Alex AuBuchon

News Host / Reporter

Alex AuBuchon is APR’s Morning Edition host and also writes news and feature stories. He got his start in nonprofit radio at the University of Tennessee’s venerable WUTK-FM.

AuBuchon started as a student DJ before quickly falling in with the news team. He spent a semester on the news staff and then a year as News Director, delivering live newscasts and teaching broadcast workshops to undergraduate journalism students.

AuBuchon then switched over to commercial radio, taking a job as Operations Manager and Assistant News Director for a group of four radio stations in his hometown of Paris, Tennessee. He scheduled traffic and automation breaks and did administrative work for four stations during the week, and delivered newscasts and maintained a popular news website on the weekends.

Alex crossed back over to public radio in January 2015, moving to Alabama to wake up early and give listeners the news they need to get ready for the day.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Steve Marshall AG
Albert Cesare / Montgomery Advertiser

Steve Marshall was sworn in as Alabama's new attorney general yesterday.

Marshall took the oath of office yesterday afternoon in Montgomery. Late last week, Gov. Robert Bentley named Marshall, the long-time district attorney of