Alabama Informed Voter Act
HB95: Sponsored by Representative McMillan Read more...
Note from Ken Freeman:
To All Conservative Alabama Citizens
As an old joke starts off, "There is good news and there is bad news."
First, the good news- and it is very, very good news! The Alabama Informed Voter Act has been passed out of the Alabama House with a vote of ninety nine (99) yeas and one (1) nay. Technically it passed out unanimously because Rep. Barry Mask, apparently distracted by the sound of his imaginary "black helicopters", hit the wrong button and voted against the bill by mistake. He asked that there be a legislative note added on the vote summary saying that he had intended to vote yes on the bill.
After the vote was tallied, the Speaker of the House asked if there were other members who wished to be added as co-sponsors on the bill. If I read the board correctly, (somebody needs to double check the numbers for me) those wishing to be added ran up to a total of 65 additional co-sponsors. Success has many fathers!
We can ALL take pride in this accomplishment. Working together as patriots, we have gotten the bill dropped into the hopper, out of committee, passed out of the House and well on its way in the Senate- all within the first three days of the 2013 Legislative Session. Something like this is virtually unheard of in Alabama.
In the Senate, the Informed Voter Act passed out of committee easily. However, because of an apparent move by Senate Democrats to filibuster everything brought up that day it did not have time to come up for a full Senate vote. The same type of filibuster occurred in the House as well, but they were eventually able to close out this so-called debate and bring it to a vote there.
Note: There is now a small difference between the House and Senate versions of the bill. In the House committee, Rep. Newton added three inconsequential "word change" amendments and one real amendment calling for a "live, eyeball to eyeball" presence at the fair ballot board meetings- instead of members being able to attend by Skype or speaker phone as long as they were fully engaged in the discussions etc.- in order to form a quorum or to vote. Board members will be reimbursed only for travel expenses at the usual government rates. We had allowed this in the bill in order to save the taxpayers some money and to allow for last minute issues that might arise. The Senate committee disagreed with forcing the face to face meetings and only added the other small wording changes as they had been added by the House committee. So the two bills have a slight difference.
(Many of you will already know this but for those who don't I present the following; Please bear with me.) Even one comma or one word being different between the two versions now requires that that they be made identical, either on the Senate floor when it comes up for debate (if they would accept the House version), or by being sent to a resolution committee of both houses where the language could be made identical by agreement of the committee members. Either way, this slows down the entire legislative process which is, I believe, the real intent of the Democrats. They probably have no real objection to this bill- they are just trying to run out the clock, or wear out their opposition, before another bill that they strongly oppose can be brought up and passed by the Republican majority. The Democrats don't have the votes to stop the bill they oppose, so they are into full political gamesmanship in order to delay, deflect or gain a compromise from the Republicans. Our bill just got caught in the middle.
At the time this bill was in the House committee I did not understand why Rep. Newton was so insistent on these four seemingly unimportant amendments to our bill. I did not know about the Democrats planned filibuster; but when the bill was brought up for a full vote on the House floor, it was required that each amendment be voted on in order to be added to the bill. During the debate period on each bill and on each amendment to a bill, each member wishing to speak is allowed ten minutes to speak. There were eight or nine Democrats filibustering everything that came up that day. Had there been no amendments to our bill, they could have talked ten minutes each and delayed the vote by ninety minutes. BUT, with four amendments plus the bill itself requiring a vote, they could potentially talk ninety minutes times five or a total of seven and one half hours before the final vote on the bill, unless the Republicans voted cloture, which they are reluctant to do this early in the session.
Using their delaying tactics, between the delays on the first bill, the "Repay the Trust Fund Bill" and our bill, and the fact that they made it known that they intended to continue the filibuster on the next bill up, they burned up the whole legislative day and shortly after our bill was approved the House adjourned and everybody headed home for the weekend.
When you watch this kind of behavior your emotions run from anger to disgust and back again- but that is just the way the game is played in Montgomery.
The same thing happened to this bill last year (it got within four hours of passage) but that was at the end of the session and the Democrats successfully ran out the clock before it could be passed. This year will be different. This year we are at the front of the pack. Nothing is sure in Montgomery, but this year, I believe that we will pass the Informed Voter Act quickly! It just might be delayed a couple of Legislative days before passage.
I would like to THANK YOU ALL for your support and hard work. Without your combined efforts none of this would have been possible. When this bill passes, you and I, we will have made Alabama history. We will have greatly increased the amount and quality of information available to voters on the issues under consideration at election time. This bill will change forever, I believe, how we vote in Alabama and the quality of our laws. Citizen oversight and participation in the process of running our Republic will be greatly improved. You will have helped create well informed voters and thereby assisted in producing more efficient, effective and responsive Alabama Government. Maybe, just maybe, Alabama will have gotten a little closer to the place where, when we read our state's motto, "We dare defend our rights," we as a state will really mean it. Thank you once again for your efforts in the cause of liberty.
And I ask you all to please remember those Legislators who have fought alongside us in these battles. We, as a group, have a tendency to bitterly complain when we are dissatisfied with our government, but we rarely give our thanks, and certainly not with the same fervor, to our elected officials when they fight the good fight on our behalf. Representative Steve McMillan has been our sponsor in the House for the Informed Voter Act for the last two years and under his steady hand we have successfully gotten the bill out of the House both years. Last year Steve was also the sponsor for the Anti-Agenda 21 bill which was successfully passed out and signed into law. Steve has been a very good friend to patriots everywhere. He certainly deserves our thanks and support in his efforts. Please express your thanks, especially if you live in his district.
In the Senate, Senator Trip Pittman led the fight and sponsored the Informed Voter Act this year and helped work the Anti-Agenda 21 bill through the Senate Committees last year. He too greatly deserves our appreciation and support. Senator Brian Taylor, who was last year's sponsor of the Voter Act, strongly assisted both this year and last. And Senator Dial was and is the hero of the Anti-Agenda 21 battle last year and continues to help us again this year in our efforts.
There is always a political cost to any worthwhile effort. Many times our supporters draw fire for what they do on our behalf without hearing much appreciation from the public they represent. They are there when we need them- we need to support them when they need us! Please contact those mentioned above and offer your thanks.
On other topics: We are assisting in the language and the passage of several Alabama gun rights protection bills. (By Senators Beason and McGill and Rep. Jones). I will shortly let you know what we will need to do to help get these good bills passed - especially if they run into any more difficulty. These bills are making reasonable progress at present.
Now for the bad news: Well not so bad.
We are getting a little slower start on moving the repeal of the Federal Government's monstrous take-over of Alabama education under its "Core Curriculum Standards" than we had hoped for. Common Core will be in full operation next year if we don't stop it now. We are looking at several alternatives for moving forward with its repeal. Elois Zeanah has done a huge amount of work on this issue and she is the lead person in this effort. We are assisting her. I expect that we will be gaining momentum and supporters in the Legislature by the end of next week.
I will be sending out more information over the weekend. Stay tuned; we are going to need everyone's help on this very important issue.