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INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE: In terms of proposed budget solutions, ‘everything is on the table’

By Steve Flowers The regular legislative session ended without a General Fund Budget. As we look back politically on the first half of the year, the dilemma with the General Fund has been the dominant issue. It has been at the forefront since the beginning of the year, and it is not yet resolved. After five months of wrangling over the beleaguered General Fund Budget, a late summer special session is in the ...

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INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE: State derives no revenue from gambling despite presence of casinos in Alabama

By Steve Flowers As I was walking out of the Statehouse recently, someone asked me, “Do you think we will have gambling in Alabama?” My response was simple: “We already have gambling, the state just does not derive any revenue from it.” Indeed, gambling proliferates in our state just as it does in all of the other 49 states and the District of Columbia. People gamble online prolifically every day. There are ...

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Inside the Statehouse – Resolving the state budget crisis will likely take a special session

By Steve Flowers We are in the final days of the first regular legislative session of the quadrennium. The session constitutionally has to end June 15. The governor and legislature are at a standoff. The financial dilemma in the State General Fund has not been addressed and the budgets are up in the air. As the session began four months ago, Gov. Robert Bentley was the first to cry wolf. No Republican likes ...

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INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE : Special session may be on the horizon to resolve state’s budget dilemma

By Steve Flowers You would have to have been under a rock for the past six months to not have heard that the State General Fund has a shortfall, and Gov. Robert Bentley has proposed a $540 million tax increase solution to resolve the problem. This crisis has been formulating for close to a decade now. It is under Dr. Bentley’s watch that the train wreck has finally occurred and the chickens have come home t ...

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The good of trouble: It drives us to prayer

By Robert Wilkerson Trouble often comes to us in the form of sickness. One such incident is recorded in Isaiah 38:1-6. While his country was at war with Assyria, Hezekiah, the king of Israel, became seriously ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.’” Whether that mes ...

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Inside the Statehouse: A sneak preview of the 2018 Alabama governor’s race

By Steve Flowers On a picture perfect sunny January day, Gov. Robert Bentley was sworn in for his second term as governor, along with all the other constitutional state officeholders. Taking their oath of office on the same day were Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Luther Strange, State Treasurer Young Boozer and State Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan. They were all sworn in for a second four-year ...

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Congress should reschedule medicinal marijuana

By Zack Steele Last month, a bipartisan group of senators including presidential hopeful Rand Paul introduced a Senate bill to re-classify medicinal marijuana. Sounds ridiculous, right? But to many physicians and the scientific community, this proposal may change the way many doctors manage patient care. To give you a little background, marijuana is classified as a schedule I narcotic. It’s right up there, ...

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Inside the Statehouse: First several months of 2015 eventful in Alabama politics

By Steve Flowers As the world turns in Alabama politics, a lot has happened in the first three months of 2015. After Inauguration Day, a federal judge in Mobile ruled Alabama’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage wasn’t constitutional under federal law. In appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court it was obvious that the high tribunal conferred with the lower court ruling and gave every indication th ...

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Home ownership can pay off at tax time

By David Guttery Although home prices nationwide are still recovering from the housing crisis, the number of homeowners with underwater mortgages has declined. Federal mortgage regulators have also taken steps to ease the tight credit standards that have stymied some potential borrowers in recent years. A healthier housing market and an improving employment situation suggest that many Americans may be in a ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Congress should move on Internet sales legislation

By Steve Flowers Alabama’s senior and premier political reporter, Phil Rawls, has retired. Phil spent 35 years reporting on Alabama politics for the Associated Press. He was simply the best. He was fair and accurate. His 40 years of covering the State Capitol made him easily the longest serving member of Alabama’s Capitol press corps. Phil is a native of Covington County. He received his bachelor’s and mast ...

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