Senate bill would require more Ethics Commission oversight of lawmaker consulting contracts

February 16, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

An Alabama State Senate committee approved a bill Thursday that would require more Ethics Commission oversight of lawmakers’ consulting contracts if those contracts are outside the normal scope of the member’s profession or business.

The bill as it passed out of committee would require a company or person seeking to hire a member of the Legislature for consulting work to notify the Alabama Ethics Commission before paying the member if the consulting work is outside the member’s “regular profession or line of business.”

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After Parkland shooting, Alabama lawmaker wants to arm teachers in the classroom

February 16, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

An Alabama lawmaker wants to arm teachers in classrooms across the state.

Guntersville Republican Rep. Will Ainsworth plans to drop a bill that would allow teachers to carry concealed guns at schools if they are trained to a state standard.

The introduction of the bill would come after a mass shooting at a school in Florida Wednesday claimed the lives of 17 students and teachers. Sixteen others were injured.

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Opinion | Your pro-gun arguments are stupid

February 16, 2018

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Here we are again.

Another school shooting. Another AR-15. Another domestic terrorist.

And more of the same BS answers from conservatives and gun nuts about a problem that is, quite obviously, directly linked to the weapon of choice used in these awful attacks — a gun.

For some reason, large swaths of Americans, and particularly Alabamians, are incredibly protective of guns — more so, it seems, than of school children. And as such, after every mass shooting, the same old rhetoric gets spewed again and again.

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Mickey Hammon gets three months in prison for mail fraud

February 16, 2018

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

A federal Court sentenced former House Majority Leader Micky Ray Hammon, R-Decatur, to three months in prison for committing mail fraud Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. announced the sentence. Hammon served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2003 until 2017, representing Alabama’s 4th District.

Hammon will also be subject to three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison sentence.

On Sept. 26, 2017, Hammon pleaded guilty to using money donated to his 2014 re-election campaign to pay personal expenses. This is a violation of Alabama law, which strictly limits the ways that donated money can be used.  Hammon used the United States Postal Service to commit his offense when he received campaign donation checks through the mail, making this a federal offense.

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Bill to scrap special elections for US Senate makes it out of committee

February 16, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

A bill that would do away with distinct special elections for U.S. Senate vacancies gained the approval of an Alabama State Senate committee Thursday.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark would direct the governor to set the election to fill a vacated U.S. Senate seat to coincide with the next statewide general election.

The bill passed the House last month 65-29.

Clouse’s bill would give the governor the authority to appoint a replacement who would stand for election not in a special election a few months later — but at the next regularly scheduled statewide election.

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Debate over formation of city school boards dominates Senate committee meeting

February 16, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

One committee meeting in the statehouse on Wednesday was met with debates over the qualifications to start a school board by city governments.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, would raise the requirements for the formation of school boards by increasing the population requirement from 5,000 to 25,000.

It would also require the Alabama State Department of Education to determine if the city has a tax base to support the school system. Coleman-Madison, speaking at Wednesday’s Senate committee on Education and Youth Affairs meeting, said the bill was a cost saving measure.

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Senate Judiciary Committee approves execution by nitrogen asphyxiation

February 16, 2018

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill Wednesday that would allow death row inmates to select death by nitrogen hypoxia as one of the three approved death penalty methods used by the state of Alabama.

Senate Bill 272 is sponsored by state Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose.

“We have decided in this state that the death penalty is appropriate in Alabama for certain heinous offenses,” Pittman said. “We had a prisoner who wanted death by firing squad a couple of years ago, and I brought a bill to let him do that; but after looking into it, firing squad is not a humane way of killing people. With lethal injection we have had some problems with the availability of certain cocktails. Execution by nitrogen hypoxia has been approved by only one other state.”

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Senate to consider bill allowing voters to register up to election day

February 16, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

A Senate bill passed out of committee Thursday would let voters register up to and including election day.

Voters must register two weeks in advance of an election under current state law. Selma Democrat Sen. Hank Sanders’ bill would change Alabama law to allow voters to register within that two week period on any day county boards of registrars maintain office hours.

Republican senators said they had concerns boards of registrars wouldn’t have time to update their voter lists before voting time.

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Alabama Farmers Federation endorses Roby for another term

February 16, 2018

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, the Alabama Farmers Federation endorsed U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, for re-election and cited her support for the agriculture community in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District.

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell praised Roby’s work on behalf of Alabama’s farmers in Congress.

“The Alabama Farmers Federation is fortunate to have a true friend of farmers in Representative Martha Roby,” Parnell said. “She not only understands the issues facing the agriculture community, but she is also extremely responsive to the needs of the members we serve. We are proud to stand by Martha Roby and continue to support her as she works on behalf of the people of Alabama’s Second District.”

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Alabama Senate votes to make state parks free for military vets

February 16, 2018

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Senate passed the Parks for Patriots Act on Thursday giving veterans of the armed forces free admission to Alabama State Parks.

The bill was part of a package of five bills to support military veterans passed Thursday, which Gov. Kay Ivey proclaimed was “Military Appreciation Day” in Montgomery.

House Bill 58, the Parks for Patriots Act, was sponsored by state Rep. Dickie Drake, R-Leeds, and passed the House in January.  Ivey declared free admission for veterans starting on November 1.  This bill makes what has been an executive policy decision actual law.  The bill now goes to the governor.

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