South Carolina coastal insurance reform

Governor Dr. Robert Bentley recently appointed the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission to address “the troubled insurance market” with an eye to passing legislation in a special session.

Dr. Love says: “The lack of affordable insurance is an important issue that many in Alabama face. After the devastating tornadoes of April, insurance reform needs to be examined now more than ever.  I want this new commission to work together to stop the rising cost of insurance for the benefit of all Alabamians.”

In looking for information as to just what this means, I Googled “coastal insurance reform” – the top hit was my article on “Coastal insurance reform”.  That is no help to me (other than to feed my ego), and believe me it’s not much help to you either.  Fortunately, the South Carolina Omnibus Coastal Property Insurance Reform Act of 2007, co-sponsored by now-Governor Nikki Haley (R), was also listed. 

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Coastal insurance reform

The average cost to insure a home in Mobile and Baldwin Counties is eleventy billion dollars, if you can find an insurer.  Central and North Alabama are facing the same types of issues in the wake of the recent devastating tornadoes, so this is about more than ‘coastal insurance reform’.  Insurance reform may get addressed in a special session of the legislature, if not, it will certainly be a top issue in the next legislative session.

Governor Dr. Robert Bentley just named the members of the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission, led by Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell (R).  Huntsville is represented on the commission by Wayne Parker and State Farm agent Joe Demos.  Some interesting appointments include K. Carl Smith (The conservativeMessenger) and Michelle Kurtz (Homeowners’ Hurricane Insurance Initiative).  State Senator Ben Brooks (R – Mobile), State Representative Mike Hill (R – Columbiana), and State Representative Steve McMillan (R – Gulf Shores) are on the commission – presumably to sponsor legislation incorporating the results of the Commission’s efforts.

I spoke with Representative McMillan last week after his fishing trip and he said that insurance reform was his top legislative priority.  The GOP legislature passed a couple of bills this year to ”create a tax deduction for strengthening homes against hurricanes and tornadoes, set up an Insurance Department trust fund for retrofitting homes, and require that insurers publicly disclose information when they ask regulators for rate changes.”

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Bentley to keep another promise

Governor Robert Bentley “said he intends to sign” the Brewery Modernization Act (SB192 – sponsored by our own Bill Holtzclaw R-2), according to Michael Tomberlin of The Birmingham News who wrote “Alabama Governor Bentley plans to sign beer bill into law”:

“When I represented my local community, I voted against Sunday alcohol sales and things of that nature,” Bentley said in an interview. “As governor, it’s a little bit different. I don’t feel I should impose my views on everybody in the state. The Legislature has had a chance to look at it and passed it. I’m sure I will sign it.”

The law will allow breweries to have taprooms and relax restrictions on brewpubs.  Our local brewers say:

“A tap room is already in the works,” said Dan Perry, one of the founders and brewers of Straight to Ale. “We haven’t nailed down the rest of our plans yet.”

Mike Spratley, brewer and owner of Huntsville’s Blue Pants Brewery, said the new law creates an avenue for growth for upstart breweries like Blue Pants.

“We’re putting together a scheme for the next phase of our growth,” he said. “Things like tours and a tap room will likely be in the plans going forward. We see that as a great way to grow the business.”

Free the Hops Vice President and political genius Dan Roberts said:

“That’s what it’s all about — enabling Alabama businesses to grow”

Governor Bentley is keeping a promise made during an interview on WVNN (Flashpoint on the radio):

Dr. Bentley opposed Free the Hops in the legislature (he says he consistently opposes alcohol and gambling); but I asked if as Governor he would sign the Gourmet Beer Bill – with some nuance, he said he would (since it would have passed the legislature). 

Thank you Dr. Love.

