Week 7 Legislative Update: One Budget Passed One More To Go

LEGISLATURE IS BACK IN SESSION

The Alabama legislature was back in session all week for the first time since March.  They have returned with the goal of passing the General Fund Budget and the Education Trust Fund Budget.  Passing these budgets is the only thing they are mandated to pass every year.  They are also considering local bills and a limited number of bills that deal directly with the state’s shut down or ramifications there of.  With that being said, all of the bills we were promoting or watching, are basically dead for this session.   

THE BUDGETS

UPDATED STATUS:  

On Thursday the Alabama House of Representatives passed the 2021 state General Fund budget, which funds non-education state agencies. The 2021 SGF is $2,391,206,601, which increased by $168,860,692 from last year.  It previously passed the Senate and is headed to the Governor’s office for her signature.  The House approved the $7.2 billion Education Trust Fund, which is a $91 million increase from last year.  The education budget and other education funding bills will be in Senate committees on Friday, May 8 and could get final passage Saturday.

WE HAD A SMALL VICTORY BECAUSE OF YOUR PHONE CALLS!
We had sent an alert earlier this week regarding a massive cut in the auditor’s budget.  The proposed budget was slated to slash the Office of the State Auditor budget by 47%.  We encouraged you to make phone calls to legislators asking them to “level fund” that office’s budget.  Your phone calls worked!  The final cut was only 9% vs the original 47%.  Thank you for helping to keep this important constitutional office that operational. 

A NEW BILL WE’RE WATCHING

BILL: SB334  SPONSOR: Sen Whatley

DESCRIPTION: 
Under existing law, a state of emergency may be declared by the Governor by proclamation or by the Legislature by joint resolution. A state of emergency terminates after 60 days unless extended by proclamation of the Governor or joint resolution of the Legislature. This bill would provide that a state of emergency terminates after 14 days and may be extended only by joint resolution of the Legislature or, if the Legislature is not in session, by joint proclamation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. This bill would also provide that an order or directive issued by the State Health Officer relating to the outbreak of a disease or pandemic has the full force and effect of law once it is approved by the Governor and a copy is filed with the Office of the Secretary of State.

EF’s POSITION We have not taken a formal position on this bill.  We agree that the current emergency powers are too broad and extend for too long. Sen. Whatley stated in Alabama Daily News, “It brings the legislative body into the picture, and also makes the governor put his or her signature on the line with the state health officer, because the governor is a state elected person, the state health officer is not, so this way it holds the elected officials accountable to the people…” 

GOV IVEY’S NEWEST SAFER AT HOME ORDER
CLICK THE PICTURE TO READ

THE LEGISLATURE WILL BE IN SESSION NEXT WEEK

The legislature will be in session next week.  You can watch or listen live at the the links below.  

Don’t Slash The State Auditor’s Budget!

The Senate General Fund Budget Committee is proposing the budget for 2021FY.  One of the offices that was singled out for a massive decrease was the Alabama State Auditor.  This agency’s budget for the coming fiscal year was slashed by about 46%, the biggest percentage by far.  Most agencies stayed the same as last year, i.e.”level funded”.  
 

The State Auditor is a constitutional office and he/she is elected by the people of Alabama. The function of the office is to completely audit the millions of tax dollars invested in the equipment and vehicles used by state employees in the course of their work. This office has played a vital role in exposing the state’s misuse of taxpayers funds and projects. It is crucial to keeping our state government agencies accountable and transparent to the taxpayers.

This almost 50% draconian cut in the Auditor’s already lean budget of only $950,000/year will basically render it inoperative.  Three out of six existing staff will be laid off and 176 state agencies will not have their state property inventoried. Due to 28% budget cuts under the previous administration, the office has already laid off five of its staff.  Despite this cut, the State Auditor’s office received a perfect audit by the State Examiners.  Bringing the budget to a mere $500,000/year will prevent the office from performing in accordance with good practices.  The reduced budget barely covers the cost of the software and equipment needed to perform audits let alone the modest salaries of the few employees it does have. The proposed General Fund Budget has an increase of about $167 million over last year. Surely there is a way to prioritize in order to adequately fund the essential service to taxpayers provided through the Auditor’s office.  We request that you carefully examine this issue and vote to “level fund” the budget for the State Auditor’s Office in line with most other agencies of the state.  

This time, when trust in government may be at an all-time low, is no time to strip a Constitutional office of its ability to provide accountability to Alabamians.
 
WHAT CAN YOU DO: Because the Senate is reconvening on Monday, May 4th to vote on the General Fund Budget, we need everyone to act quickly.

 
  • Call and email your state senator ASAP and leave them a message asking them to vote to amend the General Fund Budget to “level fund” the State Auditor’s office. No decreases should be made to the Auditor’s already slim budget.  
  • After you contact your senator, call and email for your State Representative as well. Ask them to “level fund” the State Auditor’s office.
Thank you for making a difference.  God bless!

Car Rally To Re-Open Alabama!

