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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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2015 Legislative Session: One-third down, two-thirds to go

By Danny Garrett It’s hard to believe that we are already one-third of the way through with the 2015 legislative session. The Republican majority House of Representatives has accomplished much in the fast-paced session, including: the historic passage of charter school legislation offering parents additional educational choices for their children; economic incentives aimed at businesses that locate in rural ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Are charter schools the answer in Alabama?

By Steve Flowers In recent years, the Republican Party has taken control of the legislatures in all the Southern states. Alabama’s legislature is overwhelmingly Republican. The GOP holds a 25-9 majority in the State Senate and a dominating 72-33 majority in the House of Representatives. Our supermajority GOP legislative body appeared to take on every conceivable ultraconservative reactionary issue during th ...

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Is Senate Bill 115 a risk worth taking?

By H. Mac Gipson If there were a type of “do no harm” Hippocratic Oath that Alabama lawmakers would swear to abide by, they wouldn’t have anything to do with proposed legislation that would weaken state control over the sale of liquor, ultimately leading to higher prices, as well as increased consumption with all its associated social ills. The legislation, Senate Bill 115, sponsored by state Sen. Arthur Or ...

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Limiting government means time to end Alabama’s state-run retail liquor sales

By Slade Blackwell Over the last few weeks, Mac Gipson, the administrator of Alabama’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, has been telling anyone who will listen that removing the state of Alabama from the retail liquor business would have a broad range of negative consequences for Alabamians. Unfortunately, Gipson’s arguments leave out one of the most glaring aspects of Alabama’s unique way of distributing ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Analogizing state finances to physical exams

By Steve Flowers Our good doctor governor, Robert Bentley, has done a thorough physical exam on the state’s finances and his diagnosis is that the general fund needs additional revenue. His Republican comrades in the legislature have been trying to starve the patient for the past four years. If the patient is an analogy to the state government, the approach over the past four years has been to put the patie ...

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Enjoying the season known as March Madness

By Zack Steele I thought I would take a break this week from the usual eye and heath care column to talk about something else I really enjoy. You may not know this, but I’m a basketball junkie. My father and grandfather were high school and college basketball coaches, so it’s in my blood. And as you could probably imagine, it’s my time of year. March Madness is like Christmas to me. There are so many exciti ...

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Inside the Statehouse: How Alabama ranks in child health care, taxes

By Steve Flowers Alabama may be in the lower tier of the country in some categories but not when it comes to providing health insurance for children. In that one category we excel. Brian Lyman with the Montgomery Advertiser provided an excellent study revealing that Alabama leads the South in taking care of its young people when it comes to giving them health coverage. A recent Georgetown University study s ...

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