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Week Twelve Legislative Report: Sine Die

Beth Lyons

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The Alabama Legislature adjourned the annual Regular Session Sine Die on Thursday, March 29 on the 26th Day of the Session. Unless there is a Special Session called by the Governor, the Legislature will convene for its annual 2019 Regular Session on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. As the next quadrennium begins after the General Elections in November, the Legislature will hold an Organizational Session in January to organize, elect leadership positions, and make all committee appointments.

On the final day of the Session, both Houses honored, by resolution and accolades, members who are not returning for the next quadrennium, either because of retirement or candidacy for another office. Eleven of the 35 Senators are not returning, including Mobile County Senators Rusty Glover and Bill Hightower and Baldwin County Senator Trip Pittman. Twenty-four members of the 105 House of Representatives are not returning which includes Mobile area Representatives James Buskey and Randy Davis as well as Representatives Jack (JW) Williams and David Sessions who are not seeking re-election but running for the Senate.

During the 2018 Regular Session, there were 168 bills enacted and 141 bill await the Governors signature. There were a total of 922 bills introduced during the Regular Session.

Bills passed in the last 5 days of the Session have 10 days from the date of adjournment to be signed by the Governor or they receive Pocket Vetoes.

SIGNIFICANT BILLS PASSED DURING THE LAST WEEK:

The Education Trust Fund Budget which includes funds for a 2.5% increase for K-12 employees, 197 additional middle school teachers, a $18 million increase for Pre-K, a $16 million increase for community colleges, a $27 million increase for 4 year colleges, and a $450,000 increase for public libraries [HB175 by Representative Bill Poole].

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A Senate bill that would continue the existence and function of the State Pilotage Commission and increase the membership from 3 to 4 with the 4th member to be advisory only and appointed by the Governor from a list of nominations by the Chair of the Alabama State Port Authority Board [SB222 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A House bill that would revise notification and confidentiality provisions governing certain economic incentives provided for by law and would clarity what incentives are subject to the notification requirements [HB317 by Representative Ken Johnson].

A House bill that would allow an out-of-state vendor participating in the Simplified Sales and Use Tax Remittance Program (SSUT) to continue to participate in the Program if a physical presence in the state is established through the acquisition of an in-state company, provide that the transaction is subject to sales tax if completed at a retail establishment, and provide that the eligible seller also includes sales through a marketplace facilitator [HB470 by Representative Rod Scott].

A Senate bill that would further provide for persons charged with driving under the influence and the installation of ignition interlock devices [SB301 by Senator Paul Bussman].

A Senate bill that would require persons approved for a pretrial diversion program to have an ignition interlock device installed for a certain period of time and provide for distribution of court fees [SB1 by Senator Jim McClendon].

A House bill that would authorize the Alabama Department of Corrections to establish a pilot program to provide bonuses to assist in correctional officer retention [HB226 by Representative Jim Hill].

A Senate bill that would allow qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry firearms in certain designated places where firearms are otherwise not allowed [SB27 by Senator Jimmy Holley].

A Senate bill that would require certain entities to provide notice to certain persons upon a breach of security that results in the unauthorized acquisition of sensitive personally identifying information [SB318 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A House bill that would create an exception that would allow the surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, rescue squad member, or certain volunteer firefighters, killed in the line of duty to continue to receive benefits after remarriage, and extend the benefits for minor children [HB192 by Representative Matt Fridy].

A House bill that would exempt the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo from payment of state, county, and municipal sales and use taxes related to capital expenditures for four years [HB118 by Representative Steve McMillan].

Two House bills that would extend the nursing facility privilege assessment and private hospital assessment that help fund Medicaid for a period of 1 year [HB321 and HB322 by Representative Steve Clouse].

A Senate bill that would add Fentanyl and synthetic Fentanyl analogues to Schedule I of the controlled substances list and provide criminal penalties for trafficking of these drugs [SB39 by Senator Cam Ward].

A Senate bill that would revise the state Ethics Law regarding minor violations and revise the manner in which a criminal investigation may be initiated by the State Ethics Commission [SB267 by Senator Cam Ward].

