Good morning. Please keep Rep. Allen Treadaway and his family in your prayers. In case you haven’t heard the terrible news, his daughter Kelsey was killed yesterday in a tragic car accident. We are all thinking of you and praying for you, Mr. Treadaway.
1. ALGOP bats 2-for-2
The Alabama Republican Party went two-for-two this weekend on decisions with major long-term consequences.
Shelby > Moore
- First, ALGOP Executive Committee members rejected the silly resolution criticizing U.S. Senator Richard Shelby for saying he wouldn’t vote for Roy Moore in special election. Technically, the party voted to table or “indefinitely postpone” the resolution, which kills the thing without anyone having to go on record as for or against.
- Passing this resolution could have resulted in a major revolt from two groups the party can ill-afford to do without: those who fund its campaigns and those who are its future.
- Big contributors and younger folks played a key role in organizing opposition to the resolution. Still the 58-42 vote was a little closer than most expected.
- State YR Chair Jackie Curtiss told me recently that their under-forty group has more candidates than ever before lined up to run for Executive Committee spots this June. Will pro-Shelby GOP contributors step up to help finance some of these Executive Committee challenges?
Bright gets the green light
- Second, the party decided to allow Bobby Bright to run as a Republican, rejecting a ballot access challenge.
- Kicking Bright off the ballot would have threatened Republicans’ control of the AL-2 Congressional seat by allowing him to run as a martyred independent capable of seriously impacting the race. By rejecting the ballot challenge, ALGOP has put Bright’s fate and that of AL-2 where it should be: in the hands of voters.
- Keep an eye on March 15, when Sue Neuwien and the Coffee County Republican Party are hosting a candidate forum in Enterprise.
2. Congress, guns, and a system failure in Florida
Congress returns to Washington today after spending more than a week in their districts hearing from constituents.
One big question that awaits them is what, if anything, will be done in relation to gun violence and school safety. President Trump is talking about proposals ranging from raising certain firearm age restrictions to arming teachers.
In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott just rolled out a legislative package that includes raising the legal age for firearm purchases to 21, banning “bump stocks,” creating a restraining order law that would allow a court to restrict certain dangerous individuals from purchasing weapons, and $500 million in new funding for school safety and mental health measures.
“I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who has mental issues to use a gun,” Scott said.
As the policy debate rages, more is becoming known about the abject failure of the Broward County Sheriff’s office and the FBI to respond to the shooter and protect kids.
Go watch Jake Tapper’s interview with Sheriff Scott Israel on CNN. Tapper didn’t even have to try hard to let Israel expose himself as an inept leader.
Here’s what we are learning about what happened that day…
- Four Sheriff’s office deputies reportedly shielded themselves behind cars rather than enter the school as the shooter was on his rampage.
- The school’s armed resource officer – Deputy Scot Petersonalso froze in the line of duty, and has since resigned.
- At least 45 CALLS were made to the Broward Sheriff’s Office about accused killer Nikolas Cruz. 45! And BSO confirmed that it responded to 23 disturbance reports involving Cruz. That means officers went to his house. They knew this guy.
- A woman who knew Cruz called the FBI tip line on January 5 warning authorities that “he had a growing collection of guns and a temper so uncontrollable she worried about him ‘getting into a school and just shooting the place up'”
- Cruz called the police HIMSELF and warned that he might be a danger to himself or others.
- And, reports are starting to raise questions about the “Promise” program in which Broward County students – including the shooter – stopped facing arrest for serious offenses in an effort to drive down delinquency rates.
Blame the NRA and guns all you want. The system failed these kids, and I think we are about to start hearing a lot more about that in the weeks ahead.
3. Sex offenders in school?
- How would you react if you suddenly learned a convicted juvenile sex offender was in your child’s class at school?
- That’s a real thing, and one Prattville family’s unique experience is bringing it into specific relief.
- Read Montgomery Advertiser/USA Today reporter Marty Roney’s full front page write up from Sunday’s paper.
- Marty gets into a lot of surprising statistics regarding juveniles with sex offender status and also explores the rights of those who have been convicted.
- You may have heard about Sen. Clyde Chambliss‘ bill that requires the state to notify local superintendents and school board members when a convicted juvenile sex offender moves into the school zone.
- That’s probably good for getting ahead of some touchy situations. However, attorney Stephen Perdue – who represents the Prattville family – wants the bill to go further.
- “We strongly believe that convicted juvenile sex offenders should not be mainstreamed with the general enrollment,” Perdue said.
- Should there be more or better laws on this? Do local school boards need greater flexibility to deal with these situations on a case-by-case basis?
4. What happened with that execution?
- Hours after receiving the final go-ahead to proceed with executing convicted murderer Doyle Lee Hamm, the state halted the lethal injection, saying there wasn’t enough time to carry it out.
- Hamm’s attorney claims the state executioners “stuck [Hamm] repeatedly in the lower legs, ankles and groin in effort to find a usable vein,” according to the Associated Press.
- Hamm had previously claimed that complications from his lymphoma would make it difficult or impossible to carry out a lethal injection.
- Alabama Dept. of Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn told AP, “I wouldn’t necessarily characterize what we had tonight as a problem. … The only indication I have is that in their medical judgment it was more of a time issue given the late hour,”
- Federal Judge Karon Bowdre has ordered Hamm be examined and records related to the aborted execution be preserved by DOC.
- Speaking of executions, the man who killed U.S. 11th Circuit Judge Robert Vance with a mail bomb is scheduled to be put to death on April 19.
5. SCOTUS hears public sector union fee case today
- The Supreme Court today will hear oral arguments on a case that could decide the future of how public sector unions finance political campaigns with member dues.
- Plaintiff Mark Janus is an Illinois state worker who says the payments he is forced to make to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees violate his constitutional right to free speech.
- Put another way, the Supreme Court could do to public sector unions nationally what the Legislature did to AEA here in Alabama.
- In 2011 the State of Alabama passed a law taking away AEA’s automatic dues payments from teachers and other education employees, forcing them to earn their members’ political donations.
- Read POLITICO for more on the story.
Photo of the day
Someone texted me this picture with an interesting story behind it. Apparently, walking in downtown Montgomery after the ALGOP dinner Friday night, Attorney General Steve Marshall and some others were approached by a homeless woman asking for money. Instead of dismissing her and hurrying to his next meeting, Marshall walked her several blocks to a local shelter. I asked the AG’s office to tell me more of the story on the record but they declined to comment.
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Congress has ideas on gun violence, but no consensus
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama promotes storm supplies with tax-free sales
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Caller told FBI Florida shooter ‘was going to explode’
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Funeral set for slain Mobile police officer
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Court leaves black judge on case against white officer
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER – Bobby Bright will stay on GOP primary ballot.
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: How seven little men killed Alabama pot bill — and one man’s redemption.
AL.COM – Luther Strange trying to land Washington D.C. job: report.
AL.COM – Bobby Bright will stay on GOP primary ballot.
AL.COM – Could gun-carrying Alabama teachers be sued if something goes wrong?
AL.COM – Alabama Democrats pitch lottery in governor’s race, conservative critics pounce.
AL.COM – Wedding businesses worry about Alabama marriage license bill.
AL.COM – Contributor Rabbi Douglas Kohn: A call to conscience on guns.
AL.COM – Alabama students organize event to focus on school safety.
AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: The Hites find special purpose where most see special needs.
AL.COM – Don’t leave free cash for college on the table.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama Republican Party ‘indefinitely postpones’ censure of Sen. Shelby for not supporting Roy Moore.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama Legislature passes bill to help suffering, addicted veterans.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama GOP Chairman Lathan: U.S. Senate defeat a ‘one-and-done,’ ‘Infrastructure of the party is strong in 67 counties’.
YELLOWHAMMER NEWS – Alabama State Committee of Public Health appoints new state health officer.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS – Legislative update: Bills sponsored by local lawmakers move forward.
DECATUR DAILY – Remington misfire? Morgan out $1M as gunmaker faces bankruptcy, low employment.
DECATUR DAILY – Alabama paves the way for public transport funding.
ANNISTON STAR – Truckers worried about new federal logging mandate.
FLORENCE TIMES DAILY – Lawmakers should break away from NRA.
TUSCALOOSA NEWS – What’s the plan if the lottery doesn’t pass?
GADSDEN TIMES – How many teachers will raise their hands to pack guns?
ANNISTON STAR – Voters say education is a top political issue. So why is Calhoun County’s state school board representative running unopposed?
ANNISTON STAR – The ludicrous idea of arming teachers in America’s schools.
DOTHAN EAGLE – State’s case against Center Stage Bingo slogs through legal process.
DOTHAN EAGLE – Arming teachers is a terrible idea.
WASHINGTON POST – After testy call with Trump over border wall, Mexican president shelves plan to visit White House.
NEW YORK TIMES – After Parkland, a Flood of New Threats, Tips and False Alarms
NEW YORK TIMES – The True Source of the N.R.A.’s Clout: Mobilization, Not Donations
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Maureen Dowd: This Snake Can’t Shed His Skin