***NEWS RELEASE***
Eagle Forum Supports Car Rally In Montogmery

 
WHO:   Stand Up Alabama-Operation Back to Work
 
WHAT:   Car Rally around the Alabama Capitol Building  
 
WHEN: Tuesday, April 21st at 1:00PM 
 
WHERE:  Around the Alabama State Capitol Building
 
HOW:  People can safely participate by remaining in their cars while driving around the capitol to show their support for re-opening. Driving route is posted at www.StandUpAlabama.com.  There will be a microphone set up on the Capitol steps for supporters to express their support for Governor Ivey approving the task force recommendations. To protect the public health and to show respect for others social distancing is highly encouraged. 
 
WHY: Small business owners and citizens of Alabama want to show their support for and give encouragement to Governor Ivey to re-open the economy and lift fines for going back to work.  Alabamians must be allowed to protect both their lives and their livelihoods.  Our rights under the U. S. Constitution demand it.

Eagle Forum Supports
STAND UP ALABAMA – “Operation Back To Work”

 
The Alabama Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force and Subcommittee to Reopen the Economy last Friday released their recommendations to re-open Alabama.  We heartily agree with the report’s statement that “Alabama’s economic vitality is critical to the health and prosperity of her citizens and will play a major role in the eventual defeat of COVID-19.”  We believe that the recommendations for Phase 1 are well thought out, and reasonable.  They allow for businesses to reopen safely with protocols in place to protect the health of their employees and customers. We believe they should be implemented immediately. Many Alabama small businesses and private contractors have not received the promised government financial aid and or have been denied unemployment checks and are now are hanging by a thread.  We must not delay reopening Alabama any longer.  Those business owners and customers who are fearful of contracting the virus can continue to stay in quarantine as long as they choose, but many businesses cannot survive another 2-week closure.
 
In light of our support for the Task Force’s recommendations we are publicly supporting the grassroots-led Stand Up Alabama, “Operation Back to Work” Car Rally on Tuesday, April 21st at 1:00.  We invite everyone to join with us. The goal of the rally is to encourage Governor Ivey to act immediately to reopen Alabama to the greatest extent possible. 
 

“Reopen Alabama Responsibly” Recommendations

Read Task Force’s Recommendations to Re-Open AL Businesses

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth and Rep. Danny Garrett of The Alabama Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force and Subcommittee to Reopen the Economy held a press conference today.  They highlighted their recommendations to the Governor to re-open businesses in Alabama. We heartily agree with the report’s statement that “Alabama’s economic vitality is critical to the health and prosperity of her citizens and will play a major role in the eventual defeat of COVID-19.”   We encourage Governor Ivey to immediately reopen Alabama to the greatest extent possible . 
 
Of utmost importance in these times is the protection of Alabamian’s rights under the U. S. Constitution – rights emanating from God.  We pray for our leaders as they continue to respect our civil liberties, which are not luxuries to be enjoyed just in the good times.  They are essential to who we are as a state and as a nation.   We extend our continued prayers to our Governor and all those in authority over us as they move swiftly and advisedly to reopen our economy and enable us to protect both lives and livelihoods. 

See the link to the complete report from the Alabama Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force and Subcommittee to Reopen the Economy at the bottom of this post. The committee report proposes that the following businesses would be required to adhere to strict guidelines including social distancing practices and safety protocols. 

Open Immediately:
1. Retail Businesses
2. Restaurants
3. Close Contact Services, (Barbershops, nail and hair salons,  tanning salons, tattoo parlors)
4. Child Care Facilities

Open May 1st:
1. Medical/Health Services
2. Casinos, Racetracks, Planetariums
3. Exercise Facilities
4.  Beaches (recreational activities: exercising, walking, fishing)

Open May 15th 
1. Beaches (to sit in chairs or tents in groups of 10 or less but only with people you are already staying with)
2. Some athletic events

“Reopen Alabama Responsibly” Recommendations

Five-time Olympic Medalist Shares: Easter Sunday in the Soviet Union and in the United States

Easter Sunday in the Soviet Union and in the United States
 

Fifty Easters ago, I was in the USSR, a godless state. Sightseeing tours included Christian churches turned into museums. The tour guide adamantly proclaimed in the “museum” that Christianity is a “myth.” 

On that Easter weekend, 1970, a VIP tour of Lenin’s tomb was arranged for the foreign athletes visiting to give figure skating exhibitions. At age 16, already a Christian by choice, I stood in Lenin’s stone tomb in Red Square staring at the Bolshevik revolutionary’s preserved body. He had been dead for decades. Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead and conquered sin and death on Easter, which was illegal to celebrate in the atheist USSR. That State was god. As history records, the socialist enactment is a cult of death. Eyewitnesses are historically recorded observing the tomb of Jesus  empty on Easter Sunday. Jesus is alive! He is Risen! Lenin is still in his tomb, deader than a door nail.

The tour bus passed through the squares where the Bolshevik Revolution was fought. On either Good Friday or Easter Sunday the tour guide in the godless USSR explained that “the blood that was shed during the Bolshevik Revolution was shed to save mankind.” My blood shivered and my mind quaked at her proclamation. I knew that only the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Perfect Son of God, was sacrificed and shed to save mankind.

