Constitution

The U.S. Constitution was given to us by brilliant men who sought God’s wisdom in the creation of our nation.  They came to this land for religious freedom.  The Constitution they left for us is not an evolving document, but one with timeless truths.  We oppose any Constitutional Convention designed to change it.

We believe that any rewrite of the Alabama Constitution by means of a constitutional convention jeopardizes every individual right now upheld in this state.  Alabama’s citizens enjoy stronger protection of our liberty under our state constitution than under the U.S. Constitution.  Those rights are at risk if special interest groups are allowed to start anew.  The Alabama Constitution has been recompiled article by article.  We supported that method.  The following must always be protected in our Constitution:

  • Balanced budget requirements that allow no deficit spending
  • A ban on increase of property or income taxes without a referendum of the people
  • Religious liberty protections
  • A ban on the expansion of gambling in the state.

Home

Support Eagle Forum of Alabama Become a Member Volunteer The mission of Eagle Forum of Alabama is to equip and activate citizens with timely information from a conservative, constitutional point of view on public policy issues that affect the family. Events Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act (VCAP) What You Need To Know

Recommendations for Voting on the State-Wide Ballot Amendments READ MORE Below are explanations for the state-wide amendments that everyone will see on their ballot.  Local amendments are not included but sample ballots can be found here by county.  These recommendations are not "official".  They are formed by consensus of our legislative team and we are comfortable sharing them with you.  We hope they are helpful.  The italicized words are what you will see on the ballot.  Our comments are in red.  QUICK REFERENCE: Amendment 1: YES Amendment 2: NO... September 29, 2020
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2019

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL IMPACT

  • Hand-picked by the White House to attend policy briefings between senior White House staff and a small number of conservative organizations.
  • Hosted a national Secure the Grid Press Conference on the AL Capital steps with pre-eminent authorities on Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) including Ambassador Henry Cooper, General Ken Chrosniak, Frank Gaffney and others.
  • After passage of the AL Human Life Protection Act, EF participated in multiple foreign TV and radio interviews encouraging pro-life policies in England, Sweden, and Germany.
  • EF leaders attended the 2019 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Global Summit in DC. Afterwards, Eagle Forum was instrumental in coordinating meetings between EF and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation with high level officials at the U.S. DoJ to encourage enforcement of current obscenity laws which will greatly reduce vile pornography that is destroying our culture.
  • 14 Alabama Eagles attended Eagle Council 2019 in DC where we networked with other EF state leaders and learned how to combat threats facing our nation. We visited with all Alabama House and Senate members in their offices about numerous issues.

 

STATEWIDE IMPACT

  • Significantly increased our volunteer “boots on the ground” in Montgomery which lead to a daily presence at the State House during the 2019 legislative session. We regularly participate in meetings of the AL State School Board, AL Charter School Commission, AL Human Trafficking Task Force, Medical Cannabis Study Commission, AL Fair Ballot Commission and more.
  • Hosted a Legislature 101 Seminar at the State House to educate the public on how the legislature operates, how to use of the legislative online system and how to engage as citizen activists.
  • EF’s briefing to the Governor and other officials resulted in the State School Board’s postponement of the adoption of the new Math Course of Study that actually doubled down on Common Core’s failures.
  • Drafted the Campus Free Speech bill which now protects and empowers students who exercise their First Amendment rights when speaking against leftist, socialistic and anti-Christian agendas.
  • Strongly supported and helped educate legislators on the AL Human Life Protection Act. EF promoted, spoke at and documented online the inspiring Students for Life Rally on the Capital steps.
  • EF is a member of the Anti-Human Trafficking coalition that helped educate legislators about multiple bills introduced to curb human trafficking. In 2020, EF will introduce an important initiative to address pornography use which has become a national public health crisis.
  • Produced a weekly legislative email on our priority bills throughout the 2019 legislative session.
  • Started a new Teen Eagle (TE) chapter in Montgomery and continuing to grow the Pelham chapter. EF plans to add TE internships at the State House during the 2020 legislative session.
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Senator Jeff Sessions: “The Supreme Court Has Become a Supreme Legislature”

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the Supreme Court’s order to change the marriage laws in the 50 states:

“The Supreme Court has become a Supreme Legislature. They have not only rewritten the laws of the 50 United States, but have redefined a sacred and ancient institution. The Framers provided only two means of amending the Constitution: an amendment must be proposed through either a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate or a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the states, and either must then be ratified by three-fourths of the states. They did not authorize judges to amend the Constitution. Five judges have neither the moral nor legal authority to decide for themselves that the heritage which gave birth to our nation should be supplanted with their own fleeting views of contemporary events.

