EF Applauds AL Campus Free Speech Bill HB498

Thursday, April 25, 2019



Eagle Forum of Alabama is proud to endorse House Bill 498, the Alabama Campus Free Speech Act. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Matt Fridy, R-Montevallo, one of the strongest voices in the Alabama legislature in support of individual liberty and our Constitutional principles of limited government. Historically, Alabama’s public institutions of higher education have embraced a commitment to free speech and expression. The freedom to respectfully debate opinions and ideas with those with whom we disagree is a bedrock principle of American liberty. Public universities have been called “peculiarly the marketplace of ideas” because of their unique place in the development of the hearts and minds of our Republic. However, in recent decades, universities around the country have seen the erosion of this cherished freedom through ambiguous or overbroad policy codes, erroneously titled free-speech zones, and an inability of the university administration to protect and uphold these rights on campus.

It is a matter of statewide concern that all public institutions of higher education provide adequate safeguards for the First Amendment rights of students. This bill will empower Alabama public university administrators to ensure that their campuses promote free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation by students and faculty across the state of Alabama. The bill will accomplish this in three ways. First, it will eliminate overbroad and ambiguous speech policies that infringe on expression protected by the US and Alabama constitutions, checked by constitutional limitations. Second, it will eliminate Free-Speech-Zones. And third, it will empower the universities to protect free expression by members of the campus community from unlawful violations by other members of the campus community.

No issue is more important to Eagle Forum, or to America, than education. The growing threats to liberty of thought and expression in our public university systems are only the most disturbing symptoms of a more general decline in American education. Eagle Forum President Eunie Smith says, “America’s founding values cannot survive unless they are taught in our schools at every level.” Protecting freedom of speech at Alabama’s public colleges and universities is a first step in the direction of a much-needed revival of American education. Eagle Forum of Alabama stands strongly behind HB 498 and calls on the citizens of this great state to support this timely measure.

The Truth About Gambling That You Will Not Hear From The Lottery Proponents

2019 Alabama Lottery Bill

By Danny Hubbard (Researcher, Author and Christian Radio Co-Host)

Here we go again! We fought off gambling years ago and it continues to raise its’ ugly head again. This time the bill was introduced by Senator Jim McClendon, who happens to be one of the state senators who represents a portion of my county, Talladega County. I have to say, “shame on you Senator McClendon” and any politician who supports the Lottery.

I was told that the people in certain districts want the Lottery. People in certain districts may want prostitution to become legal, but that does not mean our elected officials should ask for a referendum to legalize prostitution. Is there no moral fiber left in America? Alabama?

You will not hear the Lottery proponents talk about what is within this document, because the facts in this document do not paint a pretty picture of the affects the Lottery WILL have on Alabamians, if it passes.

Alabama is considered one of the top 2 conservative states in America and 3rd most Evangelical state in the union. Let us show Alabama, America and the World, that we will maintain these leading stats by voting against the Lottery.

Alabama is also ranked 4th as the poorest state in America. It has been proven in virtually every state that has legalized the Lottery, the majority of participants in the Lottery are the lower income minorities who buy most of the tickets. To vote for the Lottery for the sake of taxes, economic growth, satisfying the government spending, etc. is to say to these lower income families: “We really do not care how it affects your family because we can help solve our budget crisis in state government with the Lottery income”. Let me put it another way. Would you be willing to tell your family, “Family, as the head of this household, I have decided to spend most of our income on Lottery tickets to win $30 or more at a winning ratio of 1:2944”. (stoppredatorygambling.org-Lottery is a tax). You might say, “Has Dad lost his marbles?” But that is exactly what happens with many thousands of families across America who spend most of their money on lottery tickets which is needed for food, clothing, shoes, etc..