A House bill that would revise the tax lien sale procedures for counties to authorize tax liens to be sold at auction to the bidder with the lowest interest rate [HB354 by Representative Corey Ellis].

A Senate bill that would provide that a party desiring to redeem property sold to the state for unpaid taxes would pay interest only on the taxes due at the time of default [SB257 by Senator Hank Sanders].

SIGNIFICANT BILLS WHICH FAILED THIS SESSION:

A Senate bill that would require county and municipal police departments and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to adopt written policies to prohibit racial profiling, compile statistic on traffic stops and file reports with the Office of the Attorney General [SB84 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

A House bill that would authorize certain persons employed by a state or local board of education to carry a firearm on school premises [HB435 by Representative Will Ainsworth].

Two bills that would have further regulated assault weapons [HB434 by Juandalynn Givan and HB472 by Representative Mary Moore].

A House bill that would allow the taking of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of bait with a baiting privilege license from the Department of conservation and Natural Resources [HB21 by Representative Jack (JW) Williams].

A House bill that would provide that a person is not criminally liable for using physical or deadly force in self-defense or in the defense of another on the premises of a church [HB34 by Representative Lynn Greer].

A House bill that would require a person seeking public office through a write-in candidacy to file a statement with voting officials in order for the write-in votes to be counted [HB241 by Representative Ron Johnson].

A House bill that would make genital mutilation of a female under the age of 19 a Class D felony [HB284 by Representative Connie Rowe].

A House bill that would prohibit the possession or sale of sky lanterns [HB325 by Representative Ron Johnson].

A House bill that would require all principal campaign committees and political action committees that meet the threshold for filing campaign finance reports to file the reports electronically with the Secretary of State [HB346 by Representative Corey Harbison].

A House bill that would create the Alabama Task Force on School Safety and Security and would authorize the task force to annually study the current educational and safety laws, rules, and policies of the state in order to assist the Legislature in making effective changes to protect and benefit the citizens of the state [HB447 by Representative Terri Collins].

A Senate bill that would provide for the voluntary transfer of a case from municipal court to the county district or circuit court when the defendant qualifies for a pretrial diversion program, mental health court, veteran court or similar program [SB37 by Senator Cam Ward].

A proposed Constitutional Amendment that would remove the Lt. Governor as the president of the Senate, and provide that the sole duty of the Lt. Governor would be to succeed the Governor upon removal from office [SB88 by Senator Gerald Dial].

A Senate bill that would add roasted coffees to the list of in-home cottage food production that are exempt from regulation by the State Department of Health and county health departments [SB297 by Senator Rusty Glover].

A Senate bill that would add a manufacturers license that conducts tastings or samplings to the types of alcoholic beverage licenses in an area where a municipality seeks to establish an entertainment district [SB339 by Senator Rodger Smitherman].

A Senate bill that would require a county, municipality or local school board entering a bond financing agreement to include a schedule of all of their debt obligations for the time span of the maturity of the debt obligation [SB364 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A House bill that would require the Governor to appoint a person to fill a vacancy in the US Senate and schedule an election at the next regularly scheduled General Election instead of calling a Special Election [HB17 by Representative Steve Clouse].

A House bill that would substantially overhaul the Juvenile Justice System, and provide for community-based treatment centers for certain low-level offenders [HB225 by Representative Jim Hill].

A House bill that would allow a local employer participating in the Employees’ Retirement System to provide the same retirement benefits given to Tier I plan members to its Tier II plan members [HB344 by Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter].

A Senate bill that would abolish the requirement that a marriage license be issued by the judge of probate; instead the marriage would be entered into by contract which would be recorded with the judge of probate following execution [SB13 by Senator Greg Albritton].

A Senate bill that would extend, until 2022, income tax credits for homeowners and businesses who participate in neighborhood revitalization projects through Neighborhood Infrastructure Authorities [SB49 by Senator Trip Pittman].

A Senate bill that would decrease the maximum amount of unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 14 weeks [SB92 by Senator Arthur Orr].

A Senate bill that would allow a municipality to authorize law enforcement officers to issue a summons and complaint in lieu of custodial arrest for all misdemeanors and violations, with certain exceptions [SB154 by Senator Tim Melson].

SIGNIFICANT BILLS ENACTED:

HB347 to establish the regulatory authority for the Mobile County Health Department to regulate intermittent food service establishments that prepare food in association with a temporary exempt event that is a regional celebration, tradition, or cultural event designated as such by Mobile County, if the intermittent food service establishment does not prepare, sell, or distribute food on a regular basis in its regular line of business

SB76 to expand the adjusted gross income range allowable for a maximum standard deduction for Alabama individual income tax purposes

HB279 to remove the requirement for homeowners to submit copies of construction records in order to receive an insurance premium discount for meeting certain construction standards making a home resistant to strong winds if the property is certified by the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and evidence of that certification is submitted

SB175 to make a $30 million supplemental appropriation for the Department of Corrections

SB258 to require commercial food service establishments that utilize grease traps to provide locking manhole covers or otherwise secure the covers against unauthorized access. The bill returned to the Senate for action on the House amendments which were approved

HB228 to permit, but not mandate, the use of the national motto “In God We Trust” by government agencies and offices, in and on public buildings, including government office buildings, public school classrooms, and on vehicles

SB15, a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would require that if a vacancy in the Alabama House or Senate occurs on or after October 1 of the third year of a quadrennium the seat would remain vacant until the next succeeding general election

HB76 to provide oversight of currently license exempt faith-based child care facilities

SB100 to establish the Alabama Infrastructure Bank to provide for the appropriation and pledge of certain tax revenues, motor vehicle license taxes and registration fees, diesel fuel tax revenues, and motor carrier tax revenues

SB185 to authorize a 3% cost-of-living increase for state employees

SB272 to allow capital defendants to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable or the defendant so chooses

SB215 to allow certain retirees under the Employees’ Retirement System to receive a one-time lump-sum bonus to their retirement allowances

HB174 to give a cost-of-living increase of 2.5% to public education employees

SB148 to authorize a county to use warrant funds on public facilities owned by a municipality located within the county

SB38 to authorize former or retired probate judges meeting specified requirements to serve as private judges in probate cases that are removed to circuit court

SB352 to increase the amount a licensed manufacturer of liquor may sell at retail for off-premises consumption from 750 milliliters per day to 4.5 liters per day. The bill returned to the Senate for action on the House substitute which was approved

SB181, a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would allow displays of the Ten Commandments or other religious displays on state property including public schools

SB222 to continue the existence and function of the State Pilotage Commission and increase the membership from 3 to 4 with the 4th member to be advisory only and appointed by the Governor from a list of nominations by the Chair of the Alabama State Port Authority Board

SB113 to prohibit a sheriff from placing conditions or requirements on the issuance of a pistol permit unless expressly provided by law

HB107 to provide that a business license is not required for a person traveling through a municipality on business if the person is not operating a branch office or doing business in the municipality

HB302 to provide for the regulation of tagging of oysters and require an annual oyster aquaculture license

HB457 to further provide auditing procedures for pharmacy records and would limit recoupment for certain errors by a pharmacy

HB376 to authorize the State Fire Marshal to regulate and issue pyrotechnic display operator licenses and pyrotechnic special effects operator licenses to persons who provide fireworks displays, pyrotechnics, and related special effects to an audience

HB194 to require the Department of Public Health to establish a form for an Order for Pediatric Palliative and End of Life Care to be used by medical professionals outlining medical care provided to a minor with a terminal illness

HB298 to require the Department of Revenue to develop and make available a single point of filing and payment system for county and municipal motor fuel taxes

HB334 to authorize the Local Government Health Insurance Board to adopt terms and conditions necessary to administer the payment of health care services on behalf of employer participants in the Local Government Health Insurance Program whose eligible employees or officials suffer on-the-job injury

HB494 o re-authorize certain sales and property tax abatements for data processing centers for an additional five year period

SHROUD AWARD:

During a ceremony right before adjournment, the Alabama House presented the “Shroud Award” to Representative Ritchie Whorton from Scottsboro. This award is given each year to the member of the House who has the “deadest” House of Representatives bill during the Session. The award is a black funeral suit mounted on cardboard and accompanied with a witty resolution naming the recipient as well as the runners-up. The legislation, which resulted in this award for Representative Whorton, would have required operators of vehicles to use lighted headlamps from sunset to sunrise instead of from a half hour after sunset to a half our before sunrise. Runners-up were Representative Rolanda Hollis of Birmingham for her bills to regulate micorblading and eyelash extension facilities, Representative Jack Williams of Birmingham for his bill to establish the Association of Former Members of the Alabama Legislature, and Representative Mark Tuggle of Alexander City for his bill to levy a fee in lieu of property taxes on lands owned by Forever Wild.