A propagandist for the USSR and its atheist system of socialism-communism captured my attention on the almost empty plane ride back to New York from Moscow. He smoothly explained that socialism-communism was the perfect system for mankind. 

His propaganda swirled in my head as shiny illusions. I wanted to believe everything the nice man said. What a perfect way to live. The State provides and controls everything, and everyone will have everything they need, and everyone will be equal. He was certain that socialism-communism would one day rule the entire world, and the United States. 

By the time the plane reached New York after this most profound Easter weekend, I knew the man on the plane was wrong! I had been to his nation. I had observed the poverty, the bread lines, the lack of products in common stores, the intense control of its people, the bottomless void when God is declared illegal—-the severe oppression was felt physically. The faces of all the people were hardened with deep sadness—the real face of socialism-communism.

I wanted to kiss the ground of the United States when I saw the American flag outside the plane window before landing in New York. I was free. The man who propagandized me was not. He did not understand liberty or its power under the principles and reverence of the Judeo-Christian God. 

I was an individual created by God. The atheist Soviet Socialists were forced to live in the State collective–the herd. 

I knew that churches in the United States would always remain open. Judeo-Christian God, worshiping God, and celebrating Easter would never be declared illegal. The U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly. 

Half a century later, in America, my beloved land of liberty, this Easter weekend 2020 almost all churches have been ordered closed. Pastors have been threatened with arrest or permanent closure of their churches if they do not obey the State and its influential doctors. These doctors may mean well and are working from appropriate concern, but they have succeeded in acting like man-gods who can conquer all death and are terrorizing citizens. They have powerfully influenced policy to shut down an entire nation, its businesses (except the State chosen ones), schools, its churches and synagogues. The imposition of social distancing should be called inhumane social isolation. 

Americans have a choice to make on Easter Sunday and in the days, weeks and months to come.  Will Americans continue to give up their liberties? Will we become a Democrat Socialist collective herd, or will we remain individuals who promote and preserve life but do not fear death under a system of liberty? 

Lenin’s body remains enshrined and on display in his stone cold tomb in Red Square, Moscow. Lenin is still deader than a door nail. The Marxist ideology that he spawned into being is alive with a foot in the door of America. 

Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. He is alive! Will the Christian ideas that spawned liberty and the value of the individual die this Easter, 2020, and end up in a museum as only a myth?

Judeo-Christian principles are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, declared a MIRACLE by various American Founders.  One Founder of the United States declared, “Miracles do not cluster.”  

It is for freedom that Christ set us free!

Janet Lynn is a Five-time U.S. Figure Skating Champion (1969-1973), Olympic Bronze medalist 1972 and World Silver medalist 1973. She is in the U.S. and World Figure Skating Halls of Fame and is proud to be a Homemaker.

Join Lt Gov Ainsworth This Sunday to Ring The Bell For The Resurrection

A MESSAGE FROM LT. GOVERNOR AINSWORTH

Join me in celebrating the hope, unity, and love shared among all Alabamians during this difficult time by ringing your church bell or a bell at your home this Easter Sunday at noon.
We CAN stand together in unity – even as we’re staying apart.

Matthew 28:6 proclaims the hope that lives with the resurrection of Christ – “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.”

Share this post to help us get the word out!

#RingForTheResurrection

The World Is Quarantined Just Like During The First Passover

(Click to Watch)

Friends,

What is God doing at this time in history worldwide in this Passover week and how would he have us as His people respond?

On Passover night, all Jews in Egypt were on lockdown because of the plague of the First Born. In fact, the very term Passover – meant that the plague Passed Over the Jewish households. This year too, the nation of Israel will all be in total lock-down – for the first time since the plagues. https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/148293/all-of-israel-to-fall-under-full-curfew-as-soon-as-passover-begins/

Watch this as soon as you can because I believe you will want to share it with family and friends. The messengers are from Alabama and are directors of JH Ranch in California which reaches teenagers from across the nation. Don’t miss the short clip after the prayer.

Blessings,
Eunie Smith, President

AL Run-Off Election Moved to July 14th

FIRST, A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT
As a team at Eagle Forum, we are praying for the citizens of our state and nation as we experience this COVID-19 world pandemic together.  We want to encourage you to stay strong and practice sensible measures to keep you and your family safe.  Please follow us on Facebook for Coronavirus updates and miscellaneous posts to inform and amuse you while you hunker down in your homes.

AL RUN-OFF ELECTION IS JULY 14th

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Gov. Kay Ivey is using powers granted to her under the Alabama Emergency Management Act of 1955 to postpone the state’s upcoming primary runoff elections.

“The ability to hold free and fair elections is an inherent right as citizens of the United States and the great state of Alabama, but the safety and wellbeing of Alabama citizens is paramount,” she said.

The elections, which were set to take place on March 31, are being pushed back to July 14. Read more.