Curious case of Rep. Micky Hammon continues

February 22, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

At the sentencing hearing for former Republican State Rep. Micky Hammon, U.S. Federal Judge Myron Thompson denied the government’s request that Hammon only receive probation for stealing over $50,000 from campaign contributions.

Alabama Political Reporter has learned that Hammon’s troubles may not have ended with the federal prosecution’s slap on the hand. Signs within the state’s justice community appear to show that while federal prosecutors failed to follow through on bigger issues facing Hammon, the state will not.

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Opinion | Shelby’s leadership demands recognition

February 21, 2018

By George Clark
President, Manufacture Alabama

Alabama is experiencing an unprecedented era of growth and progress as major industrial and manufacturing interests recognize the value of locating in our beautiful state. Recent announcements from the automotive, aerospace, and other industries herald a new day for Alabama.

In the past year alone, about $5 billion in new investments in the state and 12,000 new jobs have been announced by international firms on their way to Alabama. While this is fantastic news for the industrial and business communities, it is also great news for the working families of Alabama. The state unemployment rate in December was 3.5%, matching the record low set this past November.

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Democratic candidate for governor Walt Maddox announces statewide lottery plan

February 20, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

The calls for a vote on a statewide education lottery are growing as another candidate for governor is promising to push for a vote if elected to the state’s highest office.

Gubernatorial candidate and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said Monday he would push for a referendum on a lottery — a proposal he says could generate up to $300 million for public education in Alabama.

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Opinion | Prison healthcare contract could be a fool’s errand

February 19, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Whether through ignorance, graft or just an unwillingness to look past the second ripple in the pond, the state’s current plan to address the prison healthcare crisis is a boondoggle.

That’s where the Alabama Department of Corrections is with its attempt to secure a new contractor to provide medical and mental health services for state inmates.

It’s time to scrap the current process and start over or risk embroiling Governor Kay Ivey’s administration in an unnecessary scandal in an election year.

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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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Senate committee approves General Fund along with pay raise for state employees

February 15, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The General Fund, one of Alabama’s two budgets, passed out of committee Wednesday.

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved the bill sponsored by Chairman of the committee Sen. Tripp Pittman, R-Montrose, after going line-by-line through the changes in the substituted version of the budget.

Pittman said the version passed through the committee was similar to requests by the Governor’s Office, which called for a substantial increase in certain state departments.

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House passes education budget

February 14, 2018

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the largest education trust budget in over 10 years unanimously on Tuesday.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey praised the House for its passage of the education budget and pay raises for education employees.

“Today, the House of Representatives passed an education budget similar to the one I proposed in January that represents the largest investment in education in a decade,” Ivey said. “This budget gives teachers a much-deserved pay raise, provides additional funding for our proven First-Class Pre-K program and funds the efforts of my ‘Strong Start, Strong Finish’ education initiatives. I commend Representative Bill Poole and the House leadership for their tireless efforts to send a very admirable education budget to the Senate.”

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Sen. Slade Blackwell, last minute qualifier for governor, withdraws from race

February 13, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

State Sen. Slade Blackwell, R-Mountain Brook, who qualified Friday for the Republican gubernatorial primary, has withdrawn from the race.

Blackwell, a wealthy Birmingham businessman who has represented Alabama’s Senate District 15, withdrew from the race Monday just days after his last-minute qualification, the Alabama Political Reporter has confirmed. His name has been removed from the ALGOP’s list of qualified candidates.

Sources close to Blackwell say the Birmingham-area senator was upset about Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Correction’s plans to close a work release center in Childersburg. Childersburg, which is in Blackwell’s district, and several cities nearby benefit from the center’s 150 inmates that provide low-cost labor to areas Shelby and Talladega Counties.

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Judge appointed to federal court among those who have yet to rule on Hubbard’s appeal

February 12, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals Associate Judge Liles C. Burke is one of four members on the court who has not ruled on former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard’s appeal on 12 counts of felony public corruption. The court has been in procession of the final appeals arguments for some seven months — much longer than an average case, even capital murder.

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Sen. Slade Blackwell qualifies last minute to run for governor

February 9, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Another Alabama lawmaker has thrown his name into the hat for a run for governor. Businessman and State Sen. Slade Blackwell, R-Mountain Brook, qualified Friday for the race, he confirmed to APR — adding another name to a crowded Republican field.

Blackwell, who has represented Senate District 15 since 2010, is now the sixth Republican to qualify, joining Gov. Kay Ivey, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, State Sen. Bill Hightower, evangelist Scott Dawson and Michael McAllister.

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