SUMMARY:

  • Bill introduced: 922
  • Bills which passed house of origin: 448
  • Bills which passed both houses: 324
  • Bills which are pending the governor’s signature: 141
  • Bills which have been vetoed: 0
  • Constitutional amendment bills pending referendum: 15
  • Bills enacted: 168

Economy

Federal prison officers in Alabama brace for second missed paycheck

Chip Brownlee

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When the federal government has shut down in the past few years, correctional officers at a federal women’s prison in West Alabama were optimistic. They knew it would be short.

They were even optimistic — as optimistic as you can be when you’re not getting paid for your work — when they faced their first shutdown in 2013 after Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville became operational earlier in that same year.

Until this shutdown, the 2013 lapse in federal funding was the longest they’d experienced. This one is different. At 28 days and counting, the current partial shutdown is the longest in American history.

“There’s no comparison,” said Terrence Windham, a correctional officer who has worked at the facility for nearly seven years. “With this shutdown, there is a whole lot less optimism that things are going to change anytime soon.”

Windham is right. That reality he and his colleagues are facing — the reality of not knowing when they’re going to get their next paycheck or whether they’ll be able to pay the mortgage, their rent or utility bills — shows no sign of changing anytime soon.

And they have an 18-month-old child to care for, too.

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Windham is among the 36,000 Federal Bureau of Prisons employees who are deemed “essential.” That means he has to work during the shutdown even though he won’t get paid until after the government reopens.

In total, an estimated 800,000 federal employees nationally, and 5,000 in Alabama, are facing a similar situation. They’re either working without pay or at home without pay.

I. “They want their money”

Negotiations between Congressional leadership and the president are stalled. They haven’t met since President Donald Trump walked out of a meeting earlier this month. Things are frozen.

Windham’s pay is frozen. So is his wife’s. She works at FCI Aliceville, too.

But the bills aren’t frozen.

Windham

“And so you kind of have to figure out, okay, what bill are you going to pay and what are you going to hold off on,” Windham said. Earlier this month, a credit card bill tried to charge one of their accounts. There was no money left.

“I had to kind of shuffle some things around to pay that bill, but if I don’t get paid by next month, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Windham said.

Thankfully, the Windhams are from Aliceville. They have family and friends to fall back on, and their family owns a funeral home, so he has some extra money to help pay the bills.

Other officers aren’t so fortunate.

“Creditors and lenders don’t care that it’s a shutdown,” Windham said. “They want their money. It’s not as simple as a lot of people think it is.”

The prison recently hired a number of new staff, too. Because of the schedule they started on, some of them haven’t gotten a full paycheck in more than a month Their first checks were only partial checks because the shutdown started just after they started.

“And they’re new staff. They don’t have a nest egg,” Windham said. “You know — young folks trying to get started in life. So this is very difficult for them. And for the older staff, mortgage payments are an issue.”

Things are already hard at FCI Aliceville. But they’re going to get worse next Friday. That’ll be the day they miss their second paycheck. Paying one month of bills is possible. Few families have enough savings to last beyond that.

“This second check is going to be the real cutter,” Windham said. “It hurt a lot of people, this first one, but the next one is going to be horrendous.”

It’s not just missing pay. For some, it’s extra costs. Most correctional officers at the prison don’t live in Aliceville, a small town of fewer than 3,000 people situated about 25 miles east of the Mississippi state line.

Most live in Tuscaloosa or Columbus, Mississippi. Both cities are nearly an hour’s drive away. Before the shutdown, workers were able to take federally subsidized transportation to and from work. Now they’re having to pay out-of-pocket for gas.

