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APR – The V – May 4, 2014 – Guest: Ebony Howard – SPLC

This week The V Team discusses the Moore indictment, Hubbard’s attorney’s response, April 28 storms, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, Violence Against Women Act, Lane case and ASU. Guest Ebony Howard, SPLC discusses children in the adult prison system.

APR – The V – April 27, 2014 – Guest – Comm. Neal Morrison

This week The V Team discusses lethal injections, more dark money, 6th district congressional race, 187 checks, Speaker’s spending and Moore v. Pipkin. Our guest Commissioner of Senior Services Neal Morrison discusses penalties for taking advantage of seniors, senior voter ID and meals for seniors.

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APR – The V – April 20, 2014 – Guest: Bennet Wright, AL. Sentencing Comm.

The V Team discusses Barron case, PCI case, latest on Hubbard and Alvin Holmes latest. Our guest is Bennett Wright, Executive Director of the Alabama Sentencing Commission, discusses sentencing guidelines, the AL Sentencing Commission and prison reform.

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APR – The V – April 13, 2014 – Guest: Dr. Stan Cooke

The V Team discusses complaints against The Foundation for Limited Government, using campaign funds for legal fees, Tutwiler and McCutcheon v. FEC. Our guest Dr. Stan Cooke, candidate for Lt. Governor discusses Common Core, minority and majority rights and responsibilities of being heartbeat away from the Governor’s office.

 

APR – The V – April 6, 2014 – Guest: Rep. Joe Hubbard (D)

This week The V Team discusses Greg Wren’s convictions, Greene County raid, Barry Moore and Armistead. This week’s guest Representative Joe Hubbard discusses the Attorney General and Green Track.

 

APR – The V – March 30, 2014 – Guest: Dr. Don Williamson

The V Team discusses the budgets, Beason’s gun bill, anti-corruption pledge, Hubbard Exposed and hit pieces. Our guest, Dr. Don Williamson explains Medicaid.

APR – The V – March 23, 2014 –  Guest: Senator Paul Sanford

This week on THE V – The Incumbent Protection Plan, PAC-to-PAC transfers, Hubbard takes AEA money, rumors of plea deals in Lee County. Our special guest is Senator Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville) who discusses Carly’s Law, health savings accounts for small business and the state budgets.

 

APR – The V – March 16, 2014 – Guest: Steve Flowers

This week on THE V – We take a look at the media frenzy surrounding Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. Our special guest is Political Columnist and TV and Radio Personality Steve Flowers who weighs in on legislative session.

Other topics include State Lottery, a Troy University study on Medicaid expansion which contradicts a previous UAB Study and also Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard who says he is a Conservative Reformer.

APR – The V – March 9, 2014 – Guest: Stephanie Petelos

This week the V Team discusses the Roy Moore advisory opinion, Luther Strange subpoena, AG office black hole, libertarians withing the ALGOP, the “Incumbant Protection Program” and push polling. This week’s guest former Chair of the College Republican Federation of Alabama.

APR – The V – March 2, 2014 – Guest: Senator Bobby Singleton

This week the V Team discusses ALGOP Winter Dinner, ballot access, and dark money. This week’s guest Senator Bobby Singleton discusses Voter ID and drug testing for public assistance recipients.

APR – The V – February 23, 2014 – Guest: Shay Farley

This week the V Team discusses pro-life legislation, gay marriage and Remington comes to Huntsville. This week’s guest Alabama Appleseed’s Legal Director Shay Farley talks about payday/title lending.

 

APR – The V – February 19, 2014 – Guest: Senator Billy Beasley

This week the V Team discusses the top political races around the state and who is drawing opposition. This week’s guest Sen. Billy Beasley discussed Medicaid expansion, lack of time for discussion of issues in the legislature and more.

 

APR – The V – February 9, 2014 – Guest: Dr. Tommy Bice

This week the V Team discusses Speaker Hubbard’s fundraising lacking, bill proposes bringing public examiners office under state auditor and payday/title lenders. This week’s guest Dr. Tommy Bice discusses the snowstorm, common core and school innovation, flexibility.

 

APR – The V – February 2, 2014 – Guest: Susan Watson – ACLU

This week the V Team discusses the Lee County Grand Jury, the consolidation bill and the Health Care Conscience Rights Act. This week’s guest Susan Watson, Executive Director of the AL ACLU discusses prison overcrowding and the death penalty.

