Debate over formation of city school boards dominates Senate committee meeting

February 16, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

One committee meeting in the statehouse on Wednesday was met with debates over the qualifications to start a school board by city governments.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, would raise the requirements for the formation of school boards by increasing the population requirement from 5,000 to 25,000.

It would also require the Alabama State Department of Education to determine if the city has a tax base to support the school system. Coleman-Madison, speaking at Wednesday’s Senate committee on Education and Youth Affairs meeting, said the bill was a cost saving measure.

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State Sen. Hank Sanders, the longest serving senator, will not seek re-election

February 13, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

State Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, is leaving the Alabama Senate after serving 9 terms in the upper chamber.

Sanders, who had qualified to run, made the decision last-minute through a press release saying “Some times it is time.”

“I had thought that I would run to serve one more term in the Alabama State Senate, and I qualified to run in January,” Sanders said. “However, when I took off 24 hours for our 48th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, I began to realize what a heavy load I carry.”

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Lawmakers request ALSDE give back $1.4 million to MPS after clerical error

February 9, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

State Reps. John Knight, D-Montgomery, and Thad McClammy, D-Montgomery, called on the Alabama State Department of Education to return $1.4 million that was mistakenly sent to another school district in a letter and press conference on Thursday.

Their complaint stems from a clerical error by the Alabama State Department of Education that sent $1.4 million to the Pike Road Schools instead of the Montgomery Pubic School System. The money, which was supposed to be returned in October, never manifested from the Pike Road Schools

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Ivey announces new education policies, asks for new categories in state report card

February 5, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Following a report card that left Alabama with a C in education, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced a slew of new policies as a part of her “Strong Start, Strong Finish” education initiative.

Ivey announced the policies on Friday during a speech at a Public Affairs Research Council meeting in Birmingham. The governor released details through her press office late that day.

One of the governor’s strategy, titled “Alabama Grade-Level Reading Campaign,” relies on raising the reading proficiency of third-graders to 100 percent by 2022. This means that all third-graders will be able to read on a third-grade or higher level.

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Roy Moore collects funds for legal defense

January 26, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Former GOP U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore established a fund to pay for legal battles he will soon face in court regarding a recent defamation suit by Leigh Corfman, who accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 14 years old.

The Washington Post reported that Moore pursued relationships with teenagers while he was a 30-year-old assistant district attorney in Etowah County four weeks before the election. Corfman said in the story that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a 14 year old in the late 1970s.

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Day care bill gains support from municipalities

January 24, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

As the Legislative Session moves forward, a piece of legislation requiring all day cares be licensed in Alabama is gaining momentum in support.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, would revoke a licensing exemption status that nonprofit and religious day cares, and bring them under regulation from the Department of Human Resources for health and safety regulations.

During the last Legislative session, the bill died on the last day despite the resolve of supporters on the 30th Legislative day. Warren confirmed to the Alabama Political Reporter last year that the bill would make a return for this legislative session.

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House GOP caucus passes two resolutions regarding border wall funding, respecting the flag

January 15, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama House Republicans adopted two resolutions on Friday as part of their 2018 agenda entitled “Flag, Family, and Country.”

The House Republican Caucus adopted a resolution to urge Congress to fund a border wall with Mexico and urge that Americans citizens respect the American flag during ceremonies. Both issues have become more prevalent since President Donald Trump took office in September 2016.

House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville, said the resolutions passed by the caucus might as well be house resolutions as the caucuses’ hold on the chamber “reflect the body’s prevailing opinion on issues of importance.”

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Canvassing Board certifies Jones win after Moore’s complaint thrown out

December 29, 2017

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The State Canvassing Board — a panel made up of Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill — officially certified December’s Senate special election results on Thursday after GOP candidate Roy Moore challenged the results with a legal motion filed the night before.

Moore, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, did not concede the election on election night,  and insisted that the election should be held again due to what he claims are statewide coordinated efforts of voter fraud.

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Richard Shelby didn’t vote for Moore, says “Alabama deserves better”

December 11, 2017

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby cemented his opposition to Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore on Sunday saying that he “couldn’t vote for Moore.”

The senator appeared on the CNN program “State of the Union” to to discuss the election with host Jake Tapper. In the interview, he said he would like to see a Republican win Tuesday’s race but said he wouldn’t like it to be Moore.

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Strange preaches bipartisanship, laments divides in farewell speech to Senate

December 8, 2017

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., called for bipartisanship and an end to “entrenched factionalism” between the two political parties as he gave his last speech on the Senate floor.

Strange will not be returning to the chamber as he lost the party primary to Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in September. Before Strange left, he gave his final speech to the Senate.

In the speech, Strange talked about a room in the U.S. Capital called the Marble Room. According to Strange, the room was used for senators to find a place of resting between long chamber meetings.

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