Connect with us

House

Rep. Victor Gaston elected House speaker pro tem

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

The Alabama House of Representatives was in session for the first time in 2019 for its organizational session Tuesday, and State Rep. Victor Gaston, R-Mobile, was elected as the Speaker Pro Tem, a position he has held for the last eight years.

State Representative Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) nominated Victor Gaston for another term as Speaker Pro Tem. State Rep. April Weaver seconded the nomination.
State Representative Mary Moore (D-Birmingham) nominated herself for the position of Speaker Pro Tem.

State Rep. Thomas Jackson (D-Thomasville) seconded Moore’s nomination.

“I was trying to do that incognito,” Rep. Jackson said. “I don’t know why Mary nominated herself but Democracy works best when all of us participate. Mary would do a good job.

The House voted 84-to-13 in favor of Gaston. There was one abstention.

Gaston was sworn in as Speaker Pro Tem for another four years. If the Speaker of the House dies, is away, is incapacitated, steps out of his chair, or is convicted of a felony (as Mike Hubbard was in 2016) the House Pro Tem assumes the authority and function of the Speaker. Gaston was actually elevated to Speaker after Hubbard’s conviction; though eventually the House Republican Caucus chose Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) as Speaker. The House Pro Tem also has a lot of responsibilities in the day to day running of the House

Gaston, surrounded by grandchildren, thanked the legislators for electing him again.

Public Service Announcement


“Jean (Mrs. Gaston) is fighting a very serious health condition but we are fighting it.” Gaston said. “In 1982 when people of my party did not get elected and I was just going to make a good show of it; but Jean said no we are going to work hard and win it and we did.”

Gaston said that he could never have won that first election without all of the work that his wife, and his parents and her parents did. Gaston said that his mother, age 97 is still living.

“The speaker has outlined some thing that we need to do to move our state forward not just for my grandchildren and your grandchildren; but for all of the children in this state,” Gaston said. “We need to move this state forward. We need roads and bridges to be improved. We need troopers on the highway. We need mental health services. I hope that we will all bear in mind and do what is best for the state.”

Gaston also announced that Rep. “Harry Shiver is recovering from surgery.”

Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) was elected as Speaker of the House in a 98 to 1 vote.

Jeff Woodard was elected the Clerk of the House in a 99-to-0 vote.

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

House

Senate pro tem requests general fund committee begin hearings in July

Staff

Published

on

By

Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston, announced today that he has asked Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee Chairman Greg Albritton, R-Range, to begin holding General Fund Committee meetings in preparation for the next session.

In an effort to be better prepared because of uncertainty in state revenue as a result of COVID-19 pandemic Senator Albritton has agreed with Senator Marsh and has invited Legislative Services, the Department of Finance, Pardons and Paroles, Corrections and the Personnel Department to provide updates to the committee.

“Typically, we begin this process closer to sessions however because of uncertainty about state income and possibility of special sessions, we felt like it was important to get started much earlier than usual in this process,” Senator Albritton said. “The Legislature has done an excellent job managing our budgets over the past few years. So much so that Alabama was able to weather the storm of the COVID-19 shutdown this year with little impact to our vital state services. We understand that we will not have final revenue projections until after July 15th, but we must continue to do our due diligence and ensure that we use taxpayer money sensibly.”

“We want to make sure that all public money is being used wisely, now and in the future,” Senator Marsh said. “We have many pressing issues facing the state such as a potential $2 billion-dollar prison reform proposal and a stunning lack of rural broadband investment which need to be addressed whenever the Legislature is back in session and it is our duty to make sure we are prepared and kept up to speed on these matters. Furthermore, the taxpayers deserve a clear and transparent view of how their money is being used.”

The hearings are scheduled to begin July 9 in the Alabama State House.

 

Public Service Announcement


Continue Reading

Governor

Part-time employee in lieutenant governor’s office tests positive for COVID-19

Staff

Published

on

By

A part-time employee in Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth’s office, who the office said works only a handful of hours each week, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, according to a press statement.

