MONTGOMERY, Alabama (April 4, 2013) – Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey signs two significant bills Thursday before going to Governor Robert Bentley to be signed into law.
Bill sponsors Senators Cam Ward and Vivian Davis Figures joined Lt. Governor Ivey to sign the Alabama Commercial Aviation Business Improvement Act (SB238).
“We want to encourage industry to continue to develop and grow in Alabama by cultivating a business-friendly environment that provides reasonable legal liability protection. This bill helps do that and make Alabama more appealing for businesses, like Airbus, to develop,” said Lt. Governor Ivey.
Airbus is breaking ground next week on its first U.S.- based production facility in Mobile, directly bringing 1,000 jobs to Mobile and 3,000 jobs during the construction phase.
The bill will protect the rights of Alabama citizens to bring suit against manufacturers, but will also protect manufacturers from out-of-state and foreign plaintiffs who may seek to file suit in Alabama simply because the manufacturer located its plant here.
“Lt. Governor Ivey and the Senate leadership have made job creation their number one priority, and I am glad to do my part to help in their vision,” said Sen. Ward. “This will do so much to even the playing field with neighboring states to help attract Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to Alabama. It is common sense business legislation like this that I have focused on during my time in the Senate.”
“We are now set and ready to go towards realizing the thousands of jobs that Airbus suppliers will bring to Alabama. I enjoyed working on this legislation with the bi-partisan team to make this a reality. Coming together to work out all of the details with the leadership of Governor Bentley and others has been a joy knowing that Alabama will benefit greatly economically,” Sen. Figures said.
Also Thursday, Lt. Governor Ivey signed SB 192 sponsored by Senator Paul Bussman. The bill provides help for rural counties to raise funds needed for road and bridge repairs through the Rural Assistance Match Program administered by the Alabama Department of Transportation.
“As a member of the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) Advisory Board, I am pleased to see more rural counties have the opportunity to be eligible to receive financial assistance to improve roads and bridges in their areas. These projects play a vital role in the long-term economic impact of local communities and the state,” said Lt. Governor Ivey.
“The RAMP bill will go a long way in repairing much of the infrastructure in rural Alabama which will help transport farm to market products, ease traffic problems, and add to safety for school buses and other automobiles,” Sen. Bussman said.
SB 238 and SB 192 were sent to Governor Bentley Thursday for his signature. He signed SB 238 into law Thursday afternoon.
Sessions says that he will never stop fighting for law enforcement officers
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Sessions said on social media that he will “never stop fighting” for law enforcement officers. This was in response to the Saturday slaying for Ohio police officer Anthony Dia.
“We must end the violence against police,” Sessions said. “The last words of Officer Anthony Dia before he died on Saturday was ‘Tell my family I loved them.’”
“The disrespect and even attacks on our courageous law enforcement officers have reached a totally unacceptable level,” Sessions continued. “It is immoral and insane.”
Sessions prioritized good relations with law enforcement while he was U.S. attorney general.
“I understand how difficult their job is and how important it is for the peace and safety of our people,” Sessions said. ”I will never stop fighting for them. Let us remember Officer Dia and pledge that we will not forget his sacrifice.”
Toledo Police Officer Anthonty Dia was 26-years old when he responded to a call about an intoxicated man in a store’s parking lot. When he “approached the male to check his safety,” the man turned around and fired a single bullet from a handgun, police said, citing witnesses account.
“He bled out, pretty much. They did what they could with lifesaving measures, but there was nothing they could do,” Dia’s widow Jayme told the Toledo Blade newspaper. “The last thing he said over the radio was, ‘Tell my family I love them.’ He lived for his family, and he loved, just loved, being a police officer.”
American law enforcement has come under heavy criticism by politicians, the media and the public alike following the death of George Floyd during an arrest by the Minneapolis Police Department.
Sessions served in the Senate from 1997 to 2017, when he was confirmed as U.S. attorney general in the Trump administration. Sessions is also a former U.S. attorney, Alabama attorney general and assistant U.S. attorney.
Following his service as U.S. attorney for both the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, Sessions was chairman of the Alabama Republican Party. Session is a former U.S. Army reserve officer. He has a bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College in Montgomery and a law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.
Sessions and his wife, Mary Blackshear Sessions, started the first college Republican club at Huntingdon College. They have three children as well as grandchildren. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was born outside of Camden in Wilcox County in 1946. Sessions is a native Alabamian. He is 73 years old.
