Democrats Rep. Merika Coleman is House Assistant Minority Leader

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday accepted the appointment of Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham, as Assistant Minority Leader.

“I am honored to serve the members of the caucus and the State in this role,” Coleman said. “To truly make progress for the people of Alabama, we must work together, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to move good legislation and, in turn, the State, forward.”

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Governor skirts the details on education budgets at Higher Ed Day rally

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — Speaking to a crowd of college students gathered on the steps of the Alabama State House on Thursday, Gov. Robert Bentley promised to continue his support for higher education.

“We have great universities in this State,” Bentley said. “Funding for universities has to be adequate. It’s never enough, but we really need to continue the increase that we’ve tried to do. In fact, every year, in the budgets that I’ve submitted, we have always increased it every year for the past seven years.”

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Bentley, Strange scandal continues to dog new AG Marshall

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

New Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is in a difficult spot, thanks to the circumstances that landed him his new role.

No matter where he goes, questions about investigations into Gov. Robert Bentley, more questions about decisions made by the former AG, Luther Strange, and even more questions about his decision to recuse from the Bentley’s investigation continue to hound him. And that’s on top of the day-to-day operation of one of Alabama’s most important offices.
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Bill to end judicial override in Alabama clears Senate

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — A bill that would end Alabama’s judicial override sentencing system, which allows judges to override juries and impose the death penalty, passed the State Senate Thursday with a near-unanimous vote.

Sen. Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery), sponsored the bill, which would prohibit a judge from overriding a jury’s sentence. Under the bill, at least 10 of 12 jurors must vote for death for a defendant to receive the sentence.

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Pouncey files lawsuit, alleges fraud in superintendent search

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

A candidate for the state superintendent’s position has filed a lawsuit alleging several members of the State Department of Education’s legal office, interim superintendent Philip Cleveland and state school board member Mary Scott Hunter illegally conspired to prevent him from landing the job.

In a filing with Montgomery County Circuit Court, former assistant state superintendent Craig Pouncey claims Hunter, along with Juliana Dean, James Ward and Susan Crowther – all members of the ALSDE legal department, concocted and pushed a bogus allegation that he cheated on his college dissertation. The defendants, Pouncey claims, went as far as to call Samford University to report the allegation and then pressured the Alabama Ethics Commission to provide confirmation that it was investigating the bogus claim.
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Senate impeachment rules subcommittee looks to Illinois for guidance

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY —  In 2009, Illinois became the last state to impeach and remove their governor. Now, the Alabama Senate is looking to that state for guidance on how to handle an impeachment trial of Gov. Robert Bentley in the Senate — if it comes to that.

The Senate Judiciary subcommittee tasked with crafting the procedure for an impeachment trial met for the first time Thursday morning. As three of the committee members met, they reviewed the Illinois State Senate rules that established the procedure for the impeachment trial of former Gov. Rob Blagojevich.

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Senate passes broader tax credits for Alabama Accountability Act scholarships

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — The Senate has narrowly given the go-ahead to a bill that would double the tax credit cap for contributors to the Alabama Accountability Act’s private school scholarship program.

The Senate approved the bill by President Pro Tempore Del Marsh (R-Anniston), which would increase the cap on income tax credits for donations to scholarship-granting organizations from $50,000 a year to $100,000, by a vote of 17–15.

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House votes to lower age of majority to 18

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, February 23, 2017. When does a child become an adult? That question can be answered in a lot of different ways but legally in Alabama (even though you can vote at 18) the legal answer to that since 1976 in Alabama has been 19. On Thursday, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to lower that to age 18.

House Bill 70 was sponsored by state Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa). Poole said that currently there are only four states that don’t use 18 for the age of majority. It is 19 in Alabama and Nebraska and 21 in Mississippi and Puerto Rico.
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Marshall Said that Pardons and Paroles Board Made Right Decision in Reversing Pilati’s Pardons

By Brandon Moseley

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Alabama Attorney General Steven T. Marshall (R) announced in a statement that he is pleased with the State Pardons and Paroles Board decision to reverse 2012 and 2015 pardons for convicted former Franklin County District Attorney John Frederick Pilati and require he be placed back on the sex offender registry.

AG Marshall said, “I am pleased that the Board of Pardons and Paroles followed our recommendation to deny his pardons.” “John Pilati violated a solemn oath to protect and defend the people when he violated the civil rights through sexual contact with five different young men while he was district attorney.”
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Conservatives Rally Against Data Collection Bills

By Brandon Moseley

The legislature has returned for another session and some GOP legislators are once again pushing a longitudinal data collection scheme. Once again the primary opponents of this grand scheme are fellow Republicans. On Thursday, February 23 Alabama Eagle Forum led a conservative rally in opposition to the longitudinal data bills, House Bill 97 and Senate Bill 153.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) read a statement from his wife, state school board member Jackie Zeigler (R) vowing to oppose the data collection.
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