Connect with us

In Case You Missed It

Mobile to hold mayoral, city council elections Tuesday

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

By Brandon Moseley 
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, August 22, 2017, residents of Mobile go to the polls to elect their mayor and city council.

In the Mobile Mayoral race, incumbent Sandy Stimpson is seeking a second term as Mayor.  Former Mobile Mayor Sam Jones, who was unseated by Stimpson in 2013 is running to make a political comeback. Donaveta Ely and Anthony Thompson also are on the ballot seeking to be Mobile’s next mayor.

The Stimpson campaign said on their web site: “Stimpson’s team secured a $14.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to reconstruct the Broad-Beauregard corridor, connecting residents, the transportation system and major economic employment centers at Brookley Aeroplex and downtown Mobile.  Under Stimpson’s leadership, Mobile’s economic future is bright. To date, fifteen new global aerospace suppliers are relocating to Mobile, there’s a new tech corridor on St. Louis Street, and our refurbished cruise terminal welcomed the triumphant return of Carnival cruise lines last year.  With Mayor Stimpson at the helm, Mobile is undergoing a positive transformation. He understands that our people are the real reason for our success. Each day this administration is committed to making sure every citizen has an opportunity to share in the momentum. Stimpson truly believes we can only achieve our fullest potential united, as “One Mobile.”

Stimpson is a White Republican who unseated Jones, a Black Democrat four years ago.  Jones is seeking to return to the Mayor’s office. The racial and political divides make it hard for both candidates to grow their coalition.  Stimpson says that the changes he has made over the last four years are a positive momentum and that Mobile should not go back to Jones’s policies.  Jones, on the other hand, has made President Donald J. Trump an issue in the mayoral race.

Former Mayor Sam Jones said in a statement on social media, “Now is the time to reflect on both recent and past history. Tomorrow marks an opportunity for us to exercise a right that many before us have cherished. We have seen the lack of inclusion and diversity over the last 4years. We see how our Current Mayor has the same ideology as Donald Trump. We see how our community is under threat of White Supremacy protests just like any other city. But How can all communities unite under this type of Leadership when we have a Mayor that refuses to denounce Trump and Segregationist ideology???? Regardless of poor weather or long lines…… our Elders have shown us how it should be done. Take the time to influence those around you by making this historic stand against Money and the Republicans on tomorrow. The Time is now to finally show…… that the People will stand together to make the change. Mobile….. we are counting on you. The “Friends to Elect” Sam Jones are “ALL IN”. Are you??????”

ADVERTISEMENT

Jones served as Mayor for two terms, from 2005 to 2013.  He served nine years in the U.S. Navy and four terms on the Mobile City Council.  The City landed the Airbus plant while Jones was Mayor.

Anthony Thompson is a newcomer to politics. He says that the biggest problem in Mobile is the lack of trust in government.  Thompson promised to have regular town halls, give the public access to police body cameras, decrease the Mayor’s control over the police, and better care for the homeless.  Thompson says that the biggest thing he brings to the office is his compassion. Thompson, 32, has been a nurse for 14 years.

Thompson said on social media, “I may be the first Mayoral Candidate in history to be interviewed by the University of South Alabama’s student newspaper “The Vanguard”. I am proud to be promoting & working with Mobile’s colleges. As mayor I will continue reaching out to our local colleges and involving them in moving our city forward!”

Donavette Ely is focusing her campaign on preventing crime, by providing programs and resources to youth counseling, workshops, and a healthy lifestyle.  Ely wants to encourage entrepreneurship.  Ely said on her website, “My decision to run for Mayor has a lot to do with the current events in my hometown.  I cringe every time I hear of a young man or woman losing their life to a preventable crime.  I feel it is my duty to present effective programs and resources to divert youth mortality rates; with counseling, workshops and a healthy lifestyle.  It’s time to heal our city and position ourselves for the future.  We should take advantage of our unique and creative citizenship by encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship. I plan to work closely with the City Council in efforts of introducing new technology and clean energy job opportunities.  Mobile has a retention problem and as Mayor, I plan to change that by making Mobile the exciting ‘GO TO’ place that will not only attract tourist but also compel our College Grads to return home to build.”