 

Read the rest of Senator Sessions’ statement here.

 

 

Common Core: Destruction of Auto Industry

Fifth graders in 38 systems across Alabama are undergoing weekly assessments “aligned withMcGraw-Hill Wonders and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)”  focusing on “two key areas of English Language Arts as identified by the CCSS – Reading and Language”.Here are some of those who will be negatively affected by the propaganda in these assessments:
Automobile manufacturing, automobile parts, any device that uses gasoline, bulldozers, anyone who sells gasoline, anyone who sells automobiles, gasoline producers, Alabama coal industry, those who rely on coal for fuel, those elected officials that stand for a Constitutional Republic, etc.  (comments by Danny Hubbard).  You can request a print version of McGraw-Hill curriculum for educational purposes from Eagle Forum of Alabama Following are excerpts from the objectionable assessments:

  • Cars are slowly killing our planet
  • Environmentalists have talked about the dangerous effect of air pollution
  • Governments should make us all buy hybrids
  • Transcontinental car manufacturers should be required to stop selling gas-guzzling cars …[and} sell hybrids at reasonable prices
  • People need to find ways to get around without cars
  • Public transportation may require a slight change in lifestyle…
  • The people who wrote the Constitution of the United States set up a democracy …

As Ben Franklin said after the Constitutional Convention, “We have given you a Republic; if you can keep it.”

Action

  1. If you are in one of the affected school districts, you will want to look at other lessons in this series and talk with your children.  Some environmentalists are simply incorrect in their presuppositions and proposed solutions.
  2. The Business Council of Alabama is aggressively blocking repeal of common core. These lessons advocate the demise of the pro economic development climate we have had in Alabama.  Please contact BCA board members shown here and ask them to oppose this program that indoctrinates Alabama children and to support repeal of common core and replacement with superior Alabama standards, assessments and curriculum that uphold Alabama values of free enterprise under our Constitutional Republic.  For other business talking points, see Common Core Lowers the Bar; but remember these folks are also Moms and Dads!!!
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Birmingham, Alabama 35213

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Copyright (C) 2014 Eagle Forum of Alabama All rights reserved.

 

National Popular Vote Is A Bad Idea

Check out Phyllis’ latest column explaining why national popular vote is a bad idea.

National Popular Vote Is A Bad Idea

by Phyllis Schlafly

Moving quietly under cover of presidential debates and the enormous publicity given to the race for the Republican nomination is a plan to change how U.S. Presidents are elected. It would bypass the procedure spelled out in the U.S. Constitution which has been used successfully for over two centuries.

The Constitution prescribes how we elect our Presidents. It is a mirror image of the Great Compromise designed by the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which brought together the large and small states by means of a national Congress, with the House based on population and the Senate based on state sovereignty.

Likewise, when the presidential electors meet in gatherings known as the Electoral College, each state’s vote is equal to the sum of its House and Senate representation in Congress. Our Founding Fathers understood that America is a nation of both “we the people” and a federal system of states, so it allows all states, regardless of size, to be players in electing our President.

NPV is an attempt to achieve the longtime liberal goal of getting rid of the Electoral College. Instead of proposing an amendment that would first need to be passed by Congress and then ratified by three-fourths of the states (38), NPV is a scheme to deviously bypass the grand design of our U.S. Constitution.

NPV lobbyists are trying to get state legislatures to enact identical bills requiring their own state’s presidential electors to ignore the winner of their own state’s presidential election, and instead cast all their state’s votes for the candidate whom the politicians estimate received the most popular votes nationwide. That candidate would not need a majority or any certain threshold–just more votes than any other candidate (i.e.-a plurality)

The NPV campaign lets people believe that NPV will elect Presidents who win the majority of popular votes, but that is false. Because of third parties, we’ve had many elections (including three of the last five) when no presidential candidate received a popular-vote majority. Abraham Lincoln won with less than 40% of the popular vote and only our Electoral College system elected him President.

If the NPV lobbyists can get enough states whose votes in the Electoral College total at least 270, they will be able to steal votes away from some candidates, transfer those votes to another candidate, and thereby construct a fake majority in the Electoral College. Eight states and the District of Columbia (with 132 electoral votes; half of the 270 needed) have already joined this NPV “compact” to “activate” NPV: Vermont 3, Maryland 10, Washington 12, Illinois 20, New Jersey 14, District of Columbia 3, Massachusetts 11, California 55, and Hawaii 4.

The NPV slogan “Every Vote Equal” is dishonest because the NPV proposal is based on legalizing vote-stealing. For example, Texas or Louisiana could be forced to cast its votes for a candidate who won more votes in other states, such as New York.

If NPV had been in effect in the year 2000, Al Gore would have become President instead of George W. Bush because Gore received more votes than Bush. It’s a mystery how any Republican could support NPV, and it’s no surprise that the Republican National Committee voted unanimously to oppose NPV because members saw it as unconstitutional and unworkable.

Remember our national trauma as we suffered through recounts in Florida where the margin between Bush and Gore was only about 500 votes? If the election is based on the national popular vote and it’s close, NPV would induce recounts in many or most of the 50 states.

Mexico uses a national popular vote system, and it’s a good illustration of why we don’t want it here. In Mexico’s last presidential election, the candidate with the “most votes” received 35.89 percent while his closest rival got 35.31 percent, a margin of just one-half of one percent. In the months that followed, Mexico was on the verge of civil war as the runner-up held mass rallies attracting millions of his angry supporters.

People who pretend that the Electoral College system is undemocratic are not only ignorant of the history and purposes of the U.S. Constitution, but they probably don’t even understand baseball. Basing the election on a plurality of the popular vote while ignoring the states would be like the New York Yankees claiming they won the 1960 World Series because they outscored the Pirates in runs 55-27 and in hits 91-60. Yet, the Pirates fairly won that World Series, 4 games to 3, and no one challenges their victory.

Issues

Privacy

Personal data privacy is a hallmark of a free society.  We support confidentiality of medical and personal records.  We support statutes that prohibit any centralized government database.  We oppose government holding dossiers on free Americans.  

Marriage and Family

We believe that God established the family as the basic unit of society.  The family consists of those related by blood, marriage or adoption.  We believe in no “marriage” relationship other than a man and wife. 

Government

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness –That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

We believe that in order to secure our God-given rights, our government:

  • Must maintain social order
  • Provide public services
  • Provide national protection
  • Make national economic decisions

Immigration

We believe the United States must have an immigration policy that strengthens and secures America’s borders.  We believe that America’s immigration policy should be enforced, including the removal of unlawful persons and the enforcement of immigration and workplace laws.  We believe that state and local governments should have authority to enforce these laws in cooperation with federal immigration agencies. 

We recognize the demand for seasonal workers, and should those needs not be met by Americans, we support a controlled guest worker program that lets federal immigration officials know who is coming into the country and ensures they go back to their country of origin when mandated by law.

Constitution

The U.S. Constitution was given to us by brilliant men who sought God’s wisdom in the creation of our nation.  They came to this land for religious freedom.  The Constitution they left for us is not an evolving document, but one with timeless truths.  We oppose any Constitutional Convention designed to change it.

We believe that any rewrite of the Alabama Constitution by means of a constitutional convention jeopardizes every individual right now upheld in this state.  Alabama’s citizens enjoy stronger protection of our liberty under our state constitution than under the U.S. Constitution.  Those rights are at risk if special interest groups are allowed to start anew.  The Alabama Constitution has been recompiled article by article.  We supported that method.  The following must always be protected in our Constitution:

  • Balanced budget requirements that allow no deficit spending
  • A ban on increase of property or income taxes without a referendum of the people
  • Religious liberty protections
  • A ban on the expansion of gambling in the state.

Economy

Government spending is out of control.  We support spending caps, a moratorium on earmarks and entitlement reform to prevent our country from going bankrupt.  More government spending and higher deficits are not the answer to America’s hard economic times.  Higher deficits put America’s safety and security at risk and shift the burden of our problems to future generations.  Man should be free to create and operate business ventures.  An open market and free enterprise are best for a thriving economy.

