Senate committee approves bill to make absentee voting more flexible

February 9, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

The Senate Constitution, Ethics and Elections Committee approved a bill Thursday that would make absentee voting for many Alabamians more flexible.

Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, is carrying the bill this year after a bill he proposed last year to authorize early voting failed to pass the Legislature.

While the absentee voting bill wouldn’t implement early voting, it would expand the circumstances when a voter can request an absentee ballot and give those voters more time to mail in their ballots.

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Midwifery bill on its way to Governor after Legislature’s approval

May 20, 2017

By Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The Midwifery bill, which decriminalizes the practice, has passed both chambers and now awaits the Governor’s signature.

This bill has faced many challenges since its first public hearing at a House Judiciary Committee meeting in March, and even faced great challenges Friday (the final day the Legislature was meeting), getting out of the Senate.

The hearing prompted a group of midwives to sit in at the Senate gallery on Thursday night till midnight to petition the Senate to hear their bill. At the time, the Senate was reading, in full, the 537-page Redistricting bill that would take until noon on Friday to complete.

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Six person jury bill receives favorable report by Judiciary Committee

February 27, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, February 22, 2017, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow many Alabama Court proceedingss to have just six person juries rather than the traditional 12 person jury trials.

Senate Bill 197 was sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur). Orr said that the measure would save the state $252,000 per year. Sen. Orr said that his bill would allow the six person jury trials in misdemeanor and civil trials for matters below a certain amount. Orr said that this is done in a lot of states.
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Some Republicans Claim Lottery Could Hurt Republican Candidates

August 23, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

A growing chorus of GOP insiders are urging the members of the House of Representatives to reject a controversial constitutional amendment, to vote on a lottery on the November 8, Presidential election ballot.

They argue that a lottery vote will only bring a disproportionate number of Democrats to the polls.

Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Sallie Bryant recently wrote, that a General Election vote on the lottery, “Would be disastrous for Republicans in Jefferson County, as it would drive up Democrat turnout in a year when it is expected to be lower. We’ve already put so much work into this election — not just our incumbents and new candidates who have been out campaigning, but members of our Executive Committee who have spent countless hours organizing and fundraising on their behalf.”
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Republicans Support Higher Gas Taxes

March 18, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, March 17, the Alabama House Transportation, Utilities, and Infrastructure Committee voted for favorable passage of House Bill 394, sponsored by State Representative Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville) that would raise fuel taxes by six cents a gallon, and includes future gas tax increases beyond that to keep generating higher taxes for road construction, as other southern states raise their fuel taxes.

State Representative Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville) opposed the bill in committee. Rep. Ainsworth said, “I voted no on this bill in committee today. I’m not in favor of the hard-working people of Alabama having to pay any more taxes, and this is a tax on everyone in the State.
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Senate Passes Wireless Broadband School Technology Bill

March 8, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, March 3, the Alabama Senate voted to pass the Wireless Infrastructure Renovation for Education Act, HB41, which is more commonly known as the “WIRED Act”. The legislation would provide wireless broadband access in all of the state’s K-12 public schools.

The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) as Senate Bill 17, the Alabama Ahead Act but was substituted in the Senate by HB41. Sen. Dial said that HB227 was sponsored by State Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa). It is the companion bill to HB41. It provides $12 million in funding so that Alabama school systems can get the matching dollars to apply for federal technology dollars.
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Senate Passes Bill To Divide Up Possible New Gas Tax

March 8, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, March 3, the Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 180, sponsored by State Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville). SB180 divides up how the money would be spent if the legislature passes any increases in the state taxes on a gallon of fuel, as many powerful special interests are advocating.

Senator Dial said on the floor of the Senate that his bill doesn’t create a new committee it just keeps using the ATRIP committee we already have. Dial said that each county will get a minimum of $2.5 million each and they don’t have to provide a match. After that first $32 million the rest of the money will be divided under the existing formula we use today.
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Hillary Clinton Team Announces Two Events in Birmingham on Monday

February 22, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Saturday, February 20, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) defeated US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) in the closely contested Nevada Caucuses. Clinton won 52 percent to Sanders’ 48 percent. After a crushing loss in New Hampshire and a statistical tie in Iowa, the victory in Nevada gets the Clinton team on what they hope is a winning track.

Alabama is one of the early southern states where the Presidency will be won or lost. Hillary Clinton’s Alabama campaign has announced a number of activities to get out Clinton voters for the March 1 Alabama Primary.
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Hillary Clinton Has Support of Alabama Legislative Black Caucus

February 18, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for President of the United States ahead of Alabama’s March 1 primary.

The Chair of the Alabama Black Legislative Caucus, Senator Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) said in a statement, “Hillary Clinton is the only candidate in this election who truly understands the struggles African American families face every day in Alabama, and the only candidate that has put forth a realistic plan to improve the quality of life for all Alabamians regardless of the color of their skin.”
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Smitherman Opposes Legislature’s Reapportionment Plan

June 7, 2012

By Susan Britt and Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Both Houses of the Alabama Legislature passed decennial reapportionment plans in the Special Session which ended last week. Alabama State Senator Rodger Smitherman (D) from Birmingham opposed both the redistricting plans for the Alabama Senate and the Alabama House of Representatives. Sen. Smitherman told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ that he feared that all African-Americans in the state will be disenfranchised as a longterm result of the new reapportionment plans.
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