Does Luther Strange deserve a place on the Republican ballot?

May 1, 2017

By Thomas J. Scovill

Luther Strange is Alabama’s erstwhile Attorney General and new US Senator. He seems to like his job and says he wants to compete in the August special Republican primary so he can keep it.

Strange got the job in February after nearly two months of lobbying now disgraced former Governor Bentley who appointed him to fill the vacancy created by Jeff Sessions’ resignation from the Senate to join President Trump’s cabinet. The game of musical chairs was quickly finished when Bentley appointed Steve Marshall to succeed Strange as attorney general.
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Bill re-organizing registrars fails

March 9, 2017

By Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

House Bill 150, which concerned re-organizing the management of the Board of Registrars, failed Tuesday in a split vote of 43-43.

The Board of Registrars control the registration of voters within a county and are appointed by the Governor. HB150 would have made the positions reviewable by the appointing authorities and would have made any Registrar who was fired not eligible for any other appointable position.
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State of the workforce

February 17, 2017

Fitzgerald Washington
Secretary, Alabama Department of Labor

We’re at the beginning of another year, and ready to see continued improvement in our economy. At the Alabama Department of Labor, we are busy wrapping up the facts and figures for 2016. There were many improvements last year, and I’d like to let people know about them.

We ended the year with our wage and salary employment only 17,000 jobs away from reaching two million. I can’t emphasize how great this news is! The last time our economy supported two million jobs was back in 2007, before the recession, before tens of thousands of Alabamians were relying on unemployment compensation to help support their families, and before our unemployment levels reached record highs. A wage and salary employment level of two million is considered to be a benchmark employment figure. I’m hopeful that we’ll reach that milestone in 2017.
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Update: Strange’s replacement, Bentley’s folly and a host of questionable acts overshadow Sessions’ Replacement

February 10, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

While Washington D.C. politicians and many here in Alabama publicly congratulated Attorney General Luther Strange on his appointment to the US Senate, the overwhelming reaction among reporters and politicos ranges from negative to outrage.

Among the chattering classes and in legal circles, Strange’s appointment to fill the vacancy left by Sen. Jeff Sessions resignation to become the nation’s Attorney General is seen as little more than a quid pro quo among political rivals.
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The irony of righteous indignation

December 16, 2016

Education Matters
By Larry Lee

When State Superintendent of Education Mike Sentance told the State School Board Dec. 8, that the Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Education had determined that the State’s high school graduation rate was inaccurate, reaction was swift and true to form.

Members of the Legislature who consistently oppose public education were quick to tell media that there should be consequences for deceiving the public. (Would this include the 22 senators and 51 house members who voted for the Alabama Accountability Act in 2013 and told the public that this was all about “helping poor kids stuck in failing schools by their zip codes?”)
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More lewd details about affair emerge in new bombshell lawsuit against Gov. Robert Bentley

November 24, 2016

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

A new lawsuit filed on Wednesday against Gov. Robert Bentley and his alleged mistress and former top political aide, Rebekah Mason, reveal new details about the Governor and Mason’s alleged affair and Bentley’s alleged misuse of State funds to facilitate that affair.

Wendall Ray Lewis, the former Head of the Governor’s Security Detail and Chief of the Office of Dignitary Protection, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Governor and Mason — alleging the pair defamed him, pushed him into early, involuntary retirement and interfered with job opportunities after Lewis left State government.

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Dial Committee Meets Again as The Plot Thickens

November 11, 2016

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

The committee set up by Senators Gerald Dial and Quinton Ross held their second session Nov. 10 to question State school board members and others in the on-going effort to determine how an anonymous “smear sheet” discrediting Jefferson County school superintendent Craig Pouncey became public knowledge.

Pouncey, a former chief of staff for retiring superintendent Tommy Bice, was one of six applicants vying for Bice’s old job. Mike Sentence of Massachusetts was hired on Aug. 11. However, both Dial and Ross would like to find out how a breach of confidential info occurred so they can take steps to prevent it from happening in the future.
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Victoryland Reopens With Blowout Attendance

September 14, 2016

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

SHORTER—Starting before noon on Tuesday, people were lining up, along with the traffic, around Victoryland in Macon County, for its “Grand” reopening at 2:00 pm.

People poured through the doors and flooded the lobby, as they all rushed to get their chance to gamble at Victoryland, again.

At a press conference last month, Victoryland owner, Milton McGregor, announced the plan to reopen on September 13. The casino opened with 500 electronic bingo machines and had anticipated hiring 200 staff members.
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Sine Die And Good Luck

September 8, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Medicaid is funded for 2017, with $105 million for 2018, which gives legislators an opportunity to do nothing controversial or terribly important in an election year. Strange, how these little things happen to workout, I guess.

Governor Bentley received his Medicaid dollars so he can stop worrying about the dying children. Hospitals, physicians and health care workers will not suffer further cuts to their already bare-bones reimbursements. Medicaid in Alabama provides little coverage as it is, but there is a promise of better medical treatment under the experimental Regional Care Organizations (RCOs).
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Senate Cloture Vote Kills Lottery Bill SB11

August 19, 2016

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On Thursday, the lottery bill SB11 (including video lottery terminals) sponsored by Jim McClendon (R-Springville), was carried over after a cloture vote in the Senate.

“It is not usual for someone to cloture themselves,” said McClendon.

After explaining his bill and answering questions for two days, the Senate responded with a cloture, stopping all debate and calling on a vote, for or against cloture.

Cloture is a procedural move used by a legislative body to stop discussion on a subject and bring it to an immediate vote “up or down.” Most often, it is used to stop a filibuster. However, according to Marsh and McClendon, it was used as a vote for or against the bill without actually officially being recorded on the bill itself.
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