Tag: alabama politics

Urgent Action Needed Now to Stop SB280: More than Half of Alabama Counties will Lose the Right to Free Elections for Superintendents of Education

SB280 sponsored by Senator Brewbaker seeks to eliminate local control of County Superintendent of Education elections in more than half the state. The map shows each county in blue that currently elects their Superintendent of Education, but if SB280 is passed each of these counties will be forced to appoint. SB280 is expected to come up for a vote before Thursday in the House. This legislation will have two horrible impacts on local education. First SB280 will force over fifty percent of the Alabama counties to stop holding free elections.

Counties that hold elections for County Superintendent of Education will be forced to have the local board of education hand pick the County Superintendent. SB280 removes current rights from local education leaders and parents who live in the county. That means these Alabama Counties with Elected School Board Superintendents will be forced to stop conducting elections all together for County Superintendent: Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Conecuh, Coosa, DeKalb, Dale, Elmore, Fayette, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Tallapoosa, Walker, Washington, and Winston.

The second, critical impact of the SB280 is that it also removes local education rights from other counties in Alabama. Counties which currently have an appointed County Superintendent will not be able to hold elections. SB280 is modeled after legislation being pushed by special interests in other states to centralize education and reduce local control. SB280 centralizes power in the hands of a few and harms our communities.

All legislators should oppose SB280 since it completely removes your right to hold a local election for County Superintendent of Education, and SB280 prevents other districts from holding elections in the future. Contact your State Representative today. To find contact information for your Rep. go here ! Calls are needed now from individuals in each county! All will lose control of local election process in their county.

How Much is Your Child’s Data Worth?

Rep. Terri Collins has introduced HB97, the State Longitudinal Database bill (companion bill is SB153).  The Alabama Department of Labor has promised the bill does not allow for collection of private and personal student information, but the bill itself contradicts the department.  It  describes, “security clearance requirements for individuals with access to personally identifiable information.”

The bill’s sponsor describes its purpose “is to meet the demands of industry”.   It is not the duty of government to train workers for industry or to track students into state selected jobs.  Regardless, there is no reason important enough to turn over any of your child’s personal, non-academic information.  The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, ” The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

There are no real protections outlined in the bill.  Only current state and Federal law are mentioned.  Dependence is placed upon FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act), which is a federal act that was gutted in December 2011.  With FERPA, data collection is now available to third parties.  The comprehensive Student and Parent Privacy Protection bill could have provided significant protection, but Rep. Collins refused even to bring it before her Education Policy Committee for discussion last year.

HB97 acknowledges that breaches will occur as it instructs the advisory board to develop “plans for responding to security breaches.”

See Eagle Forum of Alabama Executive Director Deborah Love’s opinion piece on HB97 here and here.

Protecting student privacy rights should come first when making public policy and legislative decisions.  Please encourage your legislators to vote NO on HB97 and its companion Senate Bill, SB 153.

You may reach your House member by calling 334-242-7600 and asking for their office.  The  Senate  number is 334-242-7800. 

To find your legislators, visit http://alabamaeagle.org/find-your-legislators

 

Open Letter to Alabama State Board of Education

August 15, 2016

Open letter to Alabama State Board of Education

Dear Friends,

We congratulate you in your choice of Michael Sentance, JD, as our next superintendent.    Your determination to move Alabama from its current, uncharacteristic dead last position among all the other states was made apparent in your selection of a key player from the top performing state in the nation, Massachusetts.  This is a strong statement that the status quo is not good enough.

It was refreshing and hopeful to hear Mr. Sentance in his interview as he explained that Alabama’s problems are comparable to what Massachusetts faced, and as he eloquently suggested solutions like those that he implemented and that worked in Massachusetts.  Alabama’s success story will be even more dramatic when, God willing, Mr. Sentance puts his prior experience, his recipe for success, to work in Alabama.  We believe that the road to the finest moment in Alabama education may have just begun.

