If you thought the 2012 Alabama legislative session was a sorry spectacle of extremism and political cowardice, well…. hang on. AL House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Majority Leader Micky Hammond announced their 2013 legislative agenda last week.
Wow, this should be big news, right? The Republican legislative supermajority announces their plan to pay back the money they sucked out of the Alabama Trust Fund, solve the Medicaid & education funding crises, and drag the Alabama Constitution kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.
Dream on. Hubbard & Hammond aren't even offering bread to go with their circus – since that might involve, you know, feeding poor people. No, all we get is a right-wing circus featuring God, guns, & and girl-parts:
— The Alabama Firearms Protection Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment that would “require future courts to use strict judicial scrutiny in evaluating state laws that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms,” according to a statement on the agenda. Hubbard said the legislation would signal to Alabama residents the Legislature would do all it could to protect gun rights.
— The Women’s Health and Safety Act, which leaders said would require “direct physician involvement” and “mandatory standards for nursing care and post-operative follow-up visits at abortions clinics.”
— “The Religious Liberty Act,” which would allow “certain employers” to opt out of contraceptive coverage mandated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as health care reform or Obamacare.
But what about the $400+ million being taken out of the Alabama Trust Fund over the next few years to fund basic state operations? It's hard to believe that repaying that money isn't a priority for Hubbard & Hammond.
According to Hubbard, they're going to pay the money back by “cutting waste” and “streamlining government,” both meaningless platitudes in this context. If it were as easy as that, then why did we “borrow” the money in the first place?
Over the next week, we'll be highlighting some of the pre-filed bills. You can see them for yourself at the OpenBama.org Web site.