Alabama Political Reporter – The V – January 26, 2014 – Guest: Senator Arthur Orr

This week the V Team discusses the Open Meetings Act, the lobbying bill, the death penalty bill and more. This week’s guest Senator Arthur Orr discusses support of bill calling for a US Constitutional Convention, crowd funding and the State General Fund.

 

 

APR – The V – Sunday, January 19, 2013 – Guest: Senator Roger Bedford

This week the V Team discusses Gov. Bentley’s State of the State, voting rights and the opening of the 2014 Legislative Session. This week’s guest Senator Roger Bedford discusses Medicaid and his expungement bill and a surprise engagement.

 

APR – The V – January 11, 2014 – Guest Rep. Patricia Todd

This week the V Team discusses Hubbard using campaign contributions to pay legal fees and changes to election qualifying deadline. This week’s guest Representative Patricia Todd discusses her bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Alabama as well as a bill legalizing the possession of a seizure drug that is a marijuana derivative.

 

Alabama Political Reporter – The V – 12/22/13 – Guest: Jeremy Oden

This week the V Team discusses indictments in Houston County, a Hubbard fundraiser before session, and Harri Anne Smith pole. This week’s guest PSC Commissioner Jeremy Oden discusses his background, the role of the Public Service Commission and the War on Coal. Check it out this week on The V.

 

Alabama Political Reporter – The V – December 15, 2013 – Rep. Jim McClendon

This week the V Team discusses the new House Agenda for the upcoming 2014 Session, a new Hubbard mailer, and party switchers. This week’s guest Rep. Jim McClendon discusses redistricting and texting while driving. Check it out this week on The V.

 

APR The V–2013 December 8–Guest Rev. Dr. John Killian

This week the V Team discusses the possible fallout if Speaker Mike Hubbard is indicted, “tainted” campaign contribution, unlimited corporate donations. This week’s guest Rev. Dr. John Killian discusses the lack of pro-life legislation during current legislative session. Check it out this week on The V.

 

APR The V – December 1, 2013 – Guests are “The V Team”

This week meet the V Team. Charlanna, Baron and Claire give insight into their background and tell how they became interested in politics. Plus, catch a glimpse behind the scenes with some hilarious outtake footage.

 

Sunday, November 24, 2013 – Senator Scott Beason (R) Gardendale

This week the V Team discusses the HD74 race results, dark money, GOP gambling and drinking. This week’s guest Senator Scott Beason discusses Common Core. Check it out this week on The V.

 

Sunday, November 17, 2013 – Senator Cam Ward (R) Alabaster

This week the V Team discusses Lee County grand jury, campaign finance and more. This week’s guest Senator Cam Ward discusses revolving door legislation, prison reform and the open meetings act. Check it out this week on The V.

Sunday, November 10, 2013 – Poarch Creek Tribal Treasurer Robert McGhee

This week the V Team discusses Byrne vs. Young; another freshman GOP, Wes Long, announces he will not seek re-election. This week’s guest is Poarch Creek Treasurer Robert McGhee discusses economic development and gaming regulations. Check it out this week on The V.

Sunday, November 3, 2013 – Guest: Rep. Craig Ford (D) – Gadsden

This week the V Team discusses Sen. Brian Taylor’s announcement that he will not seek re-election, Rep. Paul DeMarco’s declares for U.S. Congress. Meet the new addition to The V Team, Rufus T. Ficus. This week’s guest is House Minority Leader Craig Ford discusses the Accountability Act, teacher pay raises and the lottery. Check it out this week on The V.

 Sunday, October 27, 2013 – Guest: Becky Gerritson, Wetumpka Tea Party

In this episode of “The V” we discuss why Attorney General Luther Strange has recused himself from two major cases. We also breakdown Byrne vs. Young and why the Bible has become an issue. Our special guest is Beck Gerritson from the Wetumpka Tea Party. Tune in to find out what is happening in Alabama Politics.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 – Guest is Chairman Bill Armistead

This episode of “The V” is enlightening as we discuss the Alabama State University audit ordered by Governor Bentley, the latest on Speaker Mike Hubbard, campaign finance, and our guest is ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead.

