Since Republicans captured both houses of the Alabama state legislature as well as the governorship in 2010, the state’s Medicaid budget has been cut again and again and again. Most state parks and museums have become zero line items. The legislature also cut teacher retirement and pay on “biblical principles,” and Governor Bentley has not made good on his promises to close the gap. Altogether, Alabama spends about $1000 less per pupil than before the GOP took complete control of the state, a 20% reduction over three years.
But state Republicans have never extended this austerity to any of the plainly-unconstitutional laws they keep passing against immigrants and abortion providers, only to see their legislation inevitably overturned by federal courts. Last Thursday, Sam Brooke of the Southern Poverty Law Center told WAFF News that Republican legislators have recklessly charged ahead with their skewed priorities at taxpayer expense knowing full well that the laws could not withstand scrutiny. Responding, state representative Mike Ball covered his ears and babbled incoherently.
“[The SPLC] said we know how it’s going to turn out. No we don’t,” said Alabama State Representative Mike Ball. “If I know how it’s going turn out, I’m going to try to keep things constitutional.”
Ball said he’s aware of the tax payer dollars the state uses every year in litigation.
“Some things we stick our neck out on, and some things other states stick their neck out on,” said Ball.
Ball said he doesn’t believe the legislature is wasting tax payer money.
“We’re asserting our rights as elected representatives of the people of Alabama and they’re exerting their rights of citizens who have all these left leaning lawyers who want to challenge it,” said Ball. “Whether we like it or not, it is a messy process, but it’s the process that we have,” said Ball.
The Alabama Attorney General’s office wasted $580,000 defending a truly terrible HB 56 anti-immigration law. Mike Ball seems to think that “left-leaning lawyers” are at fault for the “messy process” that Republican legislators insisted the state must endure. They wanted to save their constituents from the evils of undocumented immigrant children in their schools, undocumented parents getting utilities turned on, and undocumented Christians hitching rides to church. During this year’s thirty day session, the legislature cut $10 million in funding from historically black Alabama State University, but was still able to pass several anti-abortion laws that will surely fail court scrutiny at tremendous cost to taxpayers.
Like the rest of his caucus, Mike Ball is betting that more Alabama voters will be impressed by their ‘courage’ to waste time and resources ‘protecting the unborn’ than will be offended by his party’s cowardly cuts to education programs for children who have been born. Sadly, he is probably right.
Video: WAFF reports on the cost of unconstitutional laws