Here are some quick facts about the effects of gambling. Playing the lottery could lead to compulsive gambling. You will not become a gambling addict if you never gamble. (Casino Watch.com)

  •  60% of those addicted to gambling will commit crimes[1]
  • 20% of gambling addicts commit or attempt suicide[2]
  • 63% of gambling addicts are alcoholics[3]
  • 20% of addicted gamblers have filed for bankruptcy[4]
  • 50% will abuse spouses and children[5]
  • 20% of the homeless are gambling addicts[6]
  • 50% of gambling addicts will divorce[7]
  • The average (gambling) debt is between $63,000 and $110,000[8]

Here are some more facts about gambling and the affects it has on families and societies as a whole. This is not to say that everyone who buys a lottery ticket will fall into one of these categories, but the possibility of someone who begins to play the lottery has the potential to become addicted to it.

  • “The rate of attempted suicide among compulsive gamblers is 200 times the national average.”[9]
  • “More than 53 percent reported having been divorced in the National Opinion Research Center survey. Multiple failed marriages also are higher among gamblers than the population in general.”[10]
  • “Problem gamblers are 10 times more likely to be involved in a hospital emergency room [for treatment] than non-gamblers.”[11]
  • “Research shows that if you have a gambling problem you will likely have an alcohol problem as well, and a drug problem.”[12]
  • “for every dollar raised for the state by a lottery an additional 52 cents must be taken in to pay the expenses of raising that dollar”.[13]
  • “Nearly all of the lottery gambling was paid for by spending less on non-gambling items, including clothing, food, and rent. These numbers are the average over all low income households.[14]
  • Lotteries are exempt from the Federal Trade Commission truth-in-advertising laws. Instead, the states are self-regulating, allowing lotteries to get away with misleading and predatory advertising far beyond what private businesses are allowed. [15]
  • The poorest third of households buy half of all lotto tickets, Duke University study in the 1980s.[16]
  • Most lottery tickets are bought in places with more minorities. Nationwide, African Americans spend five times more on lottery tickets than white people.[17]

Will the lottery bring in revenue to the state? Sure, it will. However, how many families are worth breaking up, how many deaths are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to sacrifice your family and subject them to the potential disasters mentioned above? If so, you do not have much respect nor regard for your family!

The gambling society will have millions of dollars to put into advertising the Lottery on TV, Radio and the Printed Press. They will paint the pretty picture of how rich you can get by buying a lottery ticket and how it will turn your life around. There is some truth in this last statement, for it could very well turn your life around and upside down.

Why would anyone want to subject their family to the potential problems that gambling could bring about within their lives and the lives of their loved ones? I hope you will call your state senators, state house representatives, friends and family and tell them to vote NO to the lottery in Alabama. We have provided you with FACTS about the lottery and gambling. We hope you will say NO to the Lottery and help us fight against the evils that the lottery brings to our lives.

P.S. For those of you who believe the Bible is truly God’s Word: 

Proverbs 13:11 “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.” In other words, God blesses the labor of our hands but will cause vain ways of obtaining wealth to become less and become a loss. Gambling is pure vanity and the Lottery is gambling.

[1] California Council on Problem Gambling

[2] National Council on Problem Gambling

[3] California Council on Problem Gambling

[4] Prof. John Warren Kindt Bankruptcy Developments Journal, volume 19, No.1

[5] National Research Council, The Guardian

[6] Atlantic City Rescue Mission and Association of Gospel Rescue Missions in Kansas

[7] National Opinion Research Center survey

[8] CT Department of Mental Health

[9] 9/6/99 The Advocate

[10] Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc., 5/22/06

[11] www.ctnow.com, 10/19/04


[13] NASPL sales data

[14] National Bureau of Economic Research

[15] Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission

[16] Duke University study in the 1980s

[17] VOX on the Lottery 1/13/16



Eagle Forum always advocates budget reforms rather than tax increases.   A gas tax increase is especially burdensome on those with low or fixed incomes, but it raises the cost of living for everyone in our state.