Again we applaud you for taking this bold step.  To have done less would have been a real disservice to our children and their future. We all agree with Mr. Sentance that we “want all kids to realize their destinies and their dreams”.

We have already contacted Mr. Sentance with our full support!

Blessings,

Eunie Smith, President

Leslie Whitcomb, Education Chairman

 

 

 

Where is the Supreme Court of Alabama on gay marriage?

Guest opinionBy Guest opinion AL.com
on October 01, 2015 at 9:00 AM, updated October 01, 2015 at 9:54 AM

By Eunie Smith, President, Eagle Forum of Alabama and Dr. John H. Killian, Sr., former President of the Alabama Baptist State Convention

Eunie Smith
Eunie Smith, President, Eagle Forum of Alabama

 

It has been three months since the Supreme Court of the United States rocked the nation with their landmark opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which purported to redefine marriage to include two adults of the same-sex and force that redefinition on “320 million Americans” as Justice Antonin Scalia disparaged in his dissent.

Five “unelected judges” – as Chief Justice Roberts called them in his criticism of Obergefell – dealt an arrogant blow to God, the family, nature, the rule of law, the Constitution of the United States and the democratic process.  Simply because their opinion has been accepted as the “law of the land” by the media and the left, doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to close our eyes to the truth or pretend that the Constitution allows the judicial branch to legislate a new right to same-sex marriage.

John Killian
Dr. John H. Killian, Sr., former President of the Alabama Baptist State Convention

 

Confusion has reigned in the wake of Obergefell.  A Christian clerk was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. A physician was found guilty of warning patients about the dangers of homosexuality. Leading LGBT activist groups rallied for the legalization of prostitution.  The Browns, of “Sister Wives,” cited Obergefell in their fight to legalize polygamy.  Protests are erupting over transgender boys being allowed in the girls’ bathroom.  The Southern Poverty Law Center is pumping funds into their “Teaching Tolerance” curriculum – aimed at brainwashing children to accept perversion in our public schools. Alabama probate judges who uphold what Alabama’s law demands when it comes to marriage, receive frequent hate mail and threats designed to intimidate them into violating their religious beliefs about marriage.

This is only the beginning. Obergefell will be a catalyst for the further deterioration of the family, religious liberty, and the values and principles that have made America great.  Massive litigation fees will be incurred as Christians in Alabama stand firm on their convictions in businesses, churches, and in the public square.  Judicial activism following Obergefell will only intensify as the sentiments of men and women – no matter how “supreme” – are allowed to trump the rule of law found in the plain text of the Constitution and the “law of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

In March, the Alabama Supreme Court exhibited a remarkable understanding of these issues when they issued a permanent injunction that halted same-sex marriage in this state.  Liberty Counsel – with a brief filed on behalf of Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program – has asked the Alabama Supreme Court to affirm its injunction and disregard the Obergefell opinion which four members of the United States Supreme Court said was completely unconstitutional.

That request has been pending in the Alabama Supreme Court for nearly three months.

Washington County Probate Judge Nick Williams and Probate Judge John Enslen of Elmore County, have asked for an “Emergency” Petition and a “Protective Order” to protect their sincerely held beliefs in light of the prosecution of Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis.

So far those petitions also remain unanswered.

Alabamians elected justices to the Alabama Supreme Court with confidence that they would judge rightly in the fear of God, in step with the Constitution of the United States and the Alabama Constitution, and representative of the traditional values that Alabamians cherish.  We anxiously await their decision.

Duty to God, the preservation of our constitutional republic, and the future of families and children require no less than a prompt and resolute decision in this case.  The Alabama Supreme Court should act immediately to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of our citizens and the sanctity of the institution of marriage – as adopted by 81% of Alabama voters.  They should not leave the citizens of Alabama to wonder, “Where is the Supreme Court of Alabama?”

Retired Major Terry Smith on Active Duty Officers interfering in State Politics

Following is a letter from Major Terry A. Smith USMC (Ret) that was sent to Governor Robert Bentley.