“Now people are having to use gas and spend money that they normally wouldn’t have spent to get to work,” Windham said.

II. “It is still a prison”

Nationally, the average salary of a federal correctional officer ranges from $40,000 to $50,000 a year, and they work in a rare federal government position that includes the likelihood of being harmed or attacked on the job.

Even at a lower security women’s prison like FCI Aliceville, there is still the possibility of danger.

“There are still fights that are going on,” Windham said. “There are still drugs being smuggled in. It is still a prison just with an extra stressor. That’s what I’m worried about — people thinking about their home life at work and then putting themselves in a dangerous situation.”

Despite the difficulties facing the officers, they’re trying to push through it. Overall, Windham, who also serves as the local Association of Federal Government Employees union president, said morale is okay, considering the situation.

“They’re working, they’re having fun, making jokes about it, trying to make light of the situation,” he said. “They’re trying to keep their mind off of it. But when they’re at home, sitting alone or with their spouses, with their kids, they don’t know whether that next check is coming.”

Nationwide, The Washington Post has reported that the number of officers calling in sick has nearly doubled. In Aliceville, the union is encouraging workers to show up. Not showing up, they say, only affects those who do.

“We’re trying to encourage people to come to work, and they’re buying it, but it’s hard to buy something for such a long time. It’s painful to keep working and not get paid,” he said. Abandoning their job is not a message they want to send to politicians.

Nor is it a message they want to send to their inmates.

Some inmates work in prison. They get paid. Sometimes it’s as little as a quarter an hour, but they are still getting their checks, while the correctional officers aren’t.

“I’m not going to say all of them, but some of them here locally have made comments that they’re getting paid, and we are not — kind of jabbing at us,” he said. “So when you have to deal with not getting paid and the inmates are laughing at you and joking, it doesn’t bode well for the safety and the security of this institution.”

III. An outpouring

Aliceville is small. Less than 3,000 people. When the prison arrived in 2013, Pickens County’s population jumped by nearly 1,000 people, including new inmates and staff. The prison was a boon to the local economy.

As of now, that boon has temporarily slowed. Fewer people are buying food and groceries. Fewer people are shopping at local stores because they just don’t have disposable money.

Windham, in the little free time he has not at the prison, is also a city councilman in Aliceville, where his family has long resided. His grandfather started a local funeral home.

“From a city standpoint, now we’re not able to sustain our tax base that we’re used to because people aren’t spending,” Windham said. “People aren’t going out and spending money. That’s how cities survive. Once that gets negated, it starts hitting the city home.”

Folk have stepped in to help, though. Churches and local businesses have been helping furloughed and unpaid employees. The water board and gas board are waiving some fees. And Alabama Power is working on a case-by-case basis to help federal employees with their utility bills.

“It’s tremendous the outpouring that has been going on so far,” Windham said. “But if this thing lasts months or years, you know, people can’t go without getting paid. That hurts the economy locally as well.”

IV. Telegram to Washington

Trump has said he’s willing to let the shutdown last for months or even years over his dispute with Congressional Democrats — and some Republicans — who have refused to provide $5.7 billion for a border wall when it doesn’t include a broader immigration reform package.

Windham and his fellow correctional officers have a message for Washington.

“While they’re getting their six-figure salaries, and we’re not getting our five-figure salaries — low five-figure salaries — we need them to do their jobs,” Windham told APR.

The prison is in Rep. Terri Sewell’s 7th Congressional District. Windham said Sewell and her staff have been on the phone with correctional staff repeatedly since the shutdown begin. Next week, she plans to feed the correctional officers, Windham said.

Sewell, in a statement to APR, placed the blame on Republicans.

“I am working hard every day to reopen government while the Republicans sinfully and irresponsibly hold hostage the paychecks of our federal workers,” Sewell said. “From the moment Congress went into session, I have voted seven times to reopen our government. I am continuing to work with leadership on a real path forward, but we need a willing partner in the White House. The Senate Majority Leader must take up our House-passed bills and end the shutdown now.”

The majority of the bills the House has passed were authored and passed by Republicans, namely Republican Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, in the Senate. But after Trump said he would refuse to sign them, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell halted the process.

“We don’t care about the wall,” Windham said. “If you want it, get it, and if you don’t want it, fine. But don’t use us a political pawn.”

Shelby started his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee with a lot of success. The Senate passed more timely budgets than it has since 1997. But the standoff over the border wall halted his progress.

“I am disappointed that this standoff has resulted in a prolonged partial government shutdown, which has hurt federal employees and their families throughout Alabama,” Shelby told APR. “I believe there is a way for us to work together to move toward serious negotiations involving the President and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.  It is critical that we find a solution that will fund the remaining 25 percent of the government for the good of the American people, and it is my hope that we can accomplish this as soon as possible.”

But McConnell has said the Senate won’t vote until an agreement is reached with the president.

“We just them to vote on something,” Windham said. “Let the president sign or not sign. But to not do anything is not an option anymore. Because on Friday, if people don’t get their checks, they’re going to have to make some hard decisions”

 

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Governor

Lieutenant governor picks deputy chief of staff

Chip Brownlee

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The lieutenant governor has selected his deputy chief of staff.

Jess Skaggs, a former Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries administrator, will be Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth’s deputy chief of staff, his office said Thursday.

“As lieutenant governor, I plan for my office to be the most active and engaged in Alabama’s history, and Jess Skaggs has the experience, dedication, and energy necessary to help make that plan a reality,” Ainsworth said. “Jess has a deep desire to serve his fellow Alabamians and to make our state an even better place to live for all of its citizens. I’m happy to have him on my team as we work to provide Alabama with more jobs, better schools, and a higher standard of ethics among its elected officials.”

Skaggs previously served as the deputy commissioner for external affairs in the department.

He spearheaded economic development opportunities for the Department of Agriculture and Industries in that role. He also worked with the Alabama Legislature to promote the state’s agricultural industry and assisted the commissioner with public policy research.

Ainsworth was sworn in as lieutenant governor on Monday. He’ll begin presiding over the Senate when the Legislature returns for the 2019 session in March. Ainsworth said Monday that he plans to focus on economic development, education, job training and government ethics during his term.

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Aside from his experience in the ADAI, Skaggs has other experience in the Legislature that could come in handy for the lieutenant governor. Skaggs worked closely with two senators and five state representatives as the delegation director for the Baldwin County Legislative Office. In that role, he oversaw constituent services, drafted and researched legislation, and coordinated community service grants for the delegation members.

Skaggs worked on the bill that authorized improvements to Gulf State Park and the Lodge at Gulf State Park. That was at the behest of former State Sen. Tripp Pittman, for whom he worked as a legislative aide. Pittman who chaired the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee.

A graduate of Huntingdon College with a degree in political science and history, Skaggs has also worked on numerous political campaigns as a general consultant and fundraiser.

He and his wife, Charlanna, an attorney specializing in business law, have three daughters and one son.

 

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Corruption

Former Republican State Rep. Ed Henry pleads guilty

Brandon Moseley

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Former Alabama state Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to one count of aiding the theft of government property as part of a much larger Medicare fraud and kickback scheme.

Prosecutors agreed to waive 17 counts in the indictment and 15 counts in a related indictment in exchange for the guilty plea.

Federal prosecutors said that Rep. Henry’s role in the scheme cost the government more than $150,000. Prosecutors report in court filings that Henry cooperated with their efforts against other defendants and will recommend that his sentence be on the low end of the sentencing range. The charge carries a 10-year maximum sentence. Former state Representative Henry has also agreed to pay fines and restitution in the case.

The Alabama Media Group reports that Huntsville physician, Dr. Nicole Scruggs also pleaded guilty to a charge in a related case last week. Two other doctors have been charged in the case, including Decatur physician Punuru Reddy, who is scheduled to go to trial on February 4.

Henry was a partner in a medical clinic with Dr. Gilberto Sanchez. According to prosecutors, the clinic did not charge patients the $32 copay that Medicare requires. By waiving the copay that encouraged patients to come there over other providers and is a violation of the contract that clinics agree to when they agree to take Medicare patients. The fraud was uncovered in a larger investigation of pill mills and Dr. Sanchez and associates practice of over prescribing opioids.

