Alabama's state house is known as "Goat Hill," a term it has earned for its uncanny ability to be stubborn as a farm animal, and its uncanny ability to consistently pass some of the most odiferous legislation this side of a barnyard. The new year in the Montgomery legislature is shaping up to be the same old predictable, treacherous rocky terrain we've come to expect from our lawmakers, if we use the intent of the pre-filed bills as our guide to coming 2012 attractions.
Here are just some of the of the issues on tap from the republican majority in Alabama:
- Charter Schools
- Corporate Welfare
- Voter ID Laws (as if we didn't have enough already!)
- Changing Ballot Access Requirements for Potential Candidates
- Private Prison Industrialization
- Personhood Amendments
- Constitutional Reform and Amendments
- Drug testing for public assistance recipients
With 2012 being an election year, all elections count no matter how small they have been in the past. The Public Service Commission election, usually a low voter turnout election, will be one of the most expensive and contentious on record this year as republicans continue their "paint the state red" agenda. It's an important election because whatever the next PSC board is made of, it will stand as the only defender between the utility giants and fair rates for all citizens.
Local elections, school board vacancies and community elections will all serve to further the republican agenda in Montgomery, if the citizens blink, and don't use the only power they have left in the state--their votes.
With so many citizen's rights to trample and only three months to do it in, expect the legislators to pass many bills without reading them. (like they did last year, i.e. #HB56) They'll bend to the will of the hundreds of lobbyists swarming around the state house like flies on goat droppings.
It won't be pretty and it won't smell nice whatever gets planted on the books as law with the current herd of horn heads in charge.
The republican majority promised the citizens of this state "transparency and accountabilty" and we've experienced very little satisfaction from their empty, 'elect me' promises. In fact, their actions have often gone completely in the other direction of truth and light and straight into the mud ditch of business as usual.
But they won't hide from us, or you, our valued readers.
Thanks to all you for your support in our ongoing efforts, and here's to the next year of watchhdog journalism in Dixie from all of us at The Confidential.
*illustration by JD Crowe
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