Category: Issues

Piers Morgan SCOLDS Eagle Forum Exec Director in Abortion Debate+ Week 9 Legislative Update

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Piers Morgan Slams Eagle Forum Executive Director on Good Morning Britain T.V. Show

Dear Members,

We are heading into week 10 of the legislative session. I was on Good Morning Britain (like our Good Morning America) this morning with Piers Morgan to talk about the Alabama abortion bill that was signed into law last week. He harshly scolded me for being “pro life” and for supporting capital punishment. He was clear in his position that he would rather kill babies than criminals. Watch here.

Only a few weeks left before the session ends. The statewide lottery bill is up for a final vote in the House tomorrow. See other details on bills below.

Thanks for your support, Patriots!

Becky Gerritson
Executive Director, Eagle Forum of Alabama

LEGISLATIVE WEEK 9 (May 14-16)

LOTTERY (SB220)

DESCRIPTION: Proposing an amendment to Section 65 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to establish an Alabama Lottery statewide; to provide for the sale of lottery tickets including instant tickets and multi-state lottery games; to provide for the distribution of lottery proceeds; and to require the Legislature to pass general laws to implement the amendment.

STATUS: This bill has passed the Senate and is awaiting final passage on the House Floor. Vote is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21st.

EF’s POSITION: We oppose this bill for these reasons.

ACTION: Find and contact your representative and ask for a “No” vote on the lottery bill SB220.

ALABAMA HUMAN LIFE PROTECTION ACT HB314
It PASSED and was signed into law on May 15th! A special Thank you to our legislature and our governor.

BORN ALIVE “GIANNA’S LAW” HB491

DESCRIPTION: This bill is cited as Gianna’s Law. This bill would require a physician to exercise reasonable care to preserve the life of a child born alive after an abortion or attempted abortion.

STATUS: On Wednesday, May 8, it passed out of the House Health Committee and was placed on the House Regular Calendar.

EF’S POSITION: We support it.

 

 

CAMPUS FREE SPEECH BILL (HB498)

DESCRIPTION: This bill would require state two-year and four-year colleges and universities to protect and uphold free speech rights for students and faculty, and would provide a cause of action for violations. See Eagle Forum’s press release here which describes why we need this bill and what it will accomplish.

STATUS: Waiting for a vote on the House floor.

EF’S POSITION: We support this bill. (EF’s 2019 priority bill)

APPOINTED STATE SCHOOL BOARD (SB397)

DESCRIPTION: This bill would propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to rename the State Board of Education as the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education and to provide that the members of the commission are appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate.

STATUS: It passed the Senate on May 16th and is headed to the House Education Policy Committee.

EF’s POSITION: We believe that elections are the best way to hold officials accountable.

REMOVE RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION FOR VACCINES (HB592)

This bill has been pulled and will go no further.

YOGA BILL (HB449)

DESCRIPTION: This bill would authorize local boards of education to offer yoga to students in grades K to 12.

STATUS: Passed the House Education Committee on May 15th and was placed on the House Regular Calendar-waiting for a vote.

EF’S POSITION: Several people testified at the hearing about Yoga’s spiritual aspects which pushes it too close to teaching religion. Eagle Forum also testified about how the meditation aspects of Yoga cannot be removed from the exercises themselves. We hold the position that if parents want their children to engage in the practice of yoga that they do it on their own time and not in public schools with tax payer money.

ALABAMA RELEASED TIME CREDIT ACT (HB291)

DESCRIPTION: Relating to public K-12 education; to authorize local boards of education to allow released time for student participation in religious instruction in an elective course for purposes of satisfying certain curriculum requirements in public schools.

STATUS: It has passed the full house and passed out of the Senate Education Policy committee. It is on the Senate Regular Calendar and ready for debate and a vote on the Senate floor.

EF’S POSITION: We support it.

APPOINTED SUPERINTENDENTS (SB222)

DESCRIPTION: Under existing law, a county superintendent of education may be elected if authorized under a local law or amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. This bill would require all county superintendents to be appointed by the county board of education, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. ( ALL local county superintendents will be appointed NOT elected by the people.)

STATUS: This bill has already passed the Senate, has been placed on the House Regular Calendar, and is awaiting a floor vote for final passage.

EF’S POSITION: We oppose this bill as we believe elections are the best way to hold public officials accountable.

ACTION: Find and contact your House member and ask them to vote NO on SB222.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA SB236

DESCRIPTION: This bill would exempt from the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana a person with a qualifying condition who has a valid medical cannabis card for the medical use of cannabis. EF has no problems with people using CBD oil for their health as it has been shown to be effective especially in pediatric epilepsy cases. Almost every state that has allowed for medical marijuana has opened the door to full blown recreational use.

STATUS: This bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House Judiciary Committee but no hearing/reading has been scheduled.

