On The Issues
"Protecting our Christian values is the most important thing a representative can do in Montgomery. This will guide all of my votes as your representative in the legislature."

Improving Education
Education funding – Alabama Trust Fund “Our children need the best possible education. Getting a good education has an immeasurable impact on an individual’s life not only financially but in creating happiness. Our First Class Reading Initiative and the Alabama Math and Science Initiative have paid major dividends. ... Read More

Less Government Spending, Lower Taxes
Across the board, government spending is out of control. As a small businessman, " I believe the state should cut taxes, eliminate annual property appraisals and go back to reappraisals every four years."

Protect Alabamians Against Healthcare Mandates
I want to pass a law in Alabama that prevents people from being forced to join a government run healthcare system.


For Immediate Release
April 24, 2012

Contact: Wes Long
(334) 242-7511

Gov. Robert Bentley Signs Road and Bridges Construction Tort Reform Measure Sponsored By Long/scofield Into Law

Montgomery – State Rep. Wes Long (R – Guntersville) on Tuesday announced that Gov. Robert Bentley has signed Senate Bill 134, a tort reform measure carried in the House by Long and sponsored by State Sen. Clay Scofield (R – Arab), into law.

The new law will limit the civil liability of a contractor for work performed on a highway, road, bridge or street, including repairs, construction or maintenance on behalf of the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), the county or local government, unless it is shown by a preponderance of evidence that physical injury, property damage or death is caused by the contractor's performance or inability of the contractor to recognize a dangerous condition.

“It is important that contractors, construction companies and similar small businesses are given protections from civil lawsuits as long as they provide quality work in return,” Long said. “Far too often, overzealous plaintiff lawyers eye road builders when accidents occur, even when projects have long been completed and the accident was not their fault.

“This much needed legislation offers contractors a measure of protection from lawsuits without requiring local governments to shoulder any additional responsibility.  In these tough economic times when jobs are scarce and many small businesses are struggling to survive, this new law should help grow our economy while making needed infrastructure improvements across the state,” Long, a first-term member of the Alabama House, added.




When the Alabama Legislature convened for the 2011 Regular Session, we knew the state's fiscal situation was grim. The budgets, one providing funding for education and the other for general state services, have been kept afloat with federal stimulus money for the last few years. Now, with that money gone, hard choices have to be made.

Governor Bentley made those choices clear when he delivered his State of the State Address on the first day of the session. He said that we must prioritize state resources so that the taxpayers get the most out of their hard-earned money. Setting priorities, the Governor said, won't come without sacrifice.

"show »

Determining what cuts must be made in the budgets is certainly a significant challenge. However, it is also an opportunity to examine how every dime of taxpayer money is being spent, and make sure we are putting it to good use.

One area of spending we have examined is pension and insurance benefits for government workers. It is essential that we offer public employees, especially teachers, a competitive benefits package, and compared to the private sector, we do. However, there are excesses in the system that the state simply cannot afford any longer.

One of these is the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, which allows government workers who work past retirement age to draw their taxpayer-subsidized retirement and their taxpayer-funded paycheck at the same time.

To call DROP a "Cadillac" benefits plan wouldn't do it justice. DROP is the "Rolls Royce" of employee benefits plans. It offers participants the luxury of cashing in on lucrative pension benefits – banking them in a high-yield interest-bearing account – all while continuing to receive full-time salary and benefits. DROP guarantees a four percent return each year as long as the employee keeps working, even in the leanest budget years when Alabama is in proration.

According to a comprehensive study by the Alabama Policy Institute, DROP participants who have at least 25 years in the system essentially get a 50 percent pay increase just for working past retirement age.

DROP was originally implemented in 2002 as a way to discourage experienced teachers and state employees from retiring early. But the largest beneficiaries of DROP aren't state employees at all. The two individuals who hold the most money in the DROP program are Alabama Education Association Executive Secretary Paul Hubbert at $1.37 million and AEA Associate Secretary and Democratic Party Vice Chairman Joe Reed at $1.47 million.

All this adds up to cost taxpayers $58.5 million annually, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Office. The Legislature is considering/ has passed legislation to save that money by repealing DROP. Governor Bentley's budget, which carefully and compassionately avoids teacher layoffs, depends on the savings created by the passage of this bill.

Opponents of repealing DROP have called the proposal "an attack on teachers," and "anti-public employee," but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Repealing DROP allows the state to avoid public sector layoffs, including those of teachers.

Repealing DROP will also help us save Alabama's public employee retirement system. Just as the runaway costs of excessive benefits plans helped cripple companies like General Motors, DROP's no-risk, high reward scheme adds unnecessary, unsustainable costs that threaten the system at large.

I don't blame public employees for participating in DROP. It is a plum perk and enrollees are simply playing by the rules. But DROP is excessive. DROP is unnecessary. As lawmakers, we must make responsible choices about spending. I favor crafting a bonus structure, much like those utilized in the private sector, to help us attract and retain best and brightest teachers. However, a "come-one come-all," "Rolls Royce" benefits package is fundamentally irresponsible.

Dropping DROP is the right thing to do.



Click to enlarge