News

Yet another inmate has been killed at a state prison near Montgomery.

An Alabama Department of Corrections statement says 36-year-old DeMarko Quinta Carlisle was stabbed to death during an altercation at Elmore Correctional Facility yesterday. The agency has a suspect, but officials aren't releasing that prisoner's name. They say the motive isn't known.

Organizers of the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma say they plan to move forward with the event, despite the city of Selma asking for $23,000 to provide police, fire, and other city services for the gathering.

Organizer and civil rights activist Faya Rose Touré says "everything is a go" for the march and celebration, which coincides with the anniversary of the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" march. Demonstrators were beaten on Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma during that famous march.

Touré says they will not pay the $23,000 requested by Selma's city hall.

UA Student Health Center
University of Alabama

Several students at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa have been diagnosed with the mumps, according to state health officials.

The Alabama Department of Public Health issued a news release Friday saying it's investigating those cases and working with the school to contact additional students and faculty members that may have been exposed to the disease.

Spay Day 2017

Feb 25, 2017
hmr86 (HM Razi) [Flickr]

This momma cat's litter may seem small, but it's the start of something that could become overwhelming when you start counting possible future litters.  Spaying the Momma Cat will go a long way toward helping to stem the tide of pet overpopulation.


A finalist for Alabama’s state school superintendent position has filed a civil lawsuit against a state school board member and others. He’s accusing them of orchestrating a scheme and ethics complaint last year to knock him out of the running to be the state's next education chief.

Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Craig Pouncey filed the lawsuit yesterday in Montgomery. It names board member Mary Scott Hunter, Deputy Superintendent Philip Cleveland and others as defendants.

Alabama death row
EJI

Alabama may be close to putting an end to the unusual practice of allowing judges to hand down death sentences in capital murder cases despite a jury recommendation for life in prison.

The state Senate approved a bill yesterday that would end the state's status as the only one in the U.S. that allows a judge to override a jury when sentencing capital murder cases.

Senators approved the bill 30-1. It now moves to the House of Representatives, where a similar bill has cleared committee but faces an uncertain future on the House floor.

State Senate Approves Bill Revising Alabama Accountability Act

Feb 23, 2017

The Alabama State Senators have approved a bill that will revise the Alabama Accountability Act.

The Alabama Accountability Act is a thirty-million dollar program was implemented in 2013. It is the nation’s first refundable tax credit for educational expenses. The act provides state income tax credits for donations to scholarship granting organizations.

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama

Feb 23, 2017

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama. The National Weather Service says the peak storm season in Alabama begins in March and can last until May. While there are no major storm outbreaks in the forecast, now is the time to get ready.

Jason Beaman is a warning coordination meteorologist at the national weather service in Mobile. He says residents should remain prepared because Alabama sees tornados every year.

The Alabama Senate may debate a bill later today that would prohibit judges from imposing a death sentence after a jury has already recommended life imprisonment.

Alabama is currently the only state in the country that allows judicial override of sentences in capital murder cases.

New State AG Addresses Law Enforcement on Cyber Crimes in Tuscaloosa

Feb 22, 2017
Alex Aubuchon / APR

Law enforcement officers across the state are learning how to take the fight on crime online.

The Joint Electronic Crimes Task Force is hosting two eight-hour sessions at the University of Alabama’s campus. The free training is the first of its kind in West Alabama, and teaches officers about how to get warrants for electronic data, and how to handle digital forensics evidence.

An Alabama Senate committee has advanced a bill to let faith-based adoption agencies, including those that care for state foster children, turn away gay couples on religious grounds. 

The Senate Health Committee on Wednesday voted 6-1 for the legislation that would prohibit the state from refusing to license or sign contracts with adoption groups that refuse services to people on religious grounds.

The long-time Republican majority leader in the House of Representative has stepped down a week after surviving a confidence vote.  

Republican Representative Micky Hammon of Decatur announced Wednesday that he was stepping down as majority leader. He will continue to hold his House seat.

 Hammon, in a brief statement, said it was time for new leadership for House Republicans.

Hammon has served as majority leader since Republicans won a legislative majority in 2010.

Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville says he’s considering running for governor of Alabama next year.

The 62-year-old Arkansas native tells the Associated Press that he's discussing his options with potential backers. Tuberville says he's awaiting poll results that will gauge public support.

Tuberville coached at Auburn from 1999 to 2008 before finishing his career at Texas Tech and Cincinnati. He's among the most successful coaches in Auburn history, but spent part of his tenure at odds with the school's most powerful boosters.

An Alabama senator says the federal government should cover most of the cost of caring for county jail inmates with mental illnesses.

Sen. Cam Ward, a Republican from Alabaster, says counties currently pay for the entirety of detainees' psychiatric health care. He has introduced a bill that would shift 70 percent of those costs to the federal government under the Medicaid system.

The legislation would also allow county inmates to resume federal mental health care benefits immediately after release.

Governor Robert Bentley has created a task force that will investigate removing the 4-percent sales tax from groceries.  

The governor signed an executive order Tuesday to create the Grocery Tax Task Force. He says removing the tax on groceries could save consumers up to $400 million every year.

The task force will deliver its recommendations to the governor by June 1.

Bentley first mentioned the idea in his annual State of the State address, but some legislators have long advocated for removing the tax as a way to help the working class.

Exports of Alabama-made products totaled well over $20 billion last year, according to Governor Robert Bentley.

