our workforce.  Regulatory costs require business owners like me to devote more time and resources to government compliance, which means less capital devoted to investment and job creation.

“If regulatory burden continues to grow we, along with all other private sector companies, will no longer be able to compete in the world market.  Jobs will not be created and new businesses will not be formed.  You will suffocate the system that has produced everything we enjoy today.  It is that simple.”

It’s time for Congress to stand up to the President and take back its Constitutional authority.  Rep. Geoff Davis and Sen. Rand Paul are proposing legislation that will do exactly that.  Called the REINS Act, H.R. 10 will require major regulations (defined as regulations that have more than a $100 million impact on the economy among other things) to be voted on by Congress before they have the force and effect of law.

Alabama Representatives Spencer Bachus, Jo Bonner, Mo Brooks and Martha Roby have already signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation, along with Senator Jeff Sessions in the Senate.  We ask you to encourage Representatives Robert Aderholt, Mike Rogers and Terri Sewell to sign on as well, along with Senator Richard Shelby.  Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121

EPA To Review Burdensome Regulations

The Hill’s Energy & Environment Blog covers the EPA’s decision to review dozens of regulations to ensure they are not overly burdensome.

EPA’s final regulatory review plan comes amid growing GOP animosity toward the agency. Republicans and some centrist Democrats have cast EPA as the poster child of federal overreach and excessive regulation, pushing legislation to delay or block a slew of the agency’s rules.

EPA will review 35 regulations under the final plan. Sixteen of those rules will be reviewed quickly, a process that could lead to “modifying, streamlining, expanding or repealing a regulation or related program during the 2011 calendar year,” EPA says. EPA will review the other 19 regulations over a longer time period.

The EPA says its goal is to reduce the regulatory burden and save money.  They also say they will be reviewing the regulations every five years.

Many in Congress have complained that the President has used regulatory agencies to implement policies that he cannot get through the legislative process.  In fact, one of the top priorities for conservatives this fall is Senator Rand Paul’s REINS Act which requires all major regulations to be voted on by Congress before being enforced.