We thought we'd pass along this message from T.J. Maloney, executive director of the Alabama Republican Party.
Dear Fellow Republicans,
Our legislators wrapped up the special session this week after focusing on the reapportionment maps for future state House and Senate Districts. After the census is taken every 10 years, states are required by law to redraw the maps so that population changes are reflected, being distributed evenly amongst Alabama's 105 House seats and 35 Senate seats. Legislators in Alabama have strict guidelines to follow per the U.S. Department of Justice, and the two Republicans in charge of this process, Representative Jim McClendon of Springville and Senator Gerald Dial of Lineville, did a fantastic job of taking everything into consideration and creating maps that will pass judicial scrutiny.
The Democrats were less than thrilled with the new lines and one in particular, Senator Marc Keahey of Grove Hill, threw a temper tantrum and demanded that the Senate version of the bill be read, word for word, before being voted on. While it was certainly within his right to do so, this display of petty petulance cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars, and accomplished absolutely nothing. He knew that there were enough votes in the Senate to pass the legislation, but any legislator can request that a bill be read word for word at any time. Only the legislator who requested the bill be read can stop the reading. This move on his part was nothing more than political posturing.
I'm also happy to announce that the General and Education Trust Fund Budgets were passed and signed by the Governor on Thursday. Governor Bentley signed into law House Bill 658, sponsored by Representative Mickey Hammon of Decatur in the House and Senator Scott Beason of Gardendale in the Senate. This legislation makes revisions on House Bill 56, the anti-illegal immigration bill that was passed year, making the bill tougher on lawbreakers and easier to be enforced.
Governor Bentley also signed Senate Bill 477, sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial of Lineville. This bill, that would bar the state from taking over private property without due process, is intended to shelter Alabamians from the United Nations Agenda 21, a sustainable development initiative that some conservatives see as a precursor for the creation of a world government.
Republicans entered the 2012 Session of the Alabama Legislature on the heels of what proved to be one of the most productive Legislative Sessions in Alabama history in 2011 when Republican lawmakers fulfilled the “Republican Handshake With Alabama.” Our Republican leadership began the 2012 Legislative Session with the same sense of determination, purpose and Party unity seen in 2011.
Over the last few weeks, I hope I have done a good job of keeping you updated on the happenings in Montgomery. There was no way to cover every bill, so I tried to focus on the more important bills that were key to the Republican legislative agenda. Now that the season has officially ended, I'd like to give a quick recap of the past 3 months and give some credit where credit is due.
Purpose and Party Unity
As a result of continued strong Republican leadership from Governor Bentley’s office, our Republican legislative leadership, and others, the 2012 Legislative Session was another year of major legislative progress for our state. Republican lawmakers fought tirelessly this session to pass legislation that will benefit our state for years to come, including bills that will help promote major job growth in Alabama, bills that improve our children’s education, and reforms that will reign in wasteful government spending and debt and cut bureaucratic red tape.
At Republican Party headquarters, our staff worked hand-in-hand with Republican leadership throughout the 2012 session to help carry out the legislative agenda and achieve the goals of the Republican Party. We commend Gov. Bentley, Lt. Gov. Ivey, and our House and Senate leadership for their continued leadership and commitment to work together to maintain a strong, cohesive Party focused on accomplishing a common mission: a better Alabama for all. Without their leadership and the hard work of our dedicated Republican legislators across the state, we would not have been able to achieve a second year of unprecedented legislative progress and reform in Alabama.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
The Governor’s office and Republican leadership in the House and Senate made it clear from day one that the top priorities for the 2012 Legislative Session would be job creation and economic growth. Our Republican legislators delivered, wasting no time to pass a number of pro-growth job bills already signed into law by the Governor and have already begun to make an impact on our state. Combined with 2011 Legislative measures that have resulted in Alabama leading the nation for more than a year in decreased unemployment, these new bills will ensure that our state will continue to create new jobs, attract more businesses, and continue to put Alabamians back to work.
Another primary focus of Republican leadership entering the 2012 session was improving the quality of education in our state. Republican legislators passed bills that offer a financial bonus for all teachers who become National Board Certified and a bill that will provide much-needed funding to every teacher in the state to spend in their classrooms for important supplies. They also passed a bill that will make our schools more accountable by rating every public school in the state from A-F based on various performance indicators, and then releasing each school’s grade to the public so that parents and members of every community know how their schools are performing.
We are very proud of our Republican lawmakers for all of their hard work and tireless efforts to achieve our legislative goals this session. We made significant strides and worked diligently to reach the goals of our Governor and Republican leaders.
It has been exciting to watch new leaders emerge this year as our freshman Republican legislators follow the leadership and guidance of their senior counterparts in the House and Senate and become more confident in themselves and in the legislative process. With experienced leadership and legislators in place as guides, I have no doubt that the future of our party is in good hands. But we must remember the efforts of the hundreds of Republican legislators who fought for more than a century against insurmountable odds, men and women who scratched and clawed not for yards, but for inches, who knowingly and unselfishly sought victory not for themselves, but for those who would follow in their footsteps generations later.
As we wrap up the 2012 Legislative Session, it is an exciting time to be a Republican in Alabama. We have the momentum in our favor as we move closer to November elections, but we must not become complacent. For the first time in more than a century, the Republican Party is poised to gain control of elected offices on every level of government, from the Court House all the way to the White House. By working together, we can ensure victory for conservatives in November and enter 2014 as an even stronger party positioned to defend our majority in the legislature. It took us 136 years to get where we are today. We must continue to work together and never forget what it took to get us here.
For the Party,
Alabama Republican Party
P.S. - Don't forget to purchase your tickets for the Summer Dinner, featuring Florida Congressman, Allen West. Time is running out and seats are selling fast. Purchase your tickets online or by calling 205-212-5900!