EF’s POSITION: We oppose this bill. (EF’s 2019 priority) Here is a link to more marijuana information from our national Eagle Forum website. View marijuana flier here.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING BILLS

DESCRIPTIONS:
HB260 This bill would require health care facilities to require certain employees to receive human trafficking training. There was a public hearing but there has not been a vote in committee yet.

HB261 This bill would require any trade school or junior college offering certain truck driving courses to offer training on the recognition, prevention, and reporting of human trafficking. This bill was strongly supported by Truckers Against Trafficking. It passed out of committee and is awaiting debate and vote on the House floor.

HB262 This bill would allow the disclosure of a certain person’s photograph after an arrest for prostitution. The idea behind this bill is to focus on the “Johns” i.e. those who are caught soliciting a prostitute. Their arrest pictures will become public record in hopes of detouring their behavior. HB262 passed out of committee and has been placed on the House Regular Calendar.

HB264. Under current law, the penalty for a first violation of failing to post human trafficking hotline information in certain establishments is a warning, and the penalty for a subsequent violation is $25. This bill would increase the penalty to $250 for a first violation and $2,500 for a subsequent violation.

EF’s POSITION: We support all of these bills. (EF’s 2019 priority bills)

BANNING FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (HB421)

DESCRIPTION: This bill would establish the crime of female genital mutilation, would provide criminal penalties, and would provide an exception only under limited circumstances when medically necessary.

STATUS: On Wednesday, May 1, it passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and was placed on the House Regular Calendar – waiting for a vote on the floor.

EF’S POSITION: We support it. (EF 2019 priority bill)

ACTION: Find and contact your House member and tell him/her to vote “YES” on HB421.

VIEW PREVIOUS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
Week 8
Week 7
Abortion Bill Email Alert
Week 6
Weeks 4-5
Week 3
Weeks 1-2

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AL Abortion Bill Is Hanging In The Balance–Vote Is Tuesday, May 14th

ALABAMA ABORTION BILL ALERT!
What you need to know about the Alabama Human Life Protection Act.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNwPzQMAJL0&fbclid=IwAR2W6gQg152oAcpXK8ARxw4Op9KLY0ac71yGI1bThtm14qO93DA-Vma6nSI

PURPOSE OF THE ALABAMA HUMAN LIFE PROTECTION ACT
HB314 bans abortion for any reason EXCEPT for the life of the mother.  The bill’s purpose is to establish personhood of the unborn child and to challenge Roe v Wade which ruled that the unborn is not a person and does not deserve protection under the U.S. Constitution.

CURRENT STATUS OF THE BILL
HB314 passed the AL House of Representatives in its original form on April 30th.  It was in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, May 8th and Sen. Whatley (R-Auburn) added an amendment which allows abortions for rape or incest.  The amendment was passed in committee by a voice vote and was added to the bill.  The amended bill came to the senate floor on May 9th for debate and a final vote.  There was a motion to “table” the amendment which was quickly accepted.  (“Table” means to remove the amendment.)  So now the bill is back to its original form which is where it needs to be to challenge Roe V. Wade.  The Senate then adjourned for the weekend.  They will come back on Tuesday, May 14th at 4:00PM to vote on the bill.  We know they will try to add the amendment back on before the final vote.
 
WHY WE CAN’T ALLOW AMENDMENTS TO BE ADDED
The bill’s purpose is to establish personhood.  If an amendment is added for rape or incest then that destroys the personhood argument.  It would be inconsistent to say that the unborn child IS a person, but that if he is conceived as a result of rape or incest, he is NOT a person.  An amendment would destroy the bill’s chance to challenge Roe V. Wade.  If we are going to abolish abortion, WE MUST PASS A CLEAN BILL.
 
WHY THE BILL IS HANGING IN THE BALANCE
Almost half of the republican senators and all of the democrats will try to add an exemption for rape and incest.   Before Tuesday, May 14th, we must convince the republican senators to pass a clean bill.  THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU!  (Remember, it was a republican who added the amendment in committee!)
 
CONTACT YOUR SENATOR NOW
Find your senator.  Contact your senator.
Just leave a message saying: “Please pass HB314-the Alabama Human Life Protection Act (or the abortion bill) in its original form with NO amendments!”  It’s as easy as that.  You won’t have to debate anyone or explain anything-it can be as simple as one sentence.  They are waiting to hear from you.  I can assure the pro-abortion folks will be burning up their lines telling them to add the amendment.  We must out-number them!
 
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EF Applauds AL Campus Free Speech Bill HB498

Thursday, April 25, 2019

****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

EAGLE FORUM OF ALABAMA SUPPORTS THE CAMPUS FREE SPEECH BILL

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.