 

 

 

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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News

Jones says Senate race a choice between “substance and leadership, and nothing”

“One of the great disappointments in this campaign is that Alabama is not really getting choices between substance and substance,” Jones said.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Incumbent Sen. Doug Jones speaks at a rally in Anniston. (EDDIE BURKHALTER/APR)

Speaking outside the Calhoun County Democratic Party headquarters in Anniston on Friday, Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, told a group of supporters that Alabamians haven’t gotten a look at what his Republican opponent might do if he wins the Nov. 3 election. 

“One of the great disappointments in this campaign is that Alabama is not really getting choices between substance and substance,” Jones said. “They’re getting a choice between substance and leadership, and nothing — nothing. We have not heard anything from Tommy Tuberville about what he really wants to do.” 

While Jones has held numerous interviews with the media, and regular web briefings over the summer and in recent weeks, Tuberville’s campaign seems to prefer the safety of keeping Tuberville from making possible gaffs or damaging statements in interviews. 

Tuberville hasn’t agreed to interviews with traditional media outlets, or to debate Jones, and instead has focused on conservative talk radio spots, speaking to smaller Republican groups and at private parties.

Tuberville’s campaign has ignored or denied our numerous attempts to interview Tuberville, including another request on Friday. He also declined to attend a student forum held at Auburn University on Wednesday, which Jones attended. The forum was sponsored by the Auburn College Republicans and College Democrats.

“If you ever hear something Tommy Tuberville says, it is just simply this: ‘Build a wall. No amnesty. Drain the swamp.’ That ain’t him. That’s Donald Trump,” Jones said. “He cannot think for himself. He doesn’t think for himself.” 

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Jones spoke of his record of working to help veterans through legislation. And he referred to Tuberville’s nonprofit for veterans and reporting that indicates, through tax records, that less than a third of the money raised for Tuberville’s charity went to help veterans. 

“I don’t just create charities and send only pennies on the dollar. I do things for the veterans of this state and this country,” Jones said. 

Jones also made a case for Alabamians to remember the contributions past Democrats made in the state. Jones said it was Democratic Sen. John Sparkman who helped build Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal. 

“It was a Democrat, Lester Hill, who built the rural hospitals around here that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell and Tommy Tuberville are trying to destroy,” Jones said. “It was Howell Heflin who built up agriculture in this state. Those are the Democrats. It was Franklin Rosevelt that put electricity in this state. We’re going to do the same thing for broadband. People forget those things. They forget those things because we’ve let other people define us with lies.”

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Jones plans to visit Jefferson County on Saturday, then on to the Black Belt and Mobile on Sunday with another stop in Birmingham on Monday afternoon. 

“The goal is to get everybody out. That’s the thing if we want to continue to ensure Alabama moves forward — moves forward and not backwards, to continue to have somebody, if I do say so myself, somebody that’s just not going to damn embarrass us,” Jones said.

Supporters of Democratic Sen. Doug Jones rally in Anniston on Oct. 30, 2020. (EDDIE BURKHALTER/APR)

“We’ve had too much of that in Alabama,” Jones said, “and I bet you it won’t be a year that Tommy Tuberville would be an embarrassment to this state because he doesn’t know the issues. He doesn’t know what to do, and he’s dang sure not going to know what to do when Donald Trump is not president of the United States.” 

Jones encouraged supporters to be skeptical of recent polling. One such recent poll, by Auburn University at Montgomery, puts Tuberville ahead of Jones by 12 percentage points, 54 to 42.1. An internal poll by Tuberville’s campaign puts Tuberville ahead by 15 percentage points, while an internal poll from the Jones camp put Jones ahead by one percentage point. 

“Don’t listen to these polling folks that come in, and they don’t know Alabama, and they don’t know what they’re doing. We’re tracking this race, and I can tell you, everything has been moving in our direction the last two months,” Jones said. 

People standing along roadsides holding his signs and showing support, Jones said, is “the energy we’ve got out there. That’s what you can’t poll.”

Ellen Bass of Anniston, standing outside the Calhoun County Democratic Party headquarters just after Jones spoke, told APR that she has numerous Republican friends who are voting for Jones.

“My hat’s off to them because they’re coming out,” Bass said. “They recognize that he is a better candidate.”

Ciara Smith, 21, newly elected to the Anniston City Council, told APR outside the headquarters building that Jones is the better candidate.

“I think that he’s educated. I think that he speaks with passion and heart,” Smith said. “And he knows what he’s talking about, which is important, and which is more than we can say about the other candidate.”

