The Alabama Policy Institute staff made a list and we’re checking it twice as we think back on 2017 and what was “naughty” or “nice.” What made your list this year?

Nice: The legislature passed four pro-life bills this year…

This year, the legislature passed four bills each that aim at protecting the sanctity of life, plus a bill that legalizes midwifery in Alabama.  The pro-life bills included a ban on assisted suicide, a provision that ensures the right-of-conscience of health-care providers, a bill that allows adoption agencies to operate and place children under faith-based policies, and a constitutional amendment affirming the right to life of unborn children. It is great to know that our lawmakers are unafraid to stand up for individuals’ rights and the right to life.

Naughty: But the legislature did not pass the changes to the Alabama Accountability Act, which would have broadened access to school choice for more of Alabama’s schoolchildren.

Amendments to the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA) would have expanded the pool of donors and donations to the AAA, thus enhancing opportunities for children to have school choice who otherwise would have none. In 2016, donations to the AAA dropped from $25.8 million to $19.9 million.* If the system is not funded, schoolchildren will be forced to return to the failing schools they left. These amendments addressed the funding problem, but unfortunately, they did not pass. We’ll try again next time!

Nice: Alabama has a female governor! 

Governor Kay Ivey has faithfully served our state in many different capacities over the course of her career. Now, she’s Alabama’s top-ranking government official. Among other things in her first year, Governor Ivey has met with President Trump to discuss infrastructure, dissolved several Bentley-era task forces, and unveiled a gubernatorial initiative called “Strong Start, Strong Finish,” which focuses on early childhood education, computer science in middle and high school, and workforce preparedness. You go, Gov.

Naughty: Unfortunately, the events leading up to her appointment were not the best. 

I really don’t want to relive the saga of former Governor Robert Bentley and I don’t think that you do either. He used state resources on activities related to his alleged affair. He reportedly asked Alabama’s top cop about arresting his own wife for recording his phone calls. According to testimonials, he threatened state employees. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Alabamians have so much to be proud of, but this whole ordeal was particularly embarrassing.

Nice: In a recent survey, Alabama ranks fourth in the nation in charitable donations.

According to a survey by WalletHub, Alabama is fourth behind a three-way tie of Utah, Georgia, and Wyoming in highest percentage of income donated to charitable causes. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise in a state as conservative as Alabama. The truth is that government aid does not compare to the abilities of individuals who give to private charity. I’m proud to live in a state where people realize the importance of giving.

Naughty: The events leading up to the resignation of Superintendent Michael Sentance were an actual debacle… (And even naughtier were several of the school board members)

Michael Sentance was hired as the State Superintendent of Education in August 2016. Almost immediately, his tenure was surrounded by controversy, at no fault of his own. While Sentance came to his job with an abundance of fresh ideas from his time working in education in Massachusetts (which ranks 46 places higher than Alabama in overall education) members of the state school board seemingly felt threatened. For months, rumors swirled about the school board taking steps to fire him. In September, he resigned from his post. The search for a new superintendent begins again. When will we put Alabama students above politics?

Naughty: But Sentance’s resignation pales in comparison to the fiasco of the U.S. Senate Special Election.

This election was one of the ugliest in recent Alabama history. Friends turned into enemies, and you couldn’t turn on the TV or radio without having to endure political ads. In the general election, 21,000 voters were so disgusted with their choice of candidates, they showed up to vote but did not cast a ballot for either one. The Alabama Secretary of State’s office estimates that between $10 million to $15 million were spent to hold the special election, and over $10 million were spent by the two candidates in the general election. In a state as charitable as Alabama, imagine how much could have been done for others with all that money.

Nice: Over the last year, Alabama has added a net of 30,000 jobs. 

In the most up-to-date numbers from October 2017, Alabama added 29,400 jobs to its economy since January 2017.  Even better news, is the unemployment rate is the lowest on record at 3.8%. According to the latest numbers from U.S. News and World Report, Alabama ranks seventh in the nation in poverty. You know what’s a guaranteed way to pull people out of poverty? Having a job. Way to go, Alabama.

From the API team, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

*If you’d like to donate to a scholarship granting organization, the deadline for this year is December 31! Head over to MyAlabamaTaxes.gov to donate.


MORE ON API Blog

A Guide to Fake News

More than once every day. That’s how often President Trump publicly calls something “fake”—be it a story, poll, or news organization. Just this week, Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress about, among other things, the proliferation of falsities on his social media platform, including in Alabama’s special election for U.S. Senate last year. We see the […]

Taylor’s Top Eight: End-of-Session Edition

It’s been just over a week since the 2018 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature came to an end. After marinating on this year’s 26 legislative days, here are my takeaways in the final legislative review for 2018. There were a few pieces of legislation for which our legislators deserve a round of applause. 1. […]

How Christ’s Resurrection Makes Politics Better

“He is not here; He has risen!” These are perhaps the most consequential words ever spoken. A man who three days earlier had been violently beaten, hung upon a cross, and buried lifeless in a tomb, is alive again! The reality behind these words—a risen Savior who had borne the sins of the world—prompted the […]

MORE FROM Taylor Dawson

Taylor’s Top Eight: End-of-Session Edition

It’s been just over a week since the 2018 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature came to an end. After marinating on this year’s 26 legislative days, here are my takeaways in the final legislative review for 2018. There were a few pieces of legislation for which our legislators deserve a round of applause. 1. […]

Taylor’s Top Four: Legislative Review for Week 11

The countdown is on! What’s happening as the session winds down? Read below to find out! 1. Gun bills might be finished for this session . . .   With time quickly winding down in the legislative session, the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee had a meeting scheduled on Tuesday to consider several […]

Taylor’s Top Four: Legislative Session Review for Week 10

The session looks to be winding down, but we aren’t going anywhere! Here’s your recap of week 10 in the Alabama legislature. If you want to receive daily news from across the state and nation straight to your inbox each morning, click here to subscribe to API’s Daily Clips. 1. General Fund budget has almost crossed its […]