Public Service Announcement

Donavette graduated from Leflore Magnet High School. After graduating with an Advance Diploma, she attended ASU & USA.  She has an Associates of Science, at Bishop State Community College and a Bachelor of Science degree at Faulkner State University in Human Resource Management.  She has taken some Master courses at Liberty University online but her goal is to obtain a Law Degree and practice civil law.  Donavette has worked at the State Personnel Office, The Census Bureau, with FEMA and Homeland Security.  She also worked for the BP Oil Spill Recovery, as an Assistant Manager and specialist for Oil Recovery.  In addition, she has an extensive background in Sales, Marketing, and Tax Preparation.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) is sending teams of observers from his office to oversee the activities of poll workers in Mobile after some suggestions of possible improprieties were made.

Secretary Merrill said, “Just to be clear, we have absolutely no intention to sit back and allow any intimidation or fraudulent activity to occur in any election in Alabama!”

The Mobile City Council races are also on Tuesday’s ballot.

In order to get a ballot, you must have a photo ID.  The most common form of photo ID is a driver’s license.  Make sure that your driver’s license is not expired.  Forms of photo ID accepted at the polls include a valid: driver’s license; Alabama photo voter ID card; state issued ID (any state); federal issued ID; US passport; employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board, or other entity of this state; student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools); Military ID; or Tribal ID. Polls open on Tuesday at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It

Tuberville calls for term limits, balanced budget and lobbying reform

Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville’s campaign began emphasizing key structural reforms that the Republican nominee hopes to advance if elected to the U.S. Senate including congressional term limits, withholding lawmakers’ paychecks unless a balanced budget is passed and a ban on former officials becoming lobbyists.

“Only an outsider like me can help President Trump drain the Swamp, and any of the proposals outlined in this ad will begin the process of pulling the plug,” Tuberville said in a statement. “Doug Jones has had his chance, and he failed our state, so now it’s time to elect a senator who will work to fundamentally change the way that Washington operates.”

Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.

“You know Washington politicians could learn a lot from the folks in small town Alabama, but Doug Jones … he’s too liberal to teach them,” Tuberville added.

Polls consistently show that term limits are popular with people across both political parties, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that imposing term limits would be adding a qualification to be a member of Congress and that can only be done by constitutional amendment.

It is an unspoken truth that when Americans send someone to Congress they never come back. They either keep getting re-elected like Alabama’s own Sen. Richard Shelby, who is in his sixth term in the Senate after four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the other hand, they may become lobbyists getting paid to influence their colleagues on behalf of corporations, foreign governments or some well funded non-government organization.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tuberville said he would ban that practice.

A balanced budget amendment almost passed in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.

Since that failure, Congress has increasingly passed bigger and bigger budget deficits. The U.S. government borrowed more money during the eight years of President George W. Bush’s presidency than the government had borrowed in the first 224 years of the country combined.

President Barack Obama followed and the TARP program propped up the post-Great Recession economy. Rather than cutting the deficit, President Donald Trump invested billions in the military and a tax cut without cutting domestic spending. The 2020 coronavirus crisis has further grown the budget.

Public Service Announcement

The government has borrowed trillions to prop up the economy and provide stimulus while investing billions into medical research and treating the virus victims. Congress is currently debating a fifth stimulus package that would add more to the deficit.

Both a balanced budget amendment and a term limits amendment would have to be ratified by the states if passed by Congress. Tuberville is challenging incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.

Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It

House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.

The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”

Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.

The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.

ADVERTISEMENT

Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.

Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.

The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.

Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.

Public Service Announcement

The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.

Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.

In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.

SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.

Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”

State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”

The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.

The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.

The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.

The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.

Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.

SB185 passed 101-0.

Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.

Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1  for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.

SB215 passed the House 87-0.

The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.

State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.

SB231 passed 87-2.

The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.

The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.

The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.

Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.

Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.

Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.

 

Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It

Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday

Sam Mattison

Published

on

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.

Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.

Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.

The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.

Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.

Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.

Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.

Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.

Public Service Announcement

Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.

The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.

Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.

It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.

Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It

Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor

Sam Mattison

Published

on

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.

The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.

Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.

Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.

Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.

ADVERTISEMENT

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.

Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)

Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.

Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.

The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.

Public Service Announcement

Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement