Good morning! This from Max Lucado was the best thing I read yesterday on the life and legacy of the great Billy Graham. Here is your Daily News Digest for Thursday, February 22.
1. Bright ballot challenge brings intrigue
Erstwhile and hope-to-be-once-again Congressman Bobby Brightconfirmed to WSFA that the ALGOP State Executive Committee will have a hearing Saturday afternoon on the challenge to his candidacy on the Republican ticket.
I spoke to Mr. Bright yesterday and he told me the same thing. More on that in a bit…
- At least one other ballot challenge will be taken up by the committee. Former State Rep. Daniel Boman, who was elected as a Republican in 2010, then switched parties and ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012, has now decided he’d like to be a Republican again to run for State Senate. The case to remove Boman from the ballot is pretty clear cut because party bylaws state you will not be allowed to run on the GOP ticket if you have run against a Republican in the last SIX years.
- Boman’s case is instructive towards Bright’s because of the timeline. Bright last ran in 2010, more than SEVEN years ago and clearly beyond the party’s six year statute of limitations, so to speak.
- As Bright himself points out, if having been a Democrat and voted for some Democratic things several years ago was a disqualifier, many senior Alabama Republicans would be in trouble.
WHY IT MATTERS
- As a former Democrat, Bright has an uphill battle to win the Republican PRIMARY election, though I have contended he could potentially force a runoff.
- However, should the party kick him off the ticket, Bright would almost certainly run as an independent and significantly alter the dynamics of the GENERAL election.
- I recently wrote that, while it is doubtful Bright could actually win the general election outright as an independent, he is plenty capable of winning the 20K-30K votes it would take to swing the election toward a Democrat.
- I ran into Mr. Bright last night and he insisted to me that he is not intentionally trying to get kicked off the ballot. I previously wrote about rumors circulating that this “Br’er Rabbit” gambit to be martyred by the party was his true goal in qualifying as a Republican. Fair enough.
- That said, Bright was coy and would not rule out running as an independent should the ALGOP shun him and even acknowledged some strengths he would have in such a capacity.
- WHAT’S INTERESTING is that accompanying Bright was Harri Ann Smith, the Independent State Senator from Dothan who knows a thing or two about party ballot challenges.
- Sen. Smith was not shy about sharing how Bright’s removal from the ballot and run as an independent would benefit her. They could be “running mates” on an independent ticket in Southeast Alabama, she told me jovially. How about that.
- Smith is facing a serious challenge from Republican State Rep. Donnie Chesteen from Geneva.
2. Legislative briefs
Here’s what happened in the State House Wednesday…
Day Care Safety
- Rep. Pebblin Warren’s bill to require church day care centers to meet the basic health and safety standards passed a Senate committee yesterday. No amendments were added, so if it passes the full Senate with no changes, the bill could be law very soon. Read Brian Lyman’s story about the enthusiasm from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Legislation reducing penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses was both approved and not approved in committee. Does that have you dazed and confused? Sen. Dick Brewbaker’s bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, but the same bill from Rep. Patricia Todd was held up in the House.
- The concerns expressed in committee spells trouble for those hoping for swift and smooth passage of this bill. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.
- In all seriousness, there was a substantive public policy debate on this issue. These reports are well worth your time this morning:
- Brian Lyman’s story in today’s Montgomery Advertiser.
- Kim Chandler and Mallory Moench’s story for the Associated Press.
- Mike Cason’ story for AL.com.
- Rep. Ken Johnson’s bill banning cities from using red light cameras was held up by a House Committee. Insert your favorite traffic-legislation puns.
When the Senate meets today…
- While the General Fund budget passed on Tuesday, Senators adjourned without taking action on accompanying legislation that gives state employees an expected 3 percent pay raise.
- According to General Fund Ways & Means Chairman Trip Pittman, the details and scope of that pay raise were still being negotiated and are likely to be worked out by today.
When the House meets today…
The House has a substantive calendar of meaningful bills. Among them…
- Rep. April Weaver’s bill to modernize Alabama’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. The changes were recommended by the Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council and are expected to increase the number of pharmacists using the program.
- Rep. Jack Williams deer-baiting bill. This would allow hunters to get a license to shoot deer and hogs over fields covered in corn and other types of bait.
- Rep. Elaine Beech and Sen. Billy Beasley’s bill requiring day care centers to provide information on flue vaccines to parents.
- Sen. Roger Smitherman’s bill creating an Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund.
- Read the full proposed Special Order Calendar for the House online here.
3. Conservative legal community backs slate of candidates
The Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee (ACJRC) released its endorsements for the 2018 primaries yesterday.
ACJRC is a coalition of conservative-minded trade associations and companies that advocates for judicial policies that aren’t prejudicial to businesses, such as tort reform.
Earning the group’s endorsement are:
- Attorney General Steve Marshall (R)
Alabama Supreme Court
- Chief Justice: Chief Justice Lyn Stuart (R)
- Place 1: Justice Brad Mendheim (R)
- Place 2: Justice Tommy Bryan (R)
- Place 3: Justice Will Sellers (R)
- Place 4: Jay Mitchell (R)
Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
- Place 1: Christy Edwards (R)
- Place 2: Judge Terri Thomas (R)
- Place 3: Judge Terry Moore (R)
Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
- Place 1: Richard Minor (R)
- Place 2: Chris McCool (R)
- Place 3: Bill Cole (R)
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Judge seeks more information on scheduled inmate’s execution
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Conservative legal community backs slate of candidates
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS: Alabama teacher accused of sex acts with girl in classroom.
AL.COM – Gov. Kay Ivey on teachers with guns: ‘There’s some other way’.
AL.COM – Church child care center regulations move closer to becoming law.
AL.COM – Bill to reduce Alabama penalty for marijuana possession hits snag.
AL.COM – The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham names new CEO.
AL.COM – President Trump criticizes Jeff Sessions, refers to AG by wrong name.
AL.COM – Contributor Quin Hillyer: Yes, Alabama ethics laws need revision.
AL.COM – Bill to ban Alabama cities from using red light, speeding cameras fails to advance.
AL.COM – Morimoto to become new president of Honda Alabama April 1.
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Contributor George Clark: Shelby’s leadership demands recognition.
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Senate passes $2 billion General Fund but skips over employee pay raises for now.
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Openly gay Marine Corps veteran hopes to fill Patricia Todd’s Alabama House seat.
ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER – Elections: More than two dozen legislators will vacate their seats later this year.
ATHENS NEWS-COURIER – Schools preparing for north Alabama business growth.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – VIDEO: Fireworks erupt between Mo Brooks, Democrat town hall attendee at Scottsboro event.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Jones calls push to arm teachers ‘political posturing’.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – State board approves regional cancer center for Florence.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – University of West Alabama-affiliated charter school awarded $150,000.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – The Tuscaloosa News: Juvenile justice reform effort has been exercise in good government.
GADSDEN TIMES – Superintendents wary of arming teachers.
ANNISTON STAR – ADEM to check Fruithurst rubber plant after cancer concerns.
ANNISTON STAR – Shelby: Some Alabama local governments ‘have no money’ for Trump infrastructure plan.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Senate committee approves bill easing marijuana penalties.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Alabama House committee stalls on bill abolishing traffic cameras.
DOTHAN EAGLE – The Dothan Eagle: Alternatives to lock-up.
WASHINGTON POST – ‘Fix it’: Students and parents tell Trump he needs to address gun violence at schools.
WASHINGTON POST – Judges seek more information on planned Alabama execution.