The bill sponsors promised during floor procedures to allow amendments that could lighten the tax burden to be brought up and debated during the regular session which resumes next week.  We will be monitoring these possible changes and provide timely updates. 


Beginning on October 1st, 2019, consumers will begin paying an extra $0.06/gallon.  The next year it will increase by $0.02/gallon and the following year another $0.02/gallon.  By 2023 consumers will be paying a total of $0.10/gallon tax.


Beginning on October 1, 2023, and on June 1 every other year thereafter an additional $0.01 tax per gallon will be added IF the National Highway Construction Cost Index (NHCCI) goes up.  If the Index stays the same the $0.01 tax will not be added that year.  If the Index goes down there is a possibility that the tax could decrease by $0.01.  Historical data shows the Index usually increases unless there is a recession.   


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle: $100.00

Battery electric vehicle: $200. 00 

Every fourth year beginning July 1, 2023, there will be a $3.00 increase in these fees.


Money collected from this new tax will be distributed as follows: Alabama Department of Transportation: 66.67%, Counties: 25%, Municipalities 8.33%


Alabama House of Representatives  Scroll down to “Roll 18” on the right side; click that to see how the Representatives voted.

Alabama Senate  Scroll down to “Roll 28” on the right side; click that to see how the Senate voted. 
We encourage the legislature to find ways to cut spending on non-essential programs to counter this tax increase.  We encourage Alabama taxpayers to contact their legislators with recommendations for cuts. 

Gov Ivey Postpones The Vote For New Common Core Math Standards!


Click to watch 1 minute clip regarding this decision.

The Governor has heard our concerns about the proposed 2019 Alabama math standards and has postponed the state school board’s March 14th vote. In her letter to our State Superintendent she states, “Despite the thorough work of the Committee, there continues to be questions arising from concerned citizens regarding some of the details in the proposed 2019 Alabama Course of Study: Mathematics. I believe their questions and concerns deserve further consideration and careful review, particularly regarding references to “Common Core” standards.  Therefore, I am requesting that you withhold any recommendation on the newly proposed Alabama Course of Study: Mathematics until further review is completed.”

Eagle Forum of Alabama thanks you for your calls to the state school board and the governor. We will continue working on this issue and will keep you updated.  To see documents which we provided to all state board members on the failure of Common Core math in Alabama and the nation and to see our recommendation to replace Common Core with proven standards, go here. 


Eagle Forum of Alabama Praises the New Alabama Forfeiture Accountability System

Click to watch Rep. Arnold Mooney explain the new system and why it’s needed during the February 28th press conference. 

Eagle Forum and Eagle Forum of Alabama applaud and support the efforts of the Alabama District Attorneys Association and all other participants in voluntarily creating the Alabama Forfeiture Accountability System.
“Today’s announcement of an interactive and searchable civil asset forfeiture database is a cause for celebration and a move in the right direction for all Alabamians,” said Eunie Smith, President of Eagle Forum and Eagle Forum of Alabama. “All our efforts in government should be to increase freedom and protect the individual rights of our citizens. This important action taken by the Alabama District Attorneys Association will permit the Alabama Legislature to study and evaluate civil asset forfeiture in our state and determine any action that must be taken to protect the rights of Alabamians.”



HERITAGE FOUNDATION:  Alabama is taking important steps to bring greater transparency to civil forfeiture, the much-criticized practice that allows property to be seized even without evidence of a crime.

Starting Friday, officials across Alabama will document crucial data on civil forfeitures. This data will ultimately be available to the public in a searchable report, providing the clearest picture yet of how Alabama law enforcement agencies are using their civil forfeiture powers. Read more.

Rebuttal letter to AL State Board of Education from Eunie Smith regarding email from Jeremy Zelkowski, PhD

February 28, 2019

To: Members of the Alabama Board of Education

From: Eunie Smith, President, Leslie Whitcomb, Education Chairman

Re: Clarification after Mr. Zelkowski email

Each of you recently received an email correspondence from Jeremy Zelkowski, PhD regarding his views on a one-page flyer distributed by Eagle Forum about the proposed 2019 Math Course of Study.

