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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Analysis | Gov. Ivey’s campaign kick off solid, steady, shocking

February 14, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

When Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey took the stage at the Montgomery Renaissance Tuesday night to kick-off her campaign for governor, she was buoyant, charming and in command of the evening. Most attendees agreed that Gov. Ivey hit all the right notes in her 10-plus-minute speech.

But it was her introduction by the state’s most wealthy private business owner, Jimmy Rane, that left heads shaking and tongues wagging across the state’s political landscape.
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Opinion | Alabama’s Year of the Woman

January 31, 2018

By Steve Flowers
Inside the Statehouse

This political year of 2018 may very well be the Year of the Woman in Alabama politics. In Alabama’s 200 year history, only one woman has been elected governor. Lurleen Wallace won in 1966. Only two women have served as governor, Governor Lurleen and our current governor, Kay Ivey. It may be a historic year.

Sue Bell Cobb, the former Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice, and the first woman to hold that position, is hoping to be able to be the Democratic standard-bearer. She was elected Chief Justice in 2006, in a very expensive, high profiled battle with Republican Drayton Nabors. She had been a District Court Judge in her native Conecuh County for a long time before running statewide. She was elected to a six year term as Chief Justice in 2006, but quit after four years, inexplicably.

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House Democrats push for better education, healthcare and ethics in Legislative agenda

January 25, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama House Democratic Caucus leaders said Wednesday that they will be introducing a series of bills in the coming weeks to back up a broad agenda that focuses on a wide range of issues.

From education, workforce development, healthcare and prison reform, to fighting the opioid epidemic, increasing funding for mental health coverage and ending corruption, Democrats say they are focused on an ambitious but doable agenda, though they offered few specifics.

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Senate support for Poarch Creek legal fix in jeopardy

January 23, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

On Friday, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians celebrated a short victory when the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Land Reaffirmation Act that addresses a legal technicality that potentially jeopardized the tribe’s reservation status.

However, over the weekend, the Alabama Political Reporter confirmed that Alabama’s Republican Senior U.S. Senator Richard Shelby would not support the measure in the Senate, effectively dooming the legislation, according to highly-placed sources on The Hill.

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Bill to take ride-hailing services statewide makes it out of committee

January 19, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

A bill that could bring ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft statewide is a step closer to becoming law after a Senate committee Thursday voted to give the bill a favorable report.

Senate Bill 143, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, could be up for a vote within the next week after the Senate Committee on Tourism and Marketing voted in favor of the bill Thursday.

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Ivey’s General Fund budget bill introduced in State Senate

January 17, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Gov. Kay Ivey’s proposed General Fund budget dropped in the Senate Tuesday.

The bill, which funds Alabama’s non-education agencies, is being carried by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose, who chairs the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee.

Ivey’s proposal would bring a 9.5 percent increase for the General Fund budget from $1.88 billion last year to $2 billion this year. The State Medicaid Agency, the largest recipient of General Fund appropriations, would see a $53.8 million increase or 7.6 percent.

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Ivey declares State of Emergency ahead of winter weather system

January 16, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Gov. Kay Ivey issued a State of Emergency Monday afternoon ahead of what is expected to be a serious winter weather event Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service based in Birmingham is forecasting that the system could bring snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice across most of the state beginning Tuesday, prompting the service to upgrade a winter weather watch to a winter weather advisory.

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Gov. Ivey asks, “Why do you serve?”

January 10, 2018

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

In her first State of the State address, Gov. Kay Ivey hit all the right notes, even when evoking legendary composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s statement on why he wrote music.

Ivey rightfully took credit for righting the ship of state as she promised at her swearing-in ceremony nine months ago.

Perhaps most striking – her message was inclusive, not simply pandering to the most extreme elements of the Republican base. Throughout the 40 minute speech, she spoke about “we” and “us,” not “us versus them.” Even the stagecraft spoke to diversity with Democrat Congressional leaders Sen. Linda Coleman and Anthony Daniels sharing the diocese.
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Governor pushes state employee pay raises, investment in education in first State of the State

January 10, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

A year ago, former Gov. Robert Bentley delivered his last State of the State address, setting goals for a Legislative Session that not only would see many of his priorities fall short but encompass the end his political career.

Last night, Gov. Kay Ivey delivered her first — an annual address that set broad and wide-ranging priorities for a state government returning to Montgomery fatigued from scandal and ready for a fresh start.

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