Speaking to APR after his speech to supporters, Jones said that he feels very good about the state of his campaign.

“Everything we’re seeing is moving in our direction,” Jones said. “And the more he stays hidden, the better it is for us.”

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Crime

Inmate assault injures two St. Clair prison correctional officers

The assaults happened at approximately 7:30 p.m. and both officers were taken to a local hospital and treated for those non-life-threatening injuries.

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Two correctional officers at St. Clair Correctional Facility were injured in an inmate-on-officer assault on Monday, the Alabama Department of Corrections confirmed to APR.

Among the two officers who sustained non-life-threatening injuries was a basic correctional officer (BCO), a position created in May 2019, who are not Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (APOST) certified and who have some limitations on working directly with inmates without correctional officers present.

The other officer injured was a full correctional officer, Alabama Department of Corrections spokeswoman Samantha Rose told APR in a message Friday. The assaults happened at approximately 7:30 p.m. and both officers were taken to a local hospital and treated for those non-life-threatening injuries and subsequently released, according to Rose.

“The ADOC condemns all violence in its facilities, and the actions taken by the inmate against ADOC staff are being thoroughly investigated,” Rose said. “As the investigation into this incident is ongoing, we cannot provide additional detail at this time. More information will be available upon the conclusion of our investigation.”

The ADOC created the new basic correctional officer position to bolster the state’s woefully understaffed prisons. The creation of the position was also at the suggestion of experts ordered by a federal court to study the department’s staffing problems, ADOC attorneys wrote to the court in a filing in 2019.

The ongoing lawsuit is over the state’s handling of mental health in prisons.

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The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disability Advocacy Program filed the 2014 suit arguing the state was indifferent to the health of inmates dying by suicide in greater and greater numbers.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in June argued that ADOC was far behind on the court-ordered hiring new additional officers. It has been more than two years since U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ordered the Alabama Department of Corrections to hire an additional 2,000 correctional officers by 2022.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson in a previous opinion wrote that prison understaffing “has been a persistent, systemic problem that leaves many ADOC facilities incredibly dangerous and out of control.”

“Taken together, ADOC’s low correctional-staffing level, in the context of its severely overcrowded prisons, creates a substantial risk of serious harm to mentally ill prisoners, including continued pain and suffering, decompensation, self-injury, and suicide,” Thompson’s previous opinion continued.

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The SPLC in court filings late last year expressed concern over the use of basic correctional officers in Alabama’s overcrowded and understaffed prisons. ADOC attorneys have argued to the court, however, that BCO’s are adequately trained to do their jobs and are needed for the department to hire the necessary number of officers per the court’s timeline.

In a court filing on Thursday, attorneys for the plaintiffs asked the court not to again delay site visits to Alabama prisons by two experts who are tasked by the court to determine which positions should be filled by correctional officers and which by BCO’s and which by another new position, called cubical correctional officers, who are to have no direct interaction with inmates.

Those visits were to begin in May, but both parties in the suit agree to wait due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat it posed to the experts, who are particularly vulnerable to the disease due to “age and other factors,” according to court records.

Both parties again agreed to postpone those visits in June for those same reasons, those records show. ADOC seeks a third extension but attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that the experts can visit the prisons while keeping themselves, prison staff and inmates safe from harm of COVID-19 and that thousands of employees and contractors enter Alabama prisons daily.

The plaintiff’s attorneys argue in the court filing that the expert guidance is needed because ADOC wishes to use BCO’s and cubical correctional officers to comply with the court-ordered hiring of additional staff by Feb. 20, 2022.

“Ensuring adequate staffing is of upmost importance to address the constitutional violations underlying mental health care within ADOC,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote to the court Thursday.

ADOC in May was employing 494 BCO’s, a 57 percent increase in the number of BCO’s employed in Oct. 2019, according to ADOC’s staffing numbers. The number of correctional officers working in Alabama prisons fell by two percent during that time, dropping from 1,319 to 1,287.

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Elections

Slow absentee voting in Tuscaloosa sparks outrage, possible legal action

Among the issues were incredibly long lines that left some voters waiting more than five hours and an inefficient process that managed to take in fewer than 100 absentee ballots in six hours. 

Josh Moon

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Long lines and slow absentee ballot processing in Tuscaloosa County have left voters outraged and incumbent Sen. Doug Jones’s campaign threatening legal action. 