The fact that Alabama prior to Common Core was ranked 25th in the nation by Education Week “Quality Counts” (QC) was touted in 2011 by the Alabama Department of Education. It included a ranking of 25th in the nation “based on standards, assessments and accountability”. The 2009 Alabama Math Course of Study was rated B+ by Fordham (before they committed to promote Common Core). QC certainly cannot be directly compared with NAEP.

Graphs #1 and #2 (see below) which we provided to you illustrate that Alabama NAEP scores, while low, were on an upward trajectory and improving every year prior to Common Core. With the advent of Common Core a downward trend began so that by 2017 the previous progress was practically erased. Graph #3 (see below)  ACT National Math Scores show a similar scenario nationally. Reversing an upward trend since Common Core implementation, the whole nation has gradually dropped below the 2003 ACT score.

Therefore, we remain convinced that removing all vestiges of Common Core and moving to non Common Core standards which have shown success is the only wise course of action. In consulting with nationally recognized mathematicians who were successful standards writers we were directed to Minnesota with its non-Common Core standards. It is at the top. Please see the two documents we provided to you. In the NAEP grade 8 state math score Minnesota ranks second and Alabama ranks next to last among the states. In the 2017 ACT ranking of those states which test 100% of their students, Minnesota was first and Alabama was third from last.

Apparently, Dr. Zelkowski has not reviewed our website to see the charts referenced above and the five page academic review with cites from the Alabama Math Proposed Math Course of Study by Dr. James Milgram. He only gave you his incorrect and biased opinion of Dr. Milgram.

The question which Dr. Zelkowksi fails to answer for you is, “Where is the empirical basis for the proposed new high school Course of Study?” It is the obligation of those who propose this radical new approach to provide empirical data to show it has been implemented effectively somewhere, anywhere, at a comparable scale before imposing it on the students of Alabama for the next six years. (Dr. Milgram noted the failure of this approach in the Soviet Union, which Dr. Zelkowski does not dispute in his email.)

Dr. Zelkowski’s claim that Milgram “has long been critical of any standards-based movement in math education” is flatly false. In fact, Dr. Milgram assisted in the development of the successful California mathematics standards adopted in 1997. His expertise was acknowledged by the Common Core writers who asked that he participate in the review of the original Common Core Math Standards. He found they were not adequate and refused to sign off on approving them. He is not against standards, only poor ones!

NCTM and its state affiliates with which Dr. Zelkowsky is associated were among the main backers of Common Core math and we now have the results to show that they were wrong. Their view has resulted in disproportionate harm to the lowest performing students according to the highly respected NAEP results included in the material presented to you. There is no basis for trusting in the expertise of people who wish to continue a failed approach that they recommended.

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Institute were strong backers of, not only Common Core, but of a single national curriculum and national test. That is why their “evaluations” are negative toward any alternatives to Common Core. As with NCTM, the results of Common Core math have shown that Fordham was wrong and there is no reason to trust their curricular judgment.

Again, we urge you to review the data we provided to you, to vote NO on the proposed 2019 Math Course of Study, and to direct its replacement with sound, proven standards. We believe that all Alabama students are capable of outstanding achievement if teachers are given teachable tools.

Eunie Smith, President
[email protected]

Alabama Forfeiture Accountability System

February 28, 2019

For Immediate Release

Eagle Forum and Eagle Forum of Alabama applaud and support the efforts of the Alabama District Attorneys Association and all other participants in voluntarily creating the Alabama Forfeiture Accountability System.

“Today’s announcement of an interactive and searchable civil asset forfeiture database is a cause for celebration and a move in the right direction for all Alabamians,” said Eunie Smith, President of Eagle Forum and Eagle Forum of Alabama. “All our efforts in government should be to increase freedom and protect the individual rights of our citizens. This important action taken by the Alabama District Attorneys Association will permit the Alabama Legislature to study and evaluate civil asset forfeiture in our state and determine any action that must be taken to protect the rights of Alabamians.”

Eagle Forum of Alabama Executive Director Becky Gerritson will join the Press Conference called to announce the measure at 2:30 PM today in the Historic House Chamber at the State Capitol.

Becky Gerritson, Executive Director
[email protected]

Need Your Help:  Ask AL School Board to Replace Common Core Math March 14th

Alabama Must Get Rid of Common Core Math &
Replace it With a Proven, High Quality Math Curriculum

Alabama public schools have an OBLIGATION to provide a sound education for all students.

The proposed Alabama 2019 Course of Study Mathematics acknowledges that “Like more than 40 other states across the nation, the 2019 Alabama Course of Study: Mathematics builds on the Common Core State Standards.” This proposal doubles down on the Common Core approach, which has been a historic failure in our state as well as in the rest of the country.

In the years before Alabama implemented Common Core in math in 2012, our students were making gradual progress in raising math achievement, including on the respected National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The improvement in math stopped after Common Core—in fact, our students are scoring lower on the most recent NAEP (2017) than before Common Core was implemented! (Attached Graph #1 shows the average annual math gain of our 8th grade students before and after Common Core—the difference is like night and day!)

Common Core was supposed to improve Alabama math education but on the most recent ACT math test (2018), our high school students scored lower than all but three states. Similarly, Alabama ranks nearly last among states in mathematics on the 2017 NAEP test (only one other state performs slightly worse).

The greatest negative impact of Common Core in Alabama has been on average and lower students, whose parents are often not able to hire tutors to make up for the flaws of Common Core. The percent of Alabama students attaining at least a basic grasp of mathematics was increasing before Common Core according to the NAEP test, but it has declined since Common Core was adopted. (Attached Graph #2)

Common Core’s lack of success in Alabama is not unique. Before Common Core was adopted by nearly all states, national ACT math scores were slowly increasing but after Common Core the national scores declined! (Attached Graph #3) Alabama’s math achievement problems since we adopted Common Core are not the fault of our students or our teachers, nor are they due to insufficient funding—they are due to Common Core.

The proposed Alabama 2019 Course of Study Mathematics not only leaves Common Core in place in the elementary grades, but it goes beyond Common Core to recommend an even more radical and experimental high school mathematics course sequence. Instead of the standard high school math courses Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, etc., it proposes starting with a combined Geometry with Statistics course, followed by Intermediate Algebra with Probability, and other unusual courses and math content. Internationally renowned Stanford mathematician R. James Milgram reviewed this new high school course of study and was shocked. He writes: “In summary, here is my very strong recommendation. Abandon this approach…It is astounding that anyone with any real understanding of mathematics could possibly think to combine [Geometry with Statistics] into a single course. They have literally nothing in common, especially at the K-12 level…ARE YOU SURE YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THIS? Let me reiterate my recommendation in the strongest terms. Put your current document in your circular file.”

Instead of staying with the failed Common Core or adopting the untested proposed high school curriculum, why doesn’t Alabama adopt a proven math curriculum? Minnesota never replaced its respected math curriculum with Common Core and scores first among the states that administer the ACT math test to all high school students. Alabama should consider adopting the Minnesota math curriculum standards. In our Republic’s federalist system, the states are to be laboratories of democracy where we can learn from one another.

Our State Board of Education has a golden OPPORTUNITY to take our students from frustration to first place alongside Minnesota. Please encourage Board Members including Gov. Ivey to adopt the proven Minnesota math standards and ditch Common Core at their meeting on March 14th.


Eunie Smith volunteers as President of Eagle Forum of Alabama and Leslie Whitcomb as Education Chairman of Eagle Forum of Alabama