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Marine Resources Division will hold public meetings on potential regulation changes

Brandon Moseley

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The Alabama Marine Resources Division announced that it will host three public meetings to provide information about potential upcoming regulation changes.

The meetings are designed to address the priorities and issues of specific user groups. However, each meeting is open to the public.

The potential changes to be addressed are a fee-based reef fish endorsement for recreational, charter/for-hire and commercial anglers who possess reef fish.

The MRD will also consider additional changes including possible adjustments to size, bag limits, or seasonal closures for flounder and adjustments to size and bag limits for spotted sea trout.

The first meeting will address seafood processors, commercial anglers who target flounder and commercial anglers who possess a federal reef fish permit.

The second meeting will be held to address private anglers who fish for flounder or spotted sea trout.

The third meeting will address individuals who possess a state commercial party boat license.

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The first meeting addressing commercial anglers, federal reef fish permit holders and seafood processors will be on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, from 2 to 4 p.m. at 5 Rivers Delta Classroom at the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center, 30945 Five Rivers Blvd., in Spanish Fort, Alabama, 36527.

The second meeting addresses the concerns of private anglers on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 5 Rivers Theater at the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center, 30945 Five Rivers Blvd., in Spanish Fort, Alabama, 36527.

The third meeting will hear the concerns of state-licensed commercial party boats. That meeting will be on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Tillmans Corner Community Center, 5055 Carol Plantation Road in Mobile, Alabama, 36619.

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If Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations are needed, please contact MRD Director Scott Bannon at 251-861-2882.

Requests should be made as soon as possible but at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled meeting.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

Fishing, both commercial and recreational, are major industries the state of Alabama.

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Joey Kennedy

Opinion | GOP campaign ads are a hoot

Joey Kennedy

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The campaign advertisements for the top three candidates in the Republican Party primary for the U.S. Senate are a hoot.

Former football coach Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, and former U.S. senator and disgraced former Attorney General Jeff Sessions are scrambling hard to get the nomination to run against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November’s General Election.

The trio are now elbowing each other in the face on television and radio to see who loves Donald Trump the most. Tuberville may have won that contest, declaring that God himself sent us Donald Trump because God knew we were in trouble.

If God sent Donald Trump, he’s playing a very un-God-like joke on us. God bestows grace; Trump bestows insults. God is love; Trump is lust. God is life; Trump is orange.

My God didn’t send Donald Trump anywhere, but Tuberville must believe that if he says it, the Trump loyalists – especially those weird Evangelicals who also believe Trump is “godly” –will vote for him.

Then there are those strange commercials by Bradley Byrne, sitting by a campfire, insinuating that his brother Dale died fighting for the First Amendment rights which the so-called Squad uses to attack America, for Colin Kaepernick to take a knee, for a Muslim to serve in the U.S. House. Byrne’s brother was a military hero and did serve for many years with special forces, but he died of a heart attack in 2013, at the age of 62, following a lengthy respiratory illness the Byrne family links to Dale’s military service.

About the First Amendment, “Dale fought for that right,” Byrne says in the ad, “but I will not let them tear our country apart.”

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Byrne never explains what he can do to keep those five people (I’m sure, by coincidence, five people of color) from saying whatever they want. Like Byrne, the four women of color in the U.S. House were elected by the voters in their district so, in effect, Byrne is insulting those voters. But that aside, one has to be pretty desperate to use one’s deceased brother as a prop in a political campaign ad.

And then there’s Sessions. Alabama’s junior senator for two decades, he wants his old job back. Sessions never stood tall anywhere, but especially in the Senate, where he was just a person who stopped stuff from happening. But he was the first U.S. Senator to endorse Trump, so Trump rewarded him by appointing him U.S. attorney general.

Trump quickly suffered buyer’s remorse because Sessions recused himself from the Department of Justice’s Russia investigation, as he should have done. But doing the right thing isn’t a big selling point with Trump. The president hounded Sessions on Twitter, then fired him right after the mid-term elections in November 2018. Still, Sessions even now still sucksup to Trump even though Trump recently gave his opponent Byrne a shout-out.

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Besides making their outrageous claims, Sessions, Byrne, and Tuberville are also running attack ads against each other. This is fun. They each want to appear more godly, more Republicanny, and more Trumpy than anybody else.

That position is usually held by constant-candidate Roy Moore. I don’t think we can expect much from Moore, the disgraced former Alabama Chief Justice who at one time had a thing for teenaged girls. In this round, Moore is flat out of gas and moneyand reputation. At least we have that.

There’s no doubt who is best qualified to keep representing Alabama in the U.S. Senate: Doug Jones. We’ll have to wait until November to see if Jones can pull it off, but only a fool would count him out.

We’ll find out which Republican gets to take on Jones either Tuesday or after a runoff later in March. I’m hoping for the runoff. These Republican commercials are just too, too funny.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]

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House

House passes bill allowing veterans, active-duty military to get free pistol permits

Brandon Moseley

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The Alabama House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday that would allow active-duty military and veterans who received an honorable discharge to pay nothing when they apply for a concealed carry permit

House Bill 208 is sponsored by State Representative David Standridge, R-Hayden.