Alabama Workforce-Data Bills Threaten Student, Family Privacy

What with manipulation of currency and theft of jobs, China is held in fairly low repute, especially down South. But some Alabama legislators seem enamored of at least one part of the Chinese system – the one that compiles enormous amounts of data on citizens, beginning when they’re toddlers and continuing through their careers, and swaps this data back and forth among various government agencies for government purposes. One might expect this kind of dangerous nonsense from, say, California, but . . . Alabama?

Parents and citizens are alarmed at two companion bills (SB 153 and HB  97) currently moving through the legislature to create a massive centralized warehouse of education and workforce data. This system would be called ANSWERS, or the Alabama Network of Statewide Workforce and Education-Related Statistics, which would be administered by a new Department of Labor bureaucracy called the Office of Education and Workforce Statistics (the “Office”).

The reach of ANSWERS would be sweeping. Operated by the Office, the system would combine education data (beginning in pre-K) and workforce data to provide information on the effectiveness of educational and workforce-training programs, and to assess “the availability of a skilled workforce to address current and future demands of business and industry.” (The bills don’t explain how the government can predict the “future demands of business and industry”; the Soviet Union tried it, but without much success.) The data could then be analyzed for whatever purposes the bureaucrats come up with, and used for “research” which, if history is any guide, will be ignored if it doesn’t support what the bureaucrats want to do.

How would this work? An Advisory Board would be established to identify the types of data that certain listed governmental entities would have to dump into the centralized warehouse. The statutory (and non-exclusive) list of such data sources includes all education agencies in the state, from pre-school through four-year universities – plus the Departments of Labor, Commerce, and Veterans’ Affairs. So these billions of data points on practically all Alabama citizens would be centralized into one repository to be sifted and shifted by central planners.

But surely the Advisory Board will be constructed so as to protect the interests of children and their parents. Not exactly. Of the 24 members, 22 must be either politicians, bureaucrats, or representatives of specific entities such as higher-education systems. One must represent private industry and know something about data-security (the bills’ only nod to security concerns), and the last shall be a lonely “representative of the public” (not necessarily a parent). The fix, ladies and gentlemen, is in.

The privacy concerns with ANSWERS are staggering. For one thing, although certain proponents have suggested the data would all be de-identified, the bills clearly contemplate the presence of personally identifiable data (by requiring “security clearance . . . for individuals with access to personally identifiable data”). Indeed, the bills specify that the Office would be considered an “authorized representative” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the only point of such a designation is to be entitled to receive students’ personally identifiable without parental consent or even notification.

Even if all data were to be de-identified, data can be frequently re-identified – especially when there are hundreds of data points on each individual to enable data-matching. And the bills even specify that the Office is to “link educational, workforce, and workforce training data from multiple sources through quality matching.” In such a vast repository, anonymization will be difficult if not impossible.

No more comforting is the bills’ requirement that the system comply with FERPA and other unspecified privacy laws. Five years ago the Obama administration gutted FERPA by regulation, thus enabling almost unlimited disclosure of personally identifiable student data as long as certain terms are used to justify the disclosure. Do the bills’ sponsors not know this? If not, what are they doing writing legislation that relies on FERPA “protections”?

The bills require no particular system of data-security, leaving that up to the Office. But the Office will have an unenviable task, given that this wealth of extremely sensitive information (including student education data, Social Security numbers from the Labor Department, family income information from student-loan programs, and on and on) will be conveniently assembled into one neat package and therefore made enormously attractive to hackers. One might as well assemble all the crown jewels of Europe into one room and hope jewel thieves don’t notice.

If enacted, ANSWERS would be among the most intrusive longitudinal data systems in the country – only 16 states and D.C. have such an Orwellian system. But most Alabama parents understand that the government has no right to collect highly personal data on their children, or on adults for that matter, and give it to other agencies to track their journey through the workforce and through life. It is none of the government’s business. One would have expected Alabama officials to understand this as well.

An equally fundamental, and troubling, aspect of this contemplated data repository is its adoption of the statist “socialization,” workforce-development philosophy of education. Traditional education in America has been designed to develop each individual to the full extent of his talents, to expose him to the best of human thought; statist education is designed to train him to be a cog in the economic machine. Only if the State adopts the latter philosophy does it need a data repository to track citizens and see how the training is working out.

Fortunately, Alabama State Superintendent Michael Sentance has a strong history in a true educational system rather than a workforce-training system. His experience as Secretary of Education in Massachusetts back when that state educated children better than any other state in the nation should prepare him to recognize the dangers of the ANSWERS network.

In public statements so far, Sentance has focused on the critical problems with data security. The parents of Alabama students are counting on him to go further – to reel in the dangerous inclination of the all-powerful State to collect data on free-born citizens and use it to analyze them as though rats in a laboratory. If Sentance comes out against ANSWERS, that ill-advised scheme will probably go down. Alabama is not China. Supt. Sentance can ensure that it doesn’t become so.

Eunie Smith is President of Eagle Forum of Alabama