Bentley keeps a promise

Governor-elect Dr. Robert Bentley partially fulfilled part of the Gas Tax Pledge by appointing John Cooper as Director of the Alabama Department of Transportation.  The Gas Tax Pledge promised to keep at least 80% of Madison County / Huntsville / Madison gas taxes in this area – plus – appoint an ALDOT Director from North Alabama.  Cooper lives near Guntersville, but worked as CEO of Avocent and CFO of Adtran in Huntsville.

Shelly Haskins of The Huntsville Times wrote “Gov.-elect Robert Bentley names retired Huntsville business executive John R. Cooper transportation director”:

“A first-class transportation system is a critical part of my plan for economic growth and bringing good-paying jobs to our citizens,” Bentley said in a news release. “John Cooper has the managerial experience and leadership qualities to ensure that Alabama has the right transportation infrastructure we need to succeed.”

Thanks Dr. Bentley – I hope this is the first of many posts saying “Bentley keeps a promise”!

Bentley spreads love

Givhan Bentley and Thomas

Givhan Bentley and Thomas












Republican candidate for Governor Dr. Robert Bentley spoke to a bi-partisan crowd of more than 100 people at the Huntsville Visitor’s Center on the square yesterday.

Dr. Bentley had a full day in and around Huntsville yesterday, starting at Floyd Hardin’s barber shop then visiting Larry’s, eating with the Elks, speaking at this event downtown, then to the Builders’ Association, then Hartselle, and IIRC ending up in Oneonta.  Bentley commented about Larry’s that “a gun shop is a good place for Republicans”.

Bentley began his speech noting the “tremendous uncertainty” in the country and that jobs are his focus.  Bentley said he believes in “free enterprise” and “helping business create jobs”.

Bentley referred to James 1:  ”when trials come into your life you can become stronger”.  Bentley said he would “find efficiency in government” and “the only time you can make government more efficient is when you don’t have enough money”.

Bentley is “opposed to federalization of health care”.

Bentley said “I believe that we should take care of our friends and neighbors through our churches and individually, not through the federal government”.

Bentley urged the crowd to “send me as Governor some more good GOP legislators”.

Bentley said that opponent Ron Sparks is “a poster child for some Democrats.  He is pro-choice.  I am pro-life”.  Bentley then noted that many Democrats are pro-life.  Bentley said that Sparks “does not want to do anything significant about illegal immigration” and related the story about Sparks going into the 13 foot ladder business if there was a 12 foot border wall.

Bentley reminded people to vote:  “I never leave without asking for everyone’s vote”.  Bentley ended his speech saying “I love the people of Alabama”.


Bi-partisan?  Yes:  Mary Jane Caylor (D – AL BOE 8) and her husband provided refreshments for the event.  I also saw several Democrats including Deborah Paseur and MadCo License Director Mark Craig.  Republicans? Yes: State Reps Mike Ball, Howard Sanderford, and Mac McCutcheon;  DA Rob Broussard; Judges Dennis O’Dell and Ruth Ann Hall; and Sheriff Blake Dorning.  Sorry if I missed recognizing any Democrat or Republican officials who attended…

I asked one of the Democrat officials if they were there out of respect for Bentley (as an official welcoming a gubernatorial candidate) – the answer was no – this person has had several opportunities to see Sparks but didn’t want to… That Democrat was there as a Bentley voter.

Bentley meet and greet on the square

From the Dr. Robert Bentley for Governor campaign:

We are having a Meet and Greet for Dr. Bentley at 216 West Side Square, Huntsville Alabama 35801 (Historic Regions Bank Building) from 1:15 to 2:15 on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.  If you are interested in meeting Dr. Bentley and/or hearing him speak, please come to this event.  Your admission price is to bring a friend.

Also, for those involved in the real estate and/or construction industries, we will have another meet and greet at the Huntsville Madison County Builders Association, located at 2804 Bob Wallace Avenue, later that afternoon from 3:30 to 4:30.

We have a tight schedule for him that day, but we hope that you can be with us during one of these time periods to meet the next governor of our great state!  Please do not be concerned about dress.  Dr. Bentley, being a strong supporter of Alabama’s work force, wants to meet you regardless of whether your collar is white, blue or dirty, so please come out and join us on Wednesday afternoon!


We’ve been writing about Robert Bentley since he announced his candidacy for Governor.   BTW, Dr. Bentley supports local restaurants – he and his campaign ate Stanlieo’s subs that day (this is the type of hard-hitting ‘reporting’ you can expect from me).

Brian and I interviewed Dr. Bentley when we filled in for Dale Jackson on WVNN (we’re the true Kingmakers!):

Dr. Bentley described his plan to create scholarships for Primary Care Physicians who commit to working in underserved areas.  He also talked about Health Savings Accounts and we asked him if the State could implement some sort of ‘Individual Development Account’ for Health Care.  We asked Bentley about his Economic Development ideas – he prefers that the State encourage existing / local industries to grow, as opposed to giving (m/b)illions to foreign companies (id est Thyssen-Kruppe).

Northeast Alabama Tea Party Rally


WHEN:            October 26, 2010 at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE:          Parking lot at corner of Clinton Street and Woodson in (across from Clinton Street Post Office)

Dr. Robert Bentley, Republican Candidate for Governor
Commissioner Mo Brooks, Republican Candidate for Congress (District 5)
Mary Scott Hunter, Republican Candidate for State School Board (District 8)
Senator Paul Sanford, Republican Candidate for State Senate (District 7)
Councilman Bill Holtzclaw, Republican Candidate for State Senate (District 2)

Please mark your calendars to join us for what we hope to be a fantastic turnout to hear and/or meet some of the GOP candidates from our area the week before the election.  We will also asking that you publicize this event through your organizations or campaigns, as the case may be, once our formal release is prepared.  I wanted to go ahead and get this out so that all of you would reserve this date on your calendars.

Candidates running to represent all or parts of Madison and/or Limestone County that are in attendance will be recognized during the program by Roger Richardson.  Local elected GOP officials will be recognized as well.  We hope people will be there early to meet candidates, who will be invited to set up tables.

Please note that Dr. Bentley will speak first and, after speaking, he must IMMEDIATELY leave to go to Athens for a televised debate (so please do not try to talk to him after he speaks.  We don’t want him to be late!).  Mo will go next and then he must also leave to go to Athens, because his debate follows Dr. Bentley’s.

Unconditional Surrender









This picture is of a 32 pounder gun in the lower battery at Fort Donelson National Battlefield near Dover Tennessee.  BTW the ’32 pounder’ refers to the weight of the shot, not the cannon (the gun barrel weighs about 4700 pounds).  The capture of Forts Henry (on the Tennessee River) and Donelson (on the Cumberland River) by the Union early during the Civil War forced the Confederates to abandon Kentucky and much of Tennessee.  The Battle of Fort Donelson also launched the careers of U.S. Grant and Nathan Bedford Forrest.  General Grant gained the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” for taking Fort Donelson.

Modern Republicans should learn from our GOP ancestors. 

I’d rather vote for a candidate who vows “to break” our political opponents than one whose first thought is “crossing the aisle” to compromise.  That is why I plan to vote for Bradley Byrne for Governor in the Republican Primary Runoff on July 13. 

I like Dr. Bentley, he’s always been very kind to me, and if he wins I will do everything I can to get him elected.  However, during his campaign speeches Bentley touts crossing the aisle like it’s a good thing – and maybe it is – but right now I want someone who will force the lying, cheating, and stealing Democrats to surrender their corrupt rule in Montgomery…


What do a mover from Florida, a butcher in Tennessee, and me have in common?  We’re all sick and tired of Obama and his socialist regime.  I’ve got to admit that I’m pleasantly surprised when random people start talking about Obama.


I really like John McMillan for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries in the GOP Primary Runoff.  McMillan’s new TV ad describes the Ag Commissioner’s job pretty well in a few seconds.  I like that McMillan considers water quality to be an important issue and that when he was a State Representative he worked on water issues.


Pioneer seed corn is very popular in Western Kentucky – an area which used to be known for tobacco but not so much anymore.  Just to note that politics and history are an inescapable part of life - the Hi-Bred Corn Company (Pioneer) was founded in part by Henry Wallace, the 1948 Progressive Party candidate for President (part of his campaign platform was universal government health insurance – socialized medicine).  Wallace later wrote Where I Was Wrong, explaining how he had been a ‘Useful Idiot’ of the Soviets.

Polls vs polls

Now that the GOP gubernatorial numbers have settled down a little bit, let’s compare the Polls (on June 1st – hat tip to Doc’s) versus the Public Strategy Associates poll (early May).   Bradley Byrne received 28% of the vote vs 24%; Robert Bentley received 25% vs 12%; Tim James received 25% vs 23%; Roy Moore received 19% vs 18%.  PSA observed that 21% of known GOP primary voters were undecided.  In May, PSA said:

“The next couple of weeks will be ‘make or break’ in the governor’s race…” said Brent Buchanan, a partner in Public Strategy Associates. “This is when the heat is on, and a lot can change in the next nineteen days,” he added.

Nice job on the poll.  Looks like the undecideds broke for Dr. Bentley and we’ll see soon enough if he or Tim James is in the runoff (pending the recount – Friday is the deadline). 

The vote difference between Bentley and James is 167 votes – well within the 0.5% error rate mentioned by Susan Fillipelli in comments at Doc’s (which seems to be a pretty good estimate).   My guess is that Bentley made the runoff with Byrne, but James certainly has good reason to request (and pay for) a recount.

Primary runoff turnout generally drops to 66% of the primary turnout, but that’s still roughly 330,000 voters who might show up (the most recent GOP primary runoff in Madison County turned out about 80%! – which could translate into almost 400,000 voters on July 13th).  It’s probably safe to assume that most of Byrne’s 137,000 voters show up and that most of Bentley’s (or James’) 124,000 voters show up: that leaves 69,000 to 139,000 votes ‘undecided’.   None of the candidates’ voters by themselves can take the primary runoff, exempli gratia, Byrne needs to get out all his vote plus add at least another 30,000 votes to win the runoff.

I voted for Byrne and will again, but James and Bentley rounded out my top three choices so I could vote for any of them come November.

Bradley Byrne GOTV

From Erin at the Byrne campaign to Right On Huntsville:

The Byrne campaign is going very well in Madison County. Since your group’s endorsement, we have only felt the momentum grow in this area. The Fish Fry last Saturday was a great success; we had around 400 people attend. It was the best political event the campaign has seen to date. A big thanks to the members who helped make the event a memorable one.

As we get in the last 5 days leading up to the (first) election, we are looking for a few more people to help us ensure a Byrne Victory in North Alabama. We need volunteers to make 25 phone calls each to remind others to Get Out the Vote on June 1st. There’s a short script and a list of names; calls can be made anytime beginning Friday, May 28, and ending Tuesday, June 1, at 6 p.m.

We also need volunteers to be Election Day “cheerleaders” for Bradley throughout the day. Our first priority is to fill the 7-9 a.m. shift at 35 GOP boxes. The REALTORs are working on filling some of these shifts, but I say the more the merrier. We will also look to place people at our biggest boxes from 11:30-1:30 and 4:30-6:30. All we need you to do is stand outside and wave a sign as people pass by.

If either of the above sounds like a winner to you, please let me know ASAP at 334.546.4831 or

Bradley can’t win up here without your help. The easiest way to jump in is to come by HQ (3125 University Drive) on Monday for a Memorial Day GOTV cookout. You can make 25 calls from here and then have a hot dog and drink. It’ll be a good time. If you want to help out this weekend, we’ll be here 10-5 (at least) tomorrow and Saturday and 1-6 Sunday. I’ll also be here all day Tuesday. You are welcome to come watch the numbers here after work that day.