Tony Riley announces State House candidacy

September 26, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, Attorney Tony Riley announced that he is running for the Republican nomination for the District 18 seat for the Alabama House of Representatives.

Riley said that his campaign will focus on economic growth in Northwest Alabama and improving education.

“With the unprecedented economic growth that parts of Alabama have experienced over the past few years, it is now more important than ever that we, in the more rural areas of the state, concentrate on improving education. This must be our goal so that our children have the advantage for opportunity, success, and the ability to stay and thrive in their hometown,” Riley said.

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Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow to focus on education in challenging Sen. Larry Stutts in District 6

June 23, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow, a Democrat from Red Bay, Alabama, is risking his longtime House seat for the possibility of moving upstairs to the Alabama Senate where he hopes to focus on public education in Alabama. He plans to run against incumbent State Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Tuscumbia) to represent Alabama’s Senate District 6.  Morrow has been a member of the Alabama House for more than 27 years, having first been elected to the House in 1990.

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Alabama Legislature Recap Week 9: All questions, no answers

April 21, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Question: What happened in the Alabama Legislature this past week?

  1. Lawmakers wasted time and money, like always.
  2. Lawmakers passed embarrassing, illegal legislation.
  3. Lawmakers got into entertaining arguments.
  4. All of the above.

It’s always “All of the above.”

Let’s recap this nonsense.

Civically speaking

One of the most entertaining debates of the week came as the House attempted to pass a bill sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, which he had already ushered through the Senate, to require that Alabama high school students pass a civics test prior to graduating.
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Details of new prison bill released, Gov’s office disputes costs

March 30, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Joined by a group of sheriffs and county lawmakers, Reps. Allen Farley and Johnny Mack Morrow introduced the outline for a new prison construction bill on Wednesday.

That bill would rely on sheriffs and local jails to house thousands of prisoners and limit costs on construction by focusing primarily on renovations and new facilities for counties.

“It’s the most common sense approach to this issue that I’ve seen,” said Rep. Mike Holmes, who attended the press conference. “It just makes so much more sense.”
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Zeigler and Morrow Appeal Ruling to Alabama Supreme Court

September 21, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, September 15, Judge Greg Griffin dismissed a lawsuit by State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) and State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay), who are seeking to block a controversial Bentley Administration plan to build a extravagant Hotel and Conference Center at Gulf State Park. The pair are now appealing that ruling.

Judge Griffin did not rule on the merits of the case, but rather that Zeigler and Morrow lack the appropriate legal standing to sue Gov. Robert Bentley (R) for allegedly exceeding the authority of his office under the 1901 Alabama Constitution.
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Members of Bi-Partisan Rural Caucus Offer Forum on Speaker Selection

July 20, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—An email from State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay), in which he extends an offer from members of the Alabama Rural Caucus, to host an event, “to discuss openly and freely, the selection of a new Speaker of the House,” was sent out yesterday.

SEE EMAIL

Disgraced former Speaker, Mike Hubbard, was removed from office after he was found guilty of 12 felony counts of public corruption. Since his conviction and removal, jockeying for the top spot has been an issue of grave concern among Republicans and Democrat House members.
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Morrow Files Ethics Complaint Against Rebekah Caldwell Mason

April 6, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—An ethics complaint has been filed against Gov. Robert Bentley’s former senior advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, by State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay), stating she improperly influenced legislative actions.

Morrow says this animosity Mason has shown towards him began 25 years ago when, as a student in his economics class, she was unhappy with the grades she received.

In the complaint, Morrow recounts actions surrounding a local bill that applied only to Franklin County, a bill that Gov. Bentley had publicly and privately said he would sign. When speaking to alreporter.com, Morrow said, “She was pillow-talk lobbying…that’s caused the problem.”
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Bill Calls for Indicted Leaders Suspension

February 15, 2016

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—A group of 10 State Representatives have sponsored House Bill 220, which would, “automatically suspend a member of the Legislature who holds a leadership position from serving in that leadership position if the member is indicted for a crime that is a felony.”

The bill clarifies that the legislator would retain their position in the body as a member, but would forfeit any leadership roles. This is similar to the rules of the US House of Representatives, and other legislative bodies.
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House Rural Caucus is Working Together

June 8, 2015

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Report 

MONTGOMERY—If there is a bright spot to be found in the 2015 Legislative Session, it was the House Rural Caucus.

The House Rural Caucus is a bipartisan group of State Representatives who come together to focus on issues that specially face rural-dwelling Alabamians.

“We work to be a voice for rural Alabama,” says caucus chair, David Standridge (R-Hayden). “A lot of what we try to do is provide information to our members, we try to have good informative speakers at our meetings so people can make a decision based on their district.”

As an example, during the 2015 legislative session, the caucus heard from Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield on a rural incentive plan, from Dr. Williamson on the future of rural hospitals and healthcare, as well as, Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, and NRA President Jim Porter, just to mention a few.

According to caucus Vice-Chair is Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay), the group represents a diverse membership, from the most Republican county to the most Democratic. Morrow says the group works well together because their goal is, “It’s all about information and trying to get accurate information so the people will know how to vote for what’s best for their district.”

“It hasn’t been difficult for us to all to work together. One reason is there is no pressure to support a certain issue or vote a certain way,” echoed Standridge. 

This view is shared by caucus Secretary Rep. Pebblin Warren (D-Tuskegee Institute) who has served in the legislature since 2005.

“First of all, I think that, the best thing about this: We’ve laid the politics to the side…we speak of true issues that all of our people in rural areas are facing right now,” said Warren. “I think that makes it a very good working relationship. It’s not about politics, it’s all about the people we serve.”

The Alabama House of Representatives is comprised of 105 members, with each member representing a district of approximately 40,000 people.

The Rural Caucus is comprised of around 40 representatives with a Republican/Democrat membership that reflects the House as a whole.

Rep. Randall Shedd (R-Cullman) who serves as Treasure believes the group is successful because the members place representing the people of their district first. 

Shedd also says the caucus’ fiscal house is in order with no debt and no money.

Morrow, Warren and Shedd are quick to give credit to Standridge, who has worked tirelessly to bring republicans and democrats together to tackle the issues facing rural Alabama.

Standridge says that rural communities face a vastly different set of problems than the State’s urban areas, issues like broadband internet access, cell phone coverage, as well as hospitals and the need for economic development.

According to the 2010 census, Alabama has moved from being predominantly rural to urban-based communities. Standridge says he is concerned that policies necessary to better the lives of rural citizens might get lost in the legislative agenda. So, Standridge, with the caucus’ blessing, worked closely with Gov. Robert Bentley and Commerce Secretary Canfield to make sure that rural communities were included in the Governor’s economic growth strategy.

In a time of partisan divide, not only in Washington, DC, but in Alabama, the Rural Caucus is finding common ground to move the State forward. Standridge and the other leadership say that it is mutual respect that has enabled them to work together. “The citizens are not as concerned about the partisanship as much as they are about us getting the job done,” said Standridge.

Warren said she is disappointed that the body, as a whole, has become so divided, but hopes that the work of the caucus can serve as an example of how Democracy should work. 

“One complaint I have about the current administration…we lost that humanistic side,” said Warren. “In the past, Republicans and Democrats would hang out at night, play softball, have the best times…I heard recently, that a Republican complained because he was seated next to a Democrat at a football game. How crazy is that?”

Johnny Mack Morrow, who has represented North Alabama since 1990 said, that he would like to extend an invitation to those who view a partisan divide as essential to governing: “I’d just like to say to the Republicans who refuse to come to our Rural Caucus, what about Tip O’Neill and Reagan?…we agree on more things than we disagree on, so why not get together and work together to make this a better State to live in.”

This sentiment is shared by all the caucus leadership. Their desire is to put the people first over party.

Standridge says that it is possible that the Caucus will take a more active role in the future to promote legislation that is important to rural citizens. He says that good information, and cooperation are a few of the keys to the State’s success, and that is what the Rural Caucus is building on.

 

Rep. Morrow: “Shameful to cut funding for Alabama Music Hall of Fame”

February 1, 2013

Staff Report

From the Office of Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow

Red Bay, AL – Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow (D-Red Bay) has sent a letter to Governor Robert Bentley expressing his frustration, disappointment, and embarrassment over the governor’s decision to zero out all funding for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Gov. Bentley’s decision has come at a pivotal time. The history of Muscle Shoals and Alabama’s role in shaping American culture through music is making national headlines due to the release of Muscle Shoals, a documentary focused on the ever-lasting impact of Alabama’s musical influence.
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