I am dismayed to see an active duty Commissioned Federal Officer interfering in State politics. The last time this happened there was a civil war. State’s rights is still an important issue to most Republicans. The recent letter from a Colonel at Redstone Arsenal should be ignored as more Obama administration propaganda to destroy our country from within.

I have been involved in state and local Republican politics since the mid 80’s after I retired from the Marine Corps, when being a Republican wasn’t cool. I was the 5th District Chairman, and on the State Republican Steering Committee. I was a candidate for the U.S. Congress, I exposed the now defunct Center for Quality and Productivity as a candidate for the state senate which resulted in the federal felony conviction of three state senators and Gov. Folsom’s legal adviser. I did this as a retired Commissioned Officer, and would have been court-martialed if I had taken any of these action while on active duty.

Please review my letter on common core which was published in the Stars and Stripes.

http://www.stripes.com/…/letters-to-the-editor/common-core-…

Respectfully,

Major Terry A. Smith USMC (Ret)

“God Bless You and Yours”
Major Terry Smith USMC (RET)

A movement to dumb down the education of our children is gaining acceptance. It is called Common Core State Standards Initiative (aka Common Core). Common Core is a set of unconstitutional national standards that will drive curriculum…
STRIPES.COM

Republican Senators, Representatives Ask State Board of Education To Rescind Adoption Of Common Core Standards

13 senators and 8 representatives recently wrote to Governor Bentley and the State Board of Education to ask them to revoke adoption of the Common Core Standards Initiative and refuse any monies tied to a national curriculum.

We would like to thank Senators Gerald Allen, Scott Beason, Dick Brewbaker, Paul Bussman, Rusty Glover, Bill Holtzclaw, Del Marsh, Arthur Orr, Greg Reed, Clay Scofield, Cam Ward, Jabo Waggoner and Ted Whatley as well as Representatives Jim Carns, Ed Henry, Ron Johnson, Wes Long, Mary Sue McClurkin, Barry Moore, Kerry Rich and Mark Tuggle for standing up for local control of education.  For more information about why the Common Core Standards Initiative is problematic, click here.

Reforming Alabama: Recapping the 2011 Legislative Session

Focus Of 2011 Session Was Serious Reforms

Last Thursday marked the end of the first Republican-controlled legislative session in 136 years.  It was an extremely productive session with Republicans passing several badly needed reforms.  The first of these was Representative Greg Canfield’s Rolling Reserve Budget Act which also had the distinction of being the first bill Governor Bentley signed into law.  It will have a significant impact on the future budgets and prevent proration for years to come.  Also noteworthy were Senator Trip Pittman’s reform of the teacher tenure system, the elimination of the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), and Representative Jay Love’s legislation to increase retirement contributions by state employees.

Alabama made national news with the passage of Senator Scott Beason and Representative Micky Hammon’s immigration reform legislation.  According to Kris Kobach, one of the nation’s top immigration lawyers and current Kansas Secretary of State, Alabama now has the strongest law deterring illegal immigration in the country.

The legislature passed pro-life legislation including a ban on abortion after 20 weeks when the unborn child can feel pain (HB18).  Unfortunately, several pro-life bills got caught up in the filibuster process and failed to pass.  These include Personhood legislation that would define persons as all humans from the point of fertilization and the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act which gives health care providers, institutions and payers the right to decline to perform services that violate their consciences.  Also on the health care front, the legislature passed Representative Blaine Galliher’s HB60 which prohibits mandatory participation in any health care system, essentially opting us out of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

The legislature also passed legislation that will improve campaign finance records and improve transparency.  Two great examples are Senator Arthur Orr’s SB136 which requires electronic filing of campaign contributions starting a year before the election monthly, and then requires weekly filings beginning a month before the election, and Representative Paul DeMarco’s Fiscal Transparency Act which requires the State Finance Department to produce monthly financial reports for the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund, and to publish them in a prominent place on the department’s website.  They also took measures to improve election security by passing Representative Kerry Rich’s amendment to the Alabama Constitution to require voters to provide a valid photo ID in order to vote.

Businesses both big and small will benefit from Representative April Weaver’s legislation to allow businesses to deduct 100% of the amount they pay in health insurance premiums on their state income tax and Representative Blaine Galliher’s bill to authorize an income tax credit for employers creating jobs.  The legislature also took steps to protect the right to a secret ballot in employee representation by passing Representative Kurt Wallace’s HB64.

Another good budget measure passed was Representative Jack Williams’ HB13 which will allow for the use of life cycle budgeting in competitive bids and public works projects.

There were a few pieces of controversial legislation that sparked heated debate this session.  One such bill would have reauthorized the Forever Wild Land Trust program.  Eventually a compromise was reached, and the legislature passed Senator Dick Brewbaker’s constitutional amendment to reauthorize the Forever Wild program allowing the people of Alabama to vote on the issue in 2012.

Representative Jack Williams’ bill to grant the Jefferson County Commission limited home rule to levy additional taxes prompted fierce debate on both sides.  After passing the House Jefferson County Delegation by a vote of 9 – 8, the bill died in the Alabama Senate after a contest filed by Senator Scott Beason.

Another controversial bill would have enforced a sales and/or “use” tax on goods ordered on the internet from out of state.  Eagle Forum fought hard against this legislation and we are very pleased to say it did not pass.  To learn more about this bill, go to alabamaeagle.org.  Eagle Forum also worked against Representative John Merrill’s HB6 which would have lowered the mandatory school age from 7 to 6 years of age.  This bill was stopped in the Alabama Senate.

There were a few pieces of good legislation that didn’t pass.  We would have liked to have seen passed Representative Paul DeMarco’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (HB427) and Senator Cam Ward’s Foreign Law Prohibition Bill (SB61), along with Senator Dick Brewbaker’s resolution encouraging the State Board of Education to retain complete control over Alabama’s academic standards (SJR153), but time ran out.  While Senator Paul Bussman’s shared parenting legislation (SB196) did not pass, a constructive dialogue began and we hope he will come back next year with a stronger bill.

Overall, we think the members of the Alabama Legislature, Speaker Hubbard and Pro Tem Marsh deserve a solid A for this successful session, and we hope they will continue to be committed to passing the kind of serious reforms they addressed this year.

Eagle Forum Congratulates Legislators on Passage of Students First Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

05/26/11

Contact:  Brooklyn Roberts

Eagle Forum Congratulates Legislators On Passage Of Students First Act

(Birmingham)  This week, despite AEA union bosses’ efforts to stop meaningful reform, SB310 also known as the Students First Act passed the Alabama House.

“The real winners tonight were Alabama’s students and parents who will benefit from schools’ ability to fire teachers that are underperforming,” said Eunie Smith, President of Eagle Forum of Alabama.

Under the Students First Act, teachers will continue to receive tenure after completing three years of full time employment.  However, SB310 provides for the dismissal of tenured teachers who clearly fail to provide adequate education and care for their students.  Teachers will still have recourse to appeal the termination.

Despite the amount of misinformation surrounding SB310, supporters stood strong and passed this badly needed reform.  “Eagle Forum has long been an advocate of sound education reform in Alabama, and we are extremely proud of our conservative legislators who stayed true to their principles to improve Alabama’s education system, even in the face of strong opposition, said Smith.  “They were extremely courageous and should be commended for their efforts.  It was a victory for all Alabama’s children.”

For more information contact Executive Director, Brooklyn Roberts at 205-441-9879

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A Summary of the Legislative Session So Far: What Has Passed and What To Look For

The Alabama Legislature has had an extremely productive legislative session so far.  Without gambling stopping things up, they have been able to pass much-needed reforms.  Below we’ve put together an overview of what they have passed so far and what is ahead.  The legislature has taken a two week break to do redistricting, and will be back in regular session on Tuesday, May 24.

What They’ve Already Passed

HB57– Rep. Greg Canfield’s Education Trust Fund Rolling Reserve Act: changes the budgeting process for the Education Trust Fund to cap spending at a 15-year rolling average.  This legislation will be key to helping to avoid proration in the future. (For more information on this bill and why it’s necessary, click here) Eagle Forum recommends: Y

SB72– Sen. Del Marsh’s legislation to eliminate the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan, commonly called DROP.  The ALGOP has a great fact sheet on DROP and why it needed to be eliminated here, and the Alabama Policy Institute has a comprehensive study of the program here. Eagle Forum recommends: Y

HB61– Rep. April Weaver’s legislation to allow businesses to deduct 100% of the amount they pay in health insurance premiums on their state income tax.  Eagle Forum recommends: Y

SB133– General Fund Budget for the next fiscal year.  Because the House and Senate did not pass identical versions of the budget, it has now gone to conference committee.

*Note:  This list is not comprehensive of everything they have passed during this session.

What To Look For In The Last Week of the 2011 Session

Likely to Pass:

SB310– Sen. Trip Pittman’s Teacher Tenure Law and Fair Dismissal Act (For more info on the issue of tenure reform and why it is needed, click here)  Eagle Forum recommends: Y

HB123– Education Trust Fund Budget for the next fiscal year

HB64– Rep. Kurt Wallace’s  amendment to the Alabama Constitution protecting the right to a secret ballot in employee representation  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

HB427– Rep. Paul DeMarco’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (Click here for more info) Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

HB58– Rep. Mike Ball’s legislation to require  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.  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

HB60– Rep. Blaine Galliher’s legislation to opt out of Obamacare  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

HB19– Rep. Kerry Rich’s legislation to amend the Alabama Constitution to require voters to provide a valid photo ID in order to vote  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

HB56/SB256– Sen. Scott Beason and Rep. Micky Hammon’s legislation to address the problem of illegal immigration.  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

HB25– Rep. Paul DeMarco’s Fiscal Transparency Legislation requiring the State Finance Department to produce monthly financial reports for the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund, and to publish them in a prominent place on the department’s website.  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

In addition to the above, there are several pieces of pro-life legislation that are expected to move in the remaining days of the session including:

HB8– Rep. Wes Long’s legislation to  amends the definition of “child” to include the unborn.  It also creates a rebuttable presumption of exposing a child in utero to a controlled substance if both the mother and the child test positive for the same controlled substance not prescribed by a physician.  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

SB46– Sen. Cam Ward’s Health Care Rights of Conscience Act to give health care providers, institutions and payers the right to decline to perform services that violate their conscience.  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

SB201– Sen. Greg Reed’s legislation to prohibit Alabama health insurance coverage of elective abortions except through a premium paid by an optional rider.  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

SB202– Sen. Greg Reed’s bill to opt Alabama out of federal abortion insurance coverage per the terms of the Obamacare legislation.  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

HB18– Rep. Kerry Rich’s legislation to ban abortions after 20 weeks, the threshold when the unborn child can feel pain.  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

Watch Out For

HB365– Rep. Jamie Ison’s legislation to require retailers to notify consumers of their duty to pay a sales/use tax on items purchased over the internet, and keep records of consumer purchases.  Eagle Forum recommends:  N

What Is Unlikely To Pass This Year:

SB196– Sen. Paul Bussman’s Shared Parenting Legislation which would have changed the custodial presumption in child custody cases from 80%/20% to 50%/50%.  Eagle Forum recommends:  Y

HB6– Rep. John Merrill’s legislation to lower the mandatory school age from 7 to 6 years of age.  Eagle Forum recommends:  N

**Don’t Forget, you can find your legislator and see how he/she has voted here.**

Get Your 2011 Legislative Directory

Make at least a $25 contribution to Eagle Forum, and you’ll receive a free copy of our 2011 Legislative Directory.  It is a complete directory of the Alabama State Legislature sized to fit in your pocket or purse.

**If you would like to purchase directories outright, call 205-879-7096 for more information.