Category: Featured

Calls To House Health Committee Needed

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

House Health Committee

Rep. Jim McClendon (Chair)                                                                         Contact

Rep. Mike Millican (Vice-Chair)                                                                  Contact

Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow (Ranking Minority Member)                       Contact

Rep. Elaine Beech                                                                                              Contact

Rep. Donnie Chesteen                                                                                      Contact

Rep. Berry Forte                                                                                                  Contact

Rep. Laura Hall                                                                                                  Contact

Rep. Ed Henry                                                                                                     Contact

Rep. Ron Johnson                                                                                             Contact

Rep. John Knight                                                                                               Contact

Rep. Paul Lee                                                                                                       Contact

Rep. Becky Nordgren                                                                                         Contact

Rep. James Patterson                                                                                        Contact

Rep. Allen Treadaway                                                                                       Contact

Rep. April Weaver                                                                                               Contact

Ask Your Representative To Support HB56

The Alabama House is expected to vote on HB56 tomorrow.  Sponsored by Rep. Micky Hammon, HB56 requires businesses who receive economic development incentives to use e-verify, makes the entry, presence and involvement in economic activity of unauthorized illegal aliens a crime in this state, and requires law enforcement to verify the citizenship during routine enforcement of local, county or state laws.

Eagle Forum urges support for strengthening amendments to make sure that HB56 is at least as strong as Arizona’s illegal immigration bill.

Eagle Forum also urges a YES vote on final passage.

The net ANNUAL cost to Alabamians according to one legislator could be at least $600 million when depressed wages, lost jobs, dollars sent out of the U.S., drug addiction, etc. are added to the $270 m. net annual cost to AL documented at www.fairus.org.  We cannot afford NOT to stop it by attrition through cutting off jobs and benefits.

Go to http://alabamaeagle.org/find-your-legislator to find your state legislator and email or call as indicated.

OR you may leave a message at the House switchboard in Montgomery: (334)242-7600.

Call Your Congressman And Tell Him To Oppose The New Short-Term CR

Erick Erickson over at Red State does a better job explaining why the new short-term CR is a bad idea than I do, but in a nutshell:  House Republicans are terrified of a government shut-down.  They have introduced a new Continuing Resolution to fund the government for three more weeks.  The fact that the new CR has no policy riders to defund Obamacare, NPR or Planned Parenthood is evidence of their fear.  Passing another short-term CR buys the Democrats more time and gives them more leverage.  It also sends a message that the Republicans were not serious about the $61 billion in cuts and defunding policy riders they initially proposed.

There’s another major problem with passing this CR, it will keep things running until April.  The debate over the debt ceiling will take place in April.  Combining these two issues will be disastrous for the Republicans.  It will give them a much weaker position in negotiations, and if they fold on this, it will set the tone for the next two years.

Call your Congressman and tell him to oppose the new short-term CR!
202-224-3121

Legislative Week In Review

This was a busy 3-day week for the Alabama Legislature.  On Tuesday, the House passed one of the most significant pieces of legislation on the Republican agenda–Rep. Greg Canfield’s Rolling Reserve Budget Act–and the Senate voted to end the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP).  Several important pieces of legislation also came out of committee on Tuesday including:

SB 17–Senator Cam Ward’s bill to cut ballot access requirements by half making it easier for independent and third party candidates to get on the ballot.

HB 56–Representative Micky Hammon’s immigration bill which requires businesses who receive economic development incentives to use e-verify, makes the entry, presence and involvement in economic activity of unauthorized illegal aliens a crime in this state, and requires law enforcement to verify the citizenship during routine enforcement of local, county or state laws.

SB112–Legislation by Senator Arthur Orr to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution.

On Wednesday,  the House passed an amendment to the Alabama Constitution protecting the right to a secret ballot in employee representation (HB64).

Thursday ended the legislative week with the Senate passing the Rolling Reserve Budget Act and the House passing the DROP legislation.  There was, however, some confusion with the DROP legislation in the House regarding the date DROP would end.  The enacting legislation appears to require the state to give participants 90 days to get out of the program, and the legislation the House was considering ended the program on April 1, 2011.  Some legislators were concerned the bill could be thrown out in court because of the failure to give the 90 day notice.  Rep. Harry Shiver introduced an amendment to move the end date to June 1, 2011.  While that amendment passed, it was later stripped.

Governor Bentley signed the Rolling Reserve Budget Act into law at 11:30 this morning.

Next week is Spring Break for the legislators.

GOP Is Poised To Drop DROP This Week

I’m hearing reports from multiple sources who say the DROP bill will be on the Governor’s desk by Thursday of this week.  The Governor’s proposed budget hinges on the elimination of the DROP program to avoid layoffs.  For a good review of what the DROP program is and why it needs to be repealed, check out this fact sheet from the ALGOP.  The Alabama Policy Institute also has a good comprehensive study on the program.

Legislation Will Bring More Transparency To Open Alabama

Most states have websites where their state checkbook, budget, etc is posted online. Alabama’s version of that site is called Open Alabama. The problem is that Open Alabama isn’t all that open.  Like the state’s online legislative information system, it is incredibly difficult for the average person to navigate and use.  Most people without a degree in accounting aren’t going to be able to read and understand the data.

In an effort to address this problem and thus increase transparency regarding state spending, Rep. Paul DeMarco has introduced H.B. 25 the Fiscal Transparency Act.  The press release below gives a good overview of what H.B. 25 does and why.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE PAUL DEMARCO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MONDAY, MARCH 7, 2011

Rep. DeMarco Introduces Fiscal Transparency Act to Mandate Better Reporting of State’s Finances

BIRMINGHAM – State Representative Paul DeMarco today announced the introduction of the Alabama Fiscal Transparency Act, a bill that will require more accurate and timely reporting of the state’s fiscal situation by the state Finance Department.

Currently, reporting of the state’s finances lacks proper transparency, Representative DeMarco said.

“State Agencies, local school systems and the general public have no official source of information to monitor budget conditions and provide early warning whenever proration becomes likely,” Representative DeMarco said. “In other states, official monthly financial reports exist to meet this need. It’s time our state Finance Department provide transparent monthly reporting of budget conditions within state government.”

At the start of the annual budget process, the Finance Department and the Legislative Fiscal Office each estimate the revenues available for expenditure from the General Fund and the Education Trust Fund. These forecasts are used to developing the final budgets, which are required by law to be balanced. However, these estimates are not updated periodically thereafter to track whether actual revenues, and those expected, are sufficient to finance all of the appropriations enacted for the year.

House Bill 25 remedies this shortcoming by 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. This increased transparency will allow government agencies and the public to monitor the condition of the state’s budgets, making it easier to prepare for budget cuts, should they become necessary.

While this proposed legislation amounts to advanced accountability, it will not be expensive to administer, Representative DeMarco said.

“Appropriations are already monitored to maintain control over expenditure authorizations, and expenditures are monitored as they are made,” he said. “A number of these detailed reports already are posted monthly, but there is no straightforward report that brings the complicated details together to focus on the overall condition of the General Fund and Education Trust Fund. The Alabama Fiscal Transparency Act will cure this oversight by requiring such reports every month.”

The bill is scheduled to be before the House State Government Committee on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. in Room 601 of the Alabama State House.