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Legislative session to be predictable

Published 8:22pm Monday, February 11, 2013

The 2013 legislative session kicked off last week. There is an old saying that nobody’s life, liberty or property is safe when the Legislature is in session. A more accurate description for today in Alabama with a super Republican majority in charge in both chambers would be that no liberal or Democratic interests are safe when this Alabama Legislature is in session.

It is hard to believe that they are in the third year of their quadrennium. The first two years have resulted in a plethora of conservative legislation. This GOP legislative body cannot be labeled as RINO’s. They are real Republicans. They have been determined to put their conservative stamp on the state. They have indeed left an indelible mark on the Alabama political structure. Lying in the carnage of their march is the once vaunted Alabama Education Association. They have been stampeded and stomped on by this herd of elephants.

In their first two years this GOP army has marched in unison lockstep with their leadership. They have accomplished ethics reform, tort reform and tenure reform all with a right wing, pro business tint.

Just prior to the session, Speaker Mike Hubbard, the king of the House, launched yet another political action committee that he can use as a vehicle to keep his troops in line and also keep them in office. The new PAC is called Storm PAC. A high profile fundraiser for the new PAC was held a week ago in the Auburn home of Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson.

Some of the bills that will be on the 2013 GOP Agenda will include an anti abortion bill entitled the Women’s Health and Safety Act.

Republicans want to strengthen the state’s career technical education program by making sure that high school students have access to updated technology and equipment.

Even though ObamaCare is now the law of the land, the legislature is proposing a futile constitutional amendment that declares that Alabama is not part of the Union and we will not adopt ObamaCare. Specifically, they will attach language that mandates employers provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortion inducing agents.

Gov. Bentley backed off of a proposal to reduce the state’s workforce by offering an early retirement incentive package to certain state employees. Bentley rolled out the idea in September and said that 1,500 state employees would take advantage of the plan and save the state an estimated $82 million. It later became apparent that not many state workers would utilize Bentley’s plan. Therefore, the governor will not introduce this legislation in the session.

It should be an interesting yet predictable legislative session.

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