Henry was a very outspoken member of the legislature who criticized then Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, for his corruption. Henry also introduced articles of impeachment against then-Gov. Robert Bentley (R).

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Henry is the fifth members of the 2010-2014 House of Representatives who have been found guilty of crimes while in office. Two others, Randy Davis, R-Daphne, and Jack Williams, R-Vestavia, have been indicted and are awaiting trial.

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News

Ivey attends kick-off construction on Airbus A220 manufacturing facility in Mobile

Brandon Moseley

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey joined leaders of Airbus, top local officials and others at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley Wednesday for a groundbreaking ceremony to launch construction of the company’s new A220 aircraft manufacturing facility.

Airbus already manufactures the A320 family in Mobile. The new assembly line will satisfy the strong and growing U.S. demand for the A220 aircraft. The A220 is the newest offering in Airbus’ commercial aircraft product line, and create more than 400 full-time jobs in Mobile.

“This is a great day for Mobile and for Alabama,” Governor Ivey said. “Airbus’ growth plans will not only create new jobs for Alabamians but also strengthen the bonds that have developed between the global aerospace company and our state. Alabama has a long history in flight and, as this project shows, a bright future in the aviation industry.”

Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce Greg Canfield said that the A220 assembly line project represents an important milestone for the state’s robust and expanding aerospace sector.

“Airbus’ decision to launch production of A220 aircraft at a new assembly line in Mobile will act as a powerful catalyst for sustained growth in an industrial sector that is key to Alabama’s future,” Secretary Canfield said. “Airbus’ expanding presence in the Mobile aerospace cluster will spark significant job creation and spur additional aerospace investment in the region for many years.”

Airbus CEO Tom Enders led the celebration and welcomed attendees including: Airbus executives, other industry executives, Airbus manufacturing employees, as well as state, national, and local dignitaries and community leaders.

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Airbus manufactures the A320 family of aircraft in Mobile, as well as helicopters and satellites elsewhere in the U.S. It also operates an engineering center in Mobile, plus other facilities across the nation.

The Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas, Jeff Knittel said that Airbus’ expansion in the United States reflects the company’s growing partnerships with customers, as well as with American supplier-partners, and the communities in which the company operates across the U.S.

“Our partnerships are growing again with the addition of an A220 manufacturing facility that will employ some 400 more employees at full rate,” Jeff Knittel said. “Together we’ve already put Mobile on the map in the world of global aviation, and together we are making a new mark for the future.”

Economic developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Airbus’ latest expansion, the construction of a new A220 aircraft manufacturing facility in Mobile, demonstrates Alabama’s position as a global leader in the aviation and aerospace industry.”

The new A220 assembly line will facilitate assembly of A220-100 and A220-300 aircraft for U.S. customers.

“The A220 Family is the newest addition to the Airbus family of commercial aircraft, designed for consumers in the 100 to 150 seat market,” Nicole Jones added. “Crews will construct the A220 assembly line at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, adjacent to the A320 production line already in operation. “

Aircraft production is planned to begin in third quarter of this year with the first delivery of an A220 assembled in Mobile scheduled for 2020. The new A220 production facilities will be complete by next year.

“Airbus has already announced significant news related to its current A320 facility in Mobile County,” Nicole Jones continued. “Within the past month, the company delivered its one hundredth (100th) made in Alabama plane to Frontier Airlines. Folks looking for employment should take note that Airbus plans to add new jobs this month (January 2019) and approximately 600 jobs over the next 18 months.”

Alabama is rapidly becoming a major global for aerospace research and aircraft production.

“Business analysts predict that by 2023, Alabama will be number 4 or 5 in the world for the production of commercial aircraft,” Nicole Jones concluded. “This is a testament to teamwork and strategic partnerships between the public and private sector as well as the quality, dedicated, and skilled workforce Alabamians provide and companies need. Alabama has a history of leadership in aerospace and aviation, and Airbus is an international pioneer in the industry. We are thankful to the team at Airbus for their continued commitment to our state, nation, and the world.”

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Week Twelve Legislative Report: Sine Die

by Beth Lyons Read Time: 13 min
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