Under existing Alabama law, it is a misdemeanor to carry a handgun concealed without a permit from your local sheriff’s pistol permits. Alabama law considers a firearm as being “concealed” if it is in a motor vehicle, covered by clothing, or in a purse or luggage. Alabama does not require a permit to open carry a handgun. Alabamians may carry long guns, including in their vehicle, without a permit. A handgun, however, must be unloaded and placed in a locked box away from reach in order for an Alabamian to have the gun in their vehicle unless that person has a concealed carry permit.

Standridge said that HB208 would exempt active-duty military and honorably discharged veterans from having to pay fees to get their pistol permits.

State Representative Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, said, “Thank you for doing something to reduce fees.”

Standridge added an amendment so that if an active-duty soldier loses their active duty status or are dishonorably discharged they would lose their pistol permit.

Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said, “Some poor county sheriffs could not survive without the pistol permits.”

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Rep. Thomas Jackson, R-Thomasville, said, “I got a problem with giving away free pistol permits even to veterans.”

Standridge replied, “This applies to less than ten percent of the adults in Alabama. That is the highest rate in the country.”

Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, asked, “What about those guys with PTSD?”

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“They still have to go through background checks,” Standridge said. “They would still have to go through the same process as anybody else they just haven’t don’t have to pay a fee.”

Rogers said, “A lot of these mass killers are military. Their wives hide their guns from them at night because they wake up after being in combat and they think they are still fighting.”

House Bill 208 has passed 95 to 0. The bill now goes to the Alabama Senate for their consideration.

HB208 was part of a broader package of military appreciation bills that the House passed on Tuesday. The legislature is making an effort to make the state of Alabama more military friendly in order to help the state retain and attract military installations and military. The state’s military bases have an enormous contribution to the Alabama economy.

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Elections

Atlanta Mayor to campaign for Biden in Alabama

Brandon Moseley

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Thursday, the presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden (D) announced that Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will travel to Tennessee and Alabama to campaign on behalf of Joe Biden.

On Friday, Mayor Bottoms will travel to Tennessee, where she will host a Women for Biden event with State Senator Brenda Gilmore, moderate a health care roundtable, and host a meet and greet with State Representative Harold Love in Nashville. She was supposed to have hosted a GOTV kickoff event with Mayor Lee Harris and State Senator Raumesh Akbari in Memphis, Tennessee; but that event has been reportedly cancelled.

On Saturday, Mayor Bottoms will travel to Alabama, where she will host community events in Huntsville and Birmingham before speaking at the Alabama Conference of Black Mayors.

Biden has promised that his campaign will carry South Carolina, where he is leading in the polls. Biden hopes that he can win several southern states, including Alabama, on Super Tuesday to emerge as one of the leaders in the race for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

The Huntsville community Event with Keisha Lance Bottoms in Huntsville will be 9:30 a.m. at the Huntsville Country Club 2601 Oakwood Ave NW, Huntsville, AL 35810. Doors open at 9:00 a.m.

The Birmingham community Event with Keisha Lance Bottoms is somewhere in Birmingham at 12 noon; but the Biden campaign has not given us a location. We will update this story once the details are available.

Mayor Bottoms will address the Alabama Conference of Black Mayors in Selma at 3:00 p.m. pm Saturday. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. C.S.T. at Browns Chapel A.M.E., 410 Martin Luther King Street, Selma, AL, 36703.

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Biden has been endorsed by both Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-Selma) and U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama).

Biden is the favorite to win both the South Carolina and Alabama Democratic Primaries. Biden however is trailing in most of the Super Tuesday states to frontrunner U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). Sanders carried 47 percent of the vote in the recent Nevada Caucus. Sanders won the New Hampshire primary and won the most votes in the Iowa Caucus; though South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg won the most number of Caucuses, and thus the most delegates in Iowa.

Biden was the early front runner in the polls; but has been hurt by Republican charges of nepotism benefitting his son, Hunter Biden, while he was Vice President from 2009 to 2017.

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The Alabama Democratic Conference has endorsed former New York City Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg was a late entry into the race, thus was not even on the ballot in Iowa, Nevada, or New Hampshire and won’t be on the ballot in South Carolina either. Bloomberg has spent over $350 million of his own money to buy TV and media ads. Bloomberg is a billionaire with a fortune estimated to be worth over $66 billion.

Moderate Democrats like James Carville have expressed fears that the Democratic Party will suffer tremendous losses in November if Sanders, a self-declared Socialist, wins the nomination.

The Alabama Democratic presidential primary will be on Tuesday.

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News

Celebrating Alabama’s Bicentennial

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On December 14, 2019, Alabama celebrated its 200th year of statehood, and ALABAMA 200 would like to honor babies born on the state’s birthday with a special collection of bicentennial items.

Bicentennial babies will receive a copy of “Alabama My Home Sweet Home,” a beautiful children’s book by beloved Alabama author Charles Ghigna, also known as Father Goose. A Camellia Bear squeeze toy and Bicentennial Baby bib are also included, along with a set of educational posters suitable for framing.

If you or someone you know had a baby on December 14, 2019, let ALABAMA 200 know! Parents or grandparents should send an email with a mailing address and a copy of their baby’s birth certificate or announcement to [email protected]. ALABAMA 200 will send your bicentennial baby his or her own commemorative gift. 

Call 334-242-4537 with questions or for more information. Visitwww.ALABAMA200.org to find out more about the commemoration of Alabama’s 200th birthday and related projects.

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