On Wednesday, Jones’s campaign attorney, Adam Plant, sent a letter to Tuscaloosa County Circuit Clerk Magaria Bobo, outlining a number of issues with ongoing absentee voting and promising to take legal action if Bobo doesn’t improve the process on the final day, Friday. Among the issues documented by Plant were incredibly long lines that left some voters waiting more than five hours and an inefficient process that managed to take in fewer than 100 absentee ballots in six hours. 

Additionally, Plant noted that Bobo has hired her family members to help process absentee ballots and at least one family member had made disparaging remarks on social media about voters. 

“You and those acting on your behalf are suppressing the vote of qualified Alabama voters,” Plant wrote in the letter. “If you are unable or unwilling to execute your duties competently, and allow Tuscaloosa voters to exercise their voting rights without undue burdens, we will take further action.”

In an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser on Wednesday, Bobo noted that her office had received more than 13,000 requests for absentee ballots — a remarkable uptick from the 3,000 or so her office usually receives — and there had been problems in managing that number of ballots while also adhering to social distancing guidelines within the office. 

However, as Plant’s letter notes, the massive increase in absentee ballots for this election shouldn’t have been a surprise. Also, Secretary of State John Merrill had made additional funds available to absentee managers to facilitate hiring extra staff, purchasing additional computers and staying open for longer hours to accommodate the anticipated increase. 

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In a press release on Wednesday, the Alabama Democratic Party criticized Bobo and her family members, and the release included screenshots of Facebook posts from Bobo’s daughter lashing out at voters who complained about the long wait times. 

“No voter should have to wait in line for hours to exercise their rights,” said ADP executive director Wade Perry. “We should leverage every tool we have to make voting easier, not harder. Also, it should go without saying that election workers should not insult the very people they are employed to serve. If Ms. Bobo is incapable of processing voters quickly, someone else needs to do the job.”

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Elections

Jones campaign calls Tuberville a “coward” after no-show at Auburn forum

“Tuberville is hiding because he knows that on every front — policy, experience, character, competence — he loses to Doug Jones. Hands down,” Jones’s campaign said.

Brandon Moseley

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Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, right.

There are only four days left before election day, and incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones’s re-election campaign is slamming Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville, accusing him of “hiding” and calling him a “coward.”

On Wednesday, Jones addressed an Auburn University forum. Tuberville did not attend.

“Tonight, the College Democrats and College Republicans at Auburn University co-hosted a debate between Doug Jones and Tommy Tuberville, offering students a chance to ask the candidates about the issues that matter most to Alabama,” the Jones campaign said in an email to supporters. “But Tuberville never showed up – he’s too scared to face Doug… even on his own home turf. Tuberville has repeatedly refused to debate Doug Jones. He’s consistently refused to be interviewed by the press. He’s refused to tell Alabama the truth about who and what they’re voting for – and it’s clear why.”

“Tuberville is hiding because he knows that on every front — policy, experience, character, competence — he loses to Doug Jones. Hands down,” the campaign continued. “If he won’t tell the truth, we will. Tuberville expects to win this race off of his blind allegiance to the President and his party affiliation. But Alabamians know better.”

“People deserve to know who they’re really voting for if they vote for Tuberville: someone who … won’t protect our health care, doesn’t believe in science, has no idea what the Voting Rights Act is, and doesn’t care about the lives and livelihoods of Alabamians,” the Jones campaign concluded. “Alabama will never elect a coward. Pitch in now and help us spread the truth about the man hiding behind the ballot.”

“I am disappointed that Tommy Tuberville is not here,” Jones said. “I think it is important that people see two candidates side by side answering the same questions.”

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Tuberville meanwhile is canvassing the state, speaking to rallies and Republican groups to turn out the Republican vote for himself and President Donald Trump. Tuberville spoke at Freedom Fest in Madison County on Thursday and at the Trump Truck Parade rally in Phenix City.

“It’s time Alabama had a U.S. senator who represents our conservative beliefs and traditional values,” Tuberville said in Phenix City. “It’s time Alabama had a U.S. senator who supports the Second Amendment, the right to life, and putting God back in the classroom.”

Polling consistently shows Tuberville with a commanding lead over Jones. Real Clear Politics lists the race on their current board as a likely Republican win. FiveThirtyEight’s election model gives Tuberville a 79 percent chance of defeating Jones.

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