The Tuscaloosa News reports that’s a new record high for exports in the state. The previous record was $19.6 billion in 2012.

Mark Potok
SPLC

The news headlines over the past year have been dominated by tensions. Conflicts over illegal immigration, refugee resettlement, terrorism and community race relations all led to deep divisions nationwide. Those conflicts also became the center of a bitterly contested Presidential election.

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently released its latest list and analysis of extremist and hate groups nationwide, and it appears that climate bred new hate groups.

Mark Potok is a senior fellow with the SPLC. He’s the primary editor of their HateWatch list and wrote an analysis of this year’s results.

prison overcrowding
Equal Justice Initiative

Prison officials in Alabama are investing the beating death of an inmate who was attacked by other prisoners late last week — the second deadly attack on a state prisoner within a 24 hour span.

In the most recent case, the Alabama Department of Corrections says 41-year-old David Sanders was found badly beaten and unresponsive in a dorm of the Elmore Correctional Facility on Thursday.

Sanders was flown to a Montgomery hospital, where he died of his injuries on Saturday.

Authorities say four inmates are suspected in the death.

Alabama wildlife officials say the federal government is still overestimating the amount of red snapper caught in the Gulf of Mexico.  

A new report from the Alabama Marine Resources Division says a mandatory state reporting program estimates the state's charter boats and private recreational anglers caught about 1.5 million pounds of snapper last year.

That number compares to a federal survey program that estimates more than 2.7 million pounds of red snapper were landed in Alabama.

 Alabama's wildlife agency says more hunters are reporting the number of deer they kill in the state under a new, mandatory system. 

A statement from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says hunters had reported killing about 81,000 deer in the state as of Feb. 9.

That compares to fewer than 20,000 kills that were reported during each of the last three years.

The difference is at least in part because of a new law that requires hunters to report deer harvests. Such reporting was previously voluntary.

The state is providing volunteer fire departments with more than $68,000 in grants to help cover the cost of fighting wildfires that raged across Alabama last fall. 

Governor Robert Bentley's office says grants of as much as $2,500 each will go to a total of 40 departments in 21 counties.

The money will reimburse costs related to equipment, tools, and supplies. It will also pay for the costs of starting and stopping firefighting operations.

Show Dogs [Facebook]

Rumor is only the second German Shepherd to win Best in Show at Westminster.  The last time her breed took top prize was thirty years ago in 1987.  In fact, the two German Shepherds are the only winners ever from the Herding Group.  

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All may not be well with Alabama’s Republican legislature. GOP House member Ed Henry says his colleagues are "deeply divided" over floor leadership and the direction as a caucus. Henry went as far as to ask for a "no-confidence" vote Wednesday in longtime Majority Leader Micky Hammon. Henry resigned as vice-chairman of the caucus. He says Hammon narrowly held on to his position, although other Republicans said the vote results are confidential. Hammon says he remained majority leader after Henry raised his concerns.

State Senate Delays Vote on Alabama Memorial Preservation Act

Feb 16, 2017

The state Senate has delayed a vote on a bill that would bar changes to historic or Confederate monuments in Alabama.  

Senators said Thursday that they needed more time to review the measure.

The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act comes amid regional debate over the appropriateness of monuments, street names and buildings with visible links to slavery.

The bill would forbid changes to or the removal of monuments that have been on public land for more than 50 years.

Stan Ingold

If you ask residents of Illinois what product that state is best known for, the answer might be farm equipment. Illinois, after all, is the home of John Deere. Kentucky might point to Bourbon Whiskey, and Wisconsin is the headquarters of Harley Davidson motorcycles. The state of Alabama has a few homegrown products you might not know about.

State Auditor Questions Legality of Senate Vote

Feb 16, 2017

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's plans for an election to replace Alabama U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions are drawing widespread criticism.

Bentley wants to schedule the election for November 2018. Jeff Sessions vacated the seat when he was appointed as US Attorney General. State election law says if the vacancy occurs within sixty days, four months, or a longer amount of time from the regular election, the vote must be held "forthwith". The 2018 regular election is twenty-one months away.

A state senate committee has approved a bill that would require Alabama high schoolers to pass a basic civics test before graduating.

Senator Arthur Orr, the Decatur Republican that introduced the bill, says citizens right now don't know enough about their government. He cited a survey that found a third of people couldn't name the three branches of government.

Critics say Alabama schools already teach civics and call the test a waste of time.

New State Attorney General Steve Marshall will recuse himself from an investigation of Governor Robert Bentley, the man who appointed him to the job last week.  

The announcement Wednesday is confirmation that the attorney general's office is conducting an investigation related to Bentley.

Marshall, after being sworn in Monday, said he would recuse from any direct investigation involving Bentley. Marshall appointed former Montgomery County district attorney Ellen Brooks to oversee the probe.

 A legislative committee has approved a bill that would prevent judges from imposing a death sentence when a jury has recommended life imprisonment. 

The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill Wednesday afternoon that would give the final decision to a jury instead of a judge. Currently in Alabama, a jury recommends a sentence of death or life imprisonment in capital murder cases, but the judge hands down the final decision.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has announced the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions won’t be held until next year.

Governor Bentley’s office issued a news release yesterday saying a special primary election would be held June 5, 2018, with a primary runoff taking place July 17 if necessary. The special general election will be held on November 6, 2018. Those dates coordinate exactly with the 2018 General Election.

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