The employee, whose work area is separated from the rest of the staff, last worked in the office on the morning of Thursday, June 18.

All members of the office staff have been tested or are in the process of being tested for COVID-19 in response, and, thus far, no additional positive results have been reported.

In addition, the State House suite has been thoroughly cleaned and will remain closed until all employees’ test results have been returned.

Employees are working remotely from home, and phones are being answered in order to continue providing services to the citizens who need them.

 

Public Service Announcement


Continue Reading

House

Three workers at ADOC headquarters among latest to test positive for COVID-19

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Sixteen more Alabama Department of Corrections employees, including three at the department’s headquarters in Montgomery, have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The department’s latest update, released Monday evening, puts the total of confirmed cases among employees at 99, with 73 cases still active. 

Five more inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 as well, including inmates at the Donaldson Correctional Facility, the Easterling Correctional Facility, the Kilby Correctional Facility, the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women and the St. Clair Correctional Facility.

18 of 27 confirmed cases among inmates remained active as of Monday, according to ADOC. 

Of the department’s 28 facilities, there have been confirmed COVID-19 cases among staff or inmates in 21. Of the state’s approximately 22,000 inmates, 214 had been tested as of Friday. 

Areas inside numerous state prisons are under quarantine, with ADOC staff either limiting inmate movements to those areas or checking for symptoms regularly and conducting twice daily temperature checks, according to the department.

Public Service Announcement


Continue Reading

House

Still work to be done on an Alabama gambling deal

Josh Moon

Published

on

A grand deal on gambling is possible in Alabama, but there’s still a long way to go. 

That was essentially the message that representatives from the Poarch Creek Indians and owners of non-Indian casinos around the state gave Friday to Gov. Kay Ivey’s Study Group on Gambling Policy. The 12-member group heard presentations, via Zoom, from representatives from all the tracks and casinos in the state, as it continues in its quest to put together a proposal that Ivey and state lawmakers can use to hopefully craft future gambling legislation. 

To move forward with almost any legislation will require an agreement of some sort between PCI, Lewis Benefield, who operates VictoryLand and the Birmingham Race Course, and Nat Winn, the CEO of GreeneTrack. The owners of smaller electronic bingo halls in Greene and Lowndes Counties will also have some input. 

The tug of war between these various entities has, over the last several years, prevented an expansion of gambling. It also has left the state in a weird situation in which casinos are operating on a daily basis but there are numerous legal questions and the state is making very little in the way of tax dollars from any of them. 

But with public support for lotteries, sportsbooks and even full casino gambling at all-time highs (even a majority of Republican voters surveyed said they support full casinos in the state), and with neighboring states rapidly expanding offerings, state lawmakers seem ready to push through legislation to make it happen. 

And now, it seems, the two sides in this fight — PCI and the track owners — are ready to make a deal. 

“I feel like there’s a plan out there that would benefit all of us,” said Benefield, who is the son-in-law of Milton McGregor, who passed away in 2018. “I’d like to see us put together something that gets these customers back from surrounding states. I just really feel like we can work together.”

Public Service Announcement


Benefield wasn’t alone in those feelings. 

“We stand ready to sit down and talk (about a grand deal) with anyone,” said Arthur Mothershed, who, as vice president of business development for PCI, handled the tribe’s presentation on Friday. 

Mothershed and Benefield have each said previously, and APR has reported, that the tribe and the non-Indian entities have held several discussions over the last few months in a quest to work out a deal. 

There is a new, old player involved, however. 

Former Gov. Jim Folsom, now a lobbyist, represented several Greene County electronic bingo entities, including GreeneTrack, during the conference. Folsom and others representing the bingo casinos told the group that bingo is essentially the financial lifeblood for their county, and that without it multiple county services could go unfunded. 

Ivey’s study group has met four times with the goal of providing state lawmakers with clear answers on questions of revenue, risks and options for gaming types. Any legislation approved by lawmakers would have to be approved by voters.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Authors

Advertisement

The V Podcast