Sessions is running in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff. His opponent is former Auburn University head football Coach Tommy Tuberville. The winner of the GOP nomination will face incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, in the Nov. 3 general election. Defeating Jones is considered critical for Republicans efforts to try to retain control of the Senate.
Supreme Court hands down two rulings expanding religious liberty
The United States Supreme Court on Wednesday handed down two decisions strengthening religious liberty and expanding freedom of religion.
In the first case, the Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, saying that the Catholic nuns do not have to pay for medical procedures that they object to including abortion.
The decision was written by pro-life Justice Clarence Thomas. The 5-4 decision majority opinion is the biggest pro-life decision of the Trump presidency. This overturns a lower court ruling saying employees are entitled to abortion and birth control services.
The Montgomery-based Foundation for Moral Law praised the Supreme Court’s decision in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania. The Foundation had filed an amicus brief with the Court arguing in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor’s case.
This case arose from Obamacare’s contraception mandate. The Little Sisters objected to complying with the Obamacare mandate of contraception and abortion services based on their religious convictions. The Trump administration issued new rules that exempted employers with religious and moral objections to complying with the mandate. The States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey sued, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against the Trump administration and the Little Sisters.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Third Circuit. The Court held that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 allowed the Trump administration to craft these regulations and that the Trump administration had complied with the Administrative Procedures Act in enacting the rules.
Consequently, it did not reach the religious freedom claim, but it held that it was proper for the Trump administration to consider the effect of federal religious freedom law when it passed the rules.
“GREAT win at the Supreme Court today on the Obamacare abortion drug mandate,” said Republican Senate candidate Jeff Sessions. “For the first time in nearly a DECADE, the Little Sisters of the Poor & other religious groups can do their good work without fear of being forced to violate their beliefs.”
“As Attorney General, I reversed the Obama administration’s position in the Little Sisters of the Poor litigation, and said NO MORE to government persecution of religion,” Sessions said. “I have a lifelong record of fighting to protect religious freedom. This is one of many issues on which President Donald J. Trump and I worked on together to take a strong stand for religious liberty. I also started the Religious Liberty Task Force at the Department of Justice to protect religious freedom across the entire government.”
Sessions is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in the Republican primary on July 14. His opponent is former Auburn head football Coach Tommy Tuberville.
“Although the majority opinion focused more on administrative law than on religious liberty, the Court’s decision was a win for religious freedom because it upheld important rules that protect Americans with religious and moral objections to Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate,” said Matt Clark, the attorney who wrote the Foundation’s amicus brief in this case.
“Justice Alito’s concurring opinion importantly emphasized that the courts must defer to a person’s interpretation of his religious obligations when he raises a religious objection,” Clark continued. “As James Madison wrote in 1785, ‘The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.’”
Kayla Moore is the President of the Foundation for Moral Law.
“The main opinion said that Congress considers religious liberty to be an ‘unalienable right,’” Moore said. “We commend Congress and the Court for recognizing it as such, and we hope that the Court will take that principle to its logical conclusion in every religious freedom case that it considers.”
Bible scholar and cultural commentator Dr. Michael Brown said, “This is a tremendous victory for freedom of religion and conscience in America. Under Obamacare, employers were forced to provide birth control coverage as part of their health plans, which for many Catholics in particular would be in violation of their faith. The court has overwhelmingly ruled for religious freedom, honoring moral objections of employers who now may opt out of providing abortion or birth control services.”
The Supreme Court also released a ruling Wednesday saying religious institutions have the right to pick their own employees and are exempt from secular anti-discrimination laws.
“Trump and moral conservatives won two big ones,” Brown said.
In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru the Court ruled that the First Amendment prevents courts from intervening in employment disputes between religious schools and the teachers at those schools who are entrusted with the responsibility of instructing their students in the faith.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission. Judicial review of the way in which religious schools discharge those responsibilities would undermine the independence of religious institutions in a way that the First Amendment does not tolerate.”
Brown is the author of the new book, “Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test?” He has written 35 books and hosts a nationally syndicated daily talk radio show The Line of Fire, as well as the host of shows on GOD TV, NRBTV, and METV.
Barbara Ann Luttrell is the Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood Southeast.
Planned Parenthood SE was upset with both rulings.
“Today, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld two Trump administration rules that allow employers and universities to push their religious or moral beliefs on employees and students by denying them access to insurance that covers birth control,” Luttrelll said in a statement. “Bosses and universities will be able to decide — based on their own objections — if their health insurance plans cover birth control.”