Education

Education is the prerogative of parents.  It functions best at the state and local levels.  The federal government should not be involved in education policy.  As we have witnessed with the disastrous results of Common Core and other federal efforts in education, the best oversight of education is left to those closest to the people. 

 

Environment

We believe God made man to have dominion over and to be a steward of the Earth.  We are responsible for how we use the resources that have been given to us, and should avoid unnecessary risks to the environment.  We should utilize the resources available to us in a prudent manner.

Taxes

We believe that low taxes, a free market economy and limited government regulation are necessary components of a healthy economic system.  We promote economic policies that further these goals and allow hardworking Americans to benefit from their own ingenuity and industriousness.

Energy

We do not support an environmentalist, green agenda that penalizes business and controls people’s lives.  Rather we believe that energy independence is vital for both our economic and national security.  The best way to achieve that goal is through the increased use of our domestic resources.  This includes drilling domestically, both onshore and off, and utilizing nuclear power, clean coal and natural gas.

Judiciary

We believe it is the duty of judges to interpret the Constitution and laws as they are written.  Courts should not be policy-making bodies.  We oppose all forms of judicial activism. 

Healthcare

We believe individuals, not the government, should be allowed to choose the health coverage that best meets their needs.  We believe that true health care reform must give patients maximum control over their own care and treatment.  Some ways these goals can be accomplished are to enable individuals to utilize health savings accounts, high-deductible insurance plans, and tax credits for individuals who purchase their own insurance.  Allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines will help reduce costs.

Sanctity of Life

We work to ensure the sanctity of innocent human life which begins at conception.  Life is sacred and should be protected at all costs.

History

It all started in 1972 when Phyllis Schlafly, who then lived in Alton, IL, decided to oppose the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment being pushed by the newly immerging feminist movement. This battle continued for the next 10 years until its final defeat. Phyllis organized groups all across the nation. She recruited Eunie Smith and Olive Spann to be co-chairs of Stop ERA in Alabama. In 1975 Phyllis realized that even after ERA was defeated, the battle for conservative family values would go on as the left would not give up, but would work to achieve their goals on an incremental basis. So even before ERA was defeated, she started the organization of grassroots activists called Eagle Forum.

Eunie Smith continued as the leader of STOP ERA Alabama. She and others traveled all across Alabama, often with Phyllis, to speak the truth about ERA and what it would mean to our society if it were passed. They spoke to any group that would listen and explained how it would affect women, families, the military and every aspect of American life.

1977 was declared as the Year of the Woman and it was this year that feminist activists thought would be the victory year for ERA. A convention of delegates to promote this was held in Dallas and was promoted by the Carter Administration. The ERA would have enshrined in the Constitution changes that, rather than empower women, would have removed all legal protections for them. It would have required the draft of women to serve in the military, controlled many other aspects of family life and womanhood, especially rejecting the value of the stay at home mother as the center of family life.

The convention in Dallas was a hotbed of radical feminists and the rhetoric worked to encourage delegates to push for passage of the ERA.

However, not all state delegations were so inclined. Activists in each state met to choose delegates to the Dallas convention.

Eagle Forum of Alabama was publicly launched in 1977 to recruit Alabama delegates to the International Year of the Woman in Dallas. Eunie Smith recruited conservative women from all over Alabama to become delegates. Because of her efforts, Alabama was one of five states to send a solid conservative delegation to the Dallas convention. When the Alabama women met in Montgomery to officially choose their delegation, the media exclaimed that “the Eagles were flying.”

Jean Saunders was the first president of Eagle Forum of Alabama, then Frances Wideman. Eunie Smith was still co-chair of Stop ERA. She became president at the end of the Stop ERA Campaign and has served since that time.

Eagle Forum of Alabama is an organization of dedicated volunteers mobilized in support of individual liberty, responsibility, the sanctity of life, and Constitutional principles of government. Eagle Forum of Alabama Education Foundation (501c3) was formed in 1986 in Birmingham, Alabama with the purpose to educate the public on the important role and rights
of the family. Its original founding document states the goal is “..to advance the status of women, to defend their existing civil, legal, economic, moral and social rights, especially those pertaining to the family, marriage, children, education, and employment.” Of course, today the organization includes many man as well as women and teens, through our Teen Eagle organization.

Eagle Forum (501c4) is the lobbying arm of the organization and works to protect Alabama’s families in public policy initiatives and reform efforts. Eagle Forum of Alabama is the state’s leading grass roots Conservative organization addressing issues from parental rights to economic liberty because they all impact the family. We believe strong families are the foundation of prosperity in Alabama and the nation.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

Celebrate Church Day Care in Montgomery and Lobby against HB277 – DHR Control of Church Ministry

Celebrate Church Child Care Week and stand up for our children and religious liberty – this week at the Alabama State House in Montgomery –  Tuesday thru Thursday, April 11-13 beginning with a briefing at 10AM each morning in Room 325.  We must stop HB277.

  • HB277 is an unnecessary and unConstitutional overreach of government into church ministry.
  • It is a violation of the Alabama Religious Freedom Act and the Free Exercise Clause of the US Constitution.
  • It adds nothing to the health and safety of children already in day care run by legitimate churches.
  • The language in the bill could open control by the DHR of other church related ministries.

We have negotiated and presented ideas and language that should have satisfied the proponents of HB277, but they would not compromise in any form. This is about power and federal funding and not about Child Safety or otherwise they would have accepted at least a few of our recommended changes. See http://alabamaeagle.org/2017/04/07/get-the-facts-on-hb277

We cannot over emphasize the importance of the presence of you and your family and friends at the State House this week at least one of the days mentioned; and if you can attend more days, great. We must show our legislators that we are against HB277.  Please give us an estimate of how many you estimate will be in your group.  We will have people at the State House to help direct everyone and will have handouts in Room 325 to give to the House members along with a brief orientation.

PLEASE email or call and tell your representative that you will be in Montgomery at the state house on one of these days and you want to visit with them.  For your House Member call 1-334-242-7600 and the receptionist will connect you to your representative; or for the Senate call
1-334-242-7800 and the receptionist will connect you to your senator.
If he/she is not available ask the secretary to give them a message that you will be traveling to Montgomery to see them for 5 minutes to discuss your opposition to HB277.

Bring as many as you can! Remember, there will be a brief orientation and training. Bring your business cards, daycare pamphlets, or church/ministry information to pass out.

For information on HB277 Gets the Facts here
http://alabamaeagle.org/2017/04/07/get-the-facts-on-hb277

For Instructions for State House Lobbying, visit our website, here.

Topics

No one is exempt from children safety laws or regulations.
What is currently required of license exempt (church) facilities?
What are the thirteen agencies which regulate license-exempt providers in Alabama?
Licensed care does not ensure safety
Misleading examples of child endangerment as pretext for state action
HB277 targets church facilities but exempts certain other child-care Follow the money Public policy should be based on facts, not stereotypes
Religious Liberty Violations:  First Amendment and Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment 622, Section V Government overreach Removes parental authority and choice Truth about minimum standards Real Solutions

Signators

Dr. Allen Mendenhall, Executive Director, The Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty
Joe Godfrey, Executive Director, Alabama Citizen’s Action Program Alabama Citizen’s Action Program Robin Mears, Executive Director, Alabama Christian Education Association
Rev., Dr. John Killian, Pastor and Past President Alabama Baptist State Convention
Eunie Smith, President, Eagle Forum of Alabama
Deborah Love, Executive Director, Eagle Forum of Alabama
Eric Johnston, President of The Southeast Law Institute
Jeff Smith, Administrator of Trinity Christian Academy and Preschool, Oxford, Alabama
Danny J. Hubbard, Publisher and Author, Reveal Publishing
Scott Elliot, Director of Youth Ministries at Christ the King Lutheran Church
Dr. Tom Ford, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church and Ezekiel Academy Board Member
Col. Charles Orr, Christian Citizen Task Force, Whitesburg Baptist Church
Samuel J. McLure, The Adoption Law Firm
James McCaney, Jr. Senior Pastor, Victory Christian Fellowship Church
Maurice McCaney, Chancellor, Victory Christian Academy
Wanda McCaney, Director, Victory Christian Academy
Lorraine McCaney, Head Administrator, Victory Christian Academy
Mike Parsons, Director of Save Alabama’s Values and Education McCaney Law Group, LLC
Denise Driskell, Senior Administrator of Pathways Academy
Robert M. Driskell, High School Administrator of Pathways Academy
Rev. Jerry Johnston, Associate Pastor, Trinity Baptist Oxford, Alabama
Michael Rippy, Lead Pastor, Evangel Church, Evangel Christian Preschool

Get the Facts on HB277

Get the facts on HB277!  It is important for Alabamians to learn more about the significant role of religious and private child care providers in Alabama. A large portion of Alabama’s families rely on these providers to care for their children on a daily basis.  These are predominately church operated ministries to church members and outreaches to the community. A smaller number are affiliated with religious schools. Many prefer private facilities which are licensed exempt over state controlled facilities. In October 2016, there were 998 licensed and 943 license exempt child care centers in Alabama, according to Alabama DHR. The number of licensed exempt child care centers in Alabama is increasing because many families our choosing licensed exempt centers.

Families already have a choice between licensed exempt and licensed by the state child care providers. Yet many decide to not attend licensed child care providers and purposely go to licensed exempt child care options. Even the grandchild of the sponsor of HB277 attends a license exempt child care provider in Alabama.  Opposition to HB277 is about protecting children by protecting some of the best, safe, and positive child care options for children in Alabama. If hard working Alabamians no longer have high quality and low cost options, it harms children.  Many families will no longer have the opportunities and options they rely on for their families.

No one is exempt from child safety laws or regulations 

  • Licensed exempt day care providers are not exempt from child safety laws and regulations. All child care providers in Alabama are either licensed exempt or licensed. To become licensed exempt the provider must file appropriate paperwork with DHR including immunization records.
  • Criminal behavior is already outlawed in the state of Alabama regardless of where the crime occurs whether in a private or public setting. There are many state laws which directly address child abuse and neglect. The appropriate state agencies already possess the authority to investigate and punish criminals
  • Just as public school employees those at licensed exempt child care facilities already must pass full criminal background checks. (AL Code 38-13-3)
  • In addition, the State of Alabama already places an affirmative duty on child care employees in private and public settings with the responsibility to report suspected child abuse.
  • Child care providers are regulated for health and safety standards by multiple state agencies already. License exemption for child care providers in Alabama does not mean they are exempt from child safety laws and regulations.

What is currently required of licensed exempt facilities?

 DHR provides a list of requirements that involves their agency here http://dhr.alabama.gov/services/Child_Care_Services/license%20Exempt%20Centers.aspx

  • Notice that the child care program is an integral part of a local church
  • Notice that intent to operate a child care program has been given to the appropriate health departments so that facilities will be inspected to meet standards
  • Inspection by fire department at least once a year
  • Inspection by the Alabama Department of Public Health at least twice a year
  • Notice to the department certifying health inspection reports, immunizations, and medical forms for all staff and children.
  • Notice to parents of staff qualifications, pupil-student ratio, discipline policies, type of curriculum, religious teachings, and type of lunch program.
  • Parents required to sign affidavits about licensed-exempt status
  • Church/facility must submit affidavits of notification to DHR
  • Must follow all state and federal laws

What are the thirteen agencies who currently regulate license-exempt providers in Alabama?

  • Alabama Department of Human Resources
  • Alabama and Local Health Department
  • State Fire Marshall
  • State Building Commission
  • Alabama Department of Revenue
  • Alabama Department of Labor
  • Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
  • Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Federal Transportation Administration
  • Local Codes (zoning, safety requirements)
  • Safe States (enforce asbestos laws)
  • County District Attorney
  • The Alabama Code governing numerous aspects of caring for children

Licensed care does not ensure safety

DHR and other state agencies have failed on many occasions to follow through on inspections to facilities. In 2014 changes to block grants from the Federal Government required DHR to inspect facilities receiving grants whether or not they are license exempt.  Those inspections were not always completed.  Regulations and license requirements have failed on many occasions to protect children.

  • There is no evidence that licensed day care facilities are safer than license exempt facilities. We can all cherry pick examples in either public or private settings, but there is no factual evidence that licensed facilities are safer than non-licensed facilities.

Misleading examples of child endangerment as pretext for state action

As a matter of fact, every claim of injury to children upon which HB277 proponents rely are as a result of the violation of health standards already required of licensed exempt facilities.  If DHR and the responsible health departments had done their jobs, those events would not have happened. But more to the point, DHR regulation would not have prevented them. However, it certainly makes for good, if not misleading, selling points to uninformed observers.

Sunny Side Day Care– Sunny Side Day Care was highlighted as a key example of a licensed exempt center for a staph infection outbreak that happened at that location. Sunny Side Day Care receives funding from the Federal Government. That means state agencies already have more ability and responsibility to regulate that facility. However, on many occasions DHR has failed to inspect some facilities as they did in regards to Sunny Side. In regards to food safety all child care facilities must meet be food safety, standards already. All the reasonable measure are already in place to address this problem.  There was no clear testimony provided that regulations or licenses would have prevented the staph incident. This memorandum from the Office of Inspector General about license exempt facilities examines the legal authority. https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-07-10-00231.pdf

  • There is no guarantee that regulations or licenses will prevent all health incidents but one thing is clear: Alabama DHR had the ability to inspect Sunny Side Day Care facility prior to the staph incident. Licenses and regulations do not ensure a child’s safety.

HB277 exempts certain child- care facilities but targets religious facilities

Do supporters of HB277 think that licenses and the regulations associated with this bill protect children?  Why then are shopping center day cares exempt on page 6 of HB277 Why would public controlled facilities be exempt from this regulation? The potential for safety concerns for children is the same in these locations as others.

Follow the money

The free market allows parents to decide for themselves in what type of educational environment or child care facility they would like to place their child. Most parents like options because it produces the best choices for their children. However some groups and individuals are resorting to scare tactics to push economic protectionism against religious affiliated facilities. In the last several years more families have been moving away from licensed facilities and towards licensed-exempt facilities. That concerns some who benefit economically from licensed centers.

  • In addition to the economic protectionism aspects of HB277, the Federal involvement and out of state donations to lobbying organizations have thrown big money to groups and agencies to push for licensure mandates. As the fiscal note for the HB277 shows the financial support for this regulation comes from the Federal government http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/ALISON/SearchableInstruments/2017RS/FiscalNotes/FN-36426.htm. Another source of funding for this lobbying push comes from Kellogg Foundation a national out of state organization.

Public policy should be based on facts not stereotypes

Religious and secular child care providers both care about protecting children and helping families. That is why they do what they do.  There have been many innuendos and false claims made about religious institutions in Alabama.

  • The vast majority of Alabama’s religious institutions and religiously affiliated providers do wonderful work for Alabama’s families. Just as we do not judge every public school teacher by the actions of a small percentage of teachers we should apply that same respect for private and religious institutions.
  • We punish the individual not an entire religious community or group. We do not judge every private child care institution by select bad actors. That promotes fear and prejudice between Alabama’s religious populations, the general public and state agencies. Solid public policy proposals will not result from fear tactics and prejudice.

Religious Liberty Violations

“A child care facility that is an integral part of a church or nonprofit religious school shall be licensed…” (pg. 27 of HB277)  HB277 removes important religious liberty protections that ensure Alabama’s diverse religious population has freedom to exercise their religious beliefs in regards to early childhood development without government intrusion and control. “Also under existing law, child care facilities that are part of a church or nonprofit religious school are exempt from licensing by the Department of Human Resources.” (pg. 1 of HB277) Alabama’s diverse religious communities have for generations worked to protect children, start hospitals, adoption agencies, founded schools, and ministries for the poor.

Separation of church and state means that the state does not control the church or any religious institutions. If the church must receive a license from the state in order to operate a ministry that violates the religious liberty protections Alabamians have been provided in the state and Federal Constitution.  Protecting children and religious freedom are not mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact parents and the Alabama Constitution expect them to be mutually inclusive. The Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment provides for what is called the “compelling interest test.” Government may not burden or restrict a religious activity or belief without first having a compelling interest to do so in the least burdensome or restrictive way. HB277 is unconstitutional and will likely face class action suit by Alabama religious institutions. It will very likely be struck down.

  • First Amendment United States Constitution applicable to Alabama

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  • Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment 622, section V

Section V. (a) Government shall not burden a person’s freedom of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).

(b) Government may burden a person’s freedom of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:

(1) Is in furtherance of a compelling government interest; and

(2) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling government interest.

(c) A person whose religious freedom has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government.

Government overreach

Hundreds of licensed exempt facilities will close due to HB277 unnecessary regulatory overreach. HB277 oversteps and violates what the proper role of government is in Alabama.  The government has an interest in protecting safety of all Alabamians but that does not mean the government should control private religious institutions. Reasonable regulations and criminal laws already punish bad actors. State agencies already retain the ability to regulate and inspect in needed situations.  Demanding licenses and the regulatory power that comes with licenses will not improve children’s safety. Instead, a license requirement will mean more state control over private and religious institutions. If the church was must come to the state to request to operate then the church is not free from state intrusion. In addition to day cares HB277 will regulate mother’s day out, volunteers, day nurseries, and play groups.

Removes Parental Authority and choice

Currently there are more positive child care options and choices in early childhood service providers in the state of Alabama. Once HB277 passes that will no longer be the case. If you dislike one provider, you have options outside of state regulated facilities or facilities who accept grants. Families who rely on grants also have options currently. However, HB277 will remove this option for parents.  It will require every child care provider to follow the same regimen, and it will give state agencies control of these institutions.

Truth about minimum standards

Many private and religious child care providers in Alabama already go above and beyond minimum standards by DHR.  HB277 would require every day care facility to follow the list of regulations called minimum standards. Child neglect, abuse, health, and safety regulations and law exist and are already in place outside of minimum standards. Many religious institutions or private facilities reject DHR minimum standards.  These regulations have many aspects that are not directly related to child’s safety but they are instead more focused toward the facility.

DHR would have the full authority to deny licensing, employment, and ability to volunteer based on individual receiving speeding tickets, or criminal charges even when found innocent.

DHR would have the authority to consider a center’s beliefs unsuitable for licensing, employment and the ability to volunteer.

DHR can immediately terminate license, employment and the ability to volunteer for being viewed as unsuitable with no proof of wrongdoing. It gives them unintended control due to the subjectivity of determining who or what is “unsuitable”.

DHR can close a center for what they “think” is a lack of business funds.

DHR holds the approval to whether or not a Center Director can be hired.

DHR requirements for certain number of staff per child.

Real Solutions

Rather than address the issue of a few “for profit” daycares masquerading as churches, proponents of HB277 want to remove the protection of all churches. The good faith offer of actual redress of the real problem has been disingenuously and deceitfully rejected by supporters of HB277 in favor of unconstitutional church regulation. Using child protection as an excuse, their real goal is church regulation of this very important church ministry, the choice of parents to raise up their children in the way they should go. 

Dr. Allen Mendenhall, Executive Director, The Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty

Joe Godfrey, Executive Director, Alabama Citizen’s Action Program

Alabama Citizen’s Action Program

Robin Mears, Executive Director, Alabama Christian Education Association

Eunie Smith, President, Eagle Forum of Alabama

Deborah Love, Executive Director, Eagle Forum of Alabama

Eric Johnston, President of The Southeast Law Institute

Jeff Smith, Administrator of Trinity Christian Academy and Preschool, Oxford, Alabama

Danny J. Hubbard, Publisher and Author, Reveal Publishing

Scott Elliot, Director of Youth Ministries at Christ the King Lutheran Church

Dr. Tom Ford, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church and Ezekiel Academy Board Member

Col. Charles Orr, Christian Citizen Task Force, Whitesburg Baptist Church

Samuel J. McLure, The Adoption Law Firm

James McCaney, Jr. Senior Pastor, Victory Christian Fellowship Church

Maurice McCaney, Chancellor, Victory Christian Academy

Wanda McCaney, Director, Victory Christian Academy

Lorraine McCaney, Head Administrator, Victory Christian Academy

Mike Parsons, Director of Save Alabama’s Values and Education

Rev., Dr. John Killian, Pastor and Past President Alabama Baptist State Convention

McCaney Law Group, LLC

Denise Driskell, Senior Administrator of Pathways Academy

Robert M. Driskell, High School Administrator of Pathways Academy

Rev. Jerry Johnston, Associate Pastor, Trinity Baptist Oxford, Alabama

Michael Rippy, Lead Pastor, Evangel Church, Evangel Christian Preschool

 

 

 

 

 

Supremes snubbed: 1 marriage case steams on

Eagle Forum of Alabama President Eunie Smith and Dr. John H. Killian, Sr. have written an oped that was recently published on al.com.  Today, see the latest from WND.com.

“Eunie Smith of the Eagle Forum of Alabama and John Killian, Sr., former president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention contend in a newly published commentary that the judicial branch doesn’t have the constitutional power to legislate a right to same-sex marriage.”