Staci Fox is the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast.
“Today’s ruling deals yet another devastating blow to health care access in this country,” Fox said. “As is so often the case, it will hit people of color and low-income people hardest, and in the middle of a global pandemic that is already ravaging those communities. It is more proof that reproductive rights are under attack at all levels – not just abortion access.”
Both decisions were victories for Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. The State of Alabama, under Marshall’s leadership, had previously joined multistate amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in both cases, supporting the Little Sisters of the Poor and Our Lady of Guadalupe School: Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania; and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru.
“The First Amendment rightly recognizes that one of the unalienable rights all men and women possess is the right to exercise their faith,” Marshall wrote in a statement. “And today the Supreme Court has reaffirmed that fundamental truth in two important decisions. Thankfully, the Court recognized that the federal government need not force nuns to violate their sincerely held beliefs by providing contraceptive coverage to employees who help them care for the sick. And the Court likewise reaffirmed that the government has no authority to tell religious schools who they must hire or retain to teach their faith.”
Ex-boyfriend charged in slaying of Montgomery Police Detective
Montgomery Police Department Detective Tanisha Pughsley died early Monday from a gunshot wound.
“Our entire community today mourns the death of one of our own, Tanisha Pughsley,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said in a statement on Monday. “Detective Pughsley answered the call to serve, defend and protect our city,” Reed wrote. “We stand today with her family, friends, colleagues and all who loved her, praying for comfort, peace and healing during this tragic time.”
The 27-year-old detective was allegedly shot by her ex-boyfriend.
The Montgomery Police Department responded to a call of a shooting at the home in the 6700-block of Overview Drive at approximately 2:15 a.m. on July 6, Montgomery Police Captain Saba Coleman told the Montgomery Advertiser.
When they arrived, they found Pughsley. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Coleman.
The suspect is her former boyfriend, 24-years-old Brandon Deshawn Webster. Pughsley had filed a restraining order against Webster on May 22 following an incident in which Pughsley alleged that Webster struck her twice in the head, while she was holding her five-month-old godchild in her arms, causing Pughsley to drop the baby.
“His actions caused me to drop the infant,” Pughsley wrote requesting a protection order. “Although Brandon has moved out of the residence, he continues to unexpectedly show up and physically assault me. He sends threatening text messages and once he is blocked, he continues to call my phone private.”
Pughsley accused Webster of threatening and stalking her. A judge granted her request for a protection order, but did not require that Webster surrender his firearms, even though Pughsley requested the court to make him give up his guns.
Webster has been charged with attempted murder, capital murder in violation of a court issued protection order and capital murder while in the commission of a burglary.
The investigation into Pughsley’s murder is ongoing.
Pughsley had served on the Montgomery police force for four years. She was a graduate of Alabama State University with a degree in criminal justice. She was also a member of the ASU bowling team.
Governor announces “Revive Alabama” $100 million small business grant program
Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced the Revive Alabama grant program to support small businesses in Alabama that have been impacted by COVID-19. Revive Alabama will reimburse small businesses up to a combined $100 million for expenses they have incurred due to operational interruptions caused by the pandemic and related business closures.
“In many ways, our small businesses were hit the hardest from the coronavirus pandemic,” Governor Ivey said. “Ensuring these owners have every opportunity to recoup expenses incurred due the disruption of business is essential to getting our economy roaring once again.”
Alabama received approximately $1.9 billion of CARES Act funding to respond to and mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama Act 2020-199 designated up to $300 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund for individuals, businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Qualifying businesses may receive up to $15,000 to reimburse these expenses if they have not received federal assistance for the corresponding item they are claiming with the state of Alabama. There is no set cap on the number of businesses that may be awarded a Revive Alabama Small Business Grant. Grants will be awarded to qualifying applicants on a first-come-first-served basis until the funds are exhausted.
Business owners may access the grant application through the Alabama Department of Revenue’s (ALDOR)Revive Alabama website. The application period for the Revive Alabama Small Business Grant Program will open at noon on July 16, 2020 and run through midnight on July 25, 2020.
All applicants must first establish a secure My Alabama Taxes (MAT) account to protect their personal and business information on submitted applications. Small businesses are encouraged to start this process as soon as possible in advance of the application period opening. Each applying business must have its own MAT account to apply for a Revive Alabama Small Business Grant. Tax preparers may not apply for grants on behalf of their clients but may be able to assist potential applicants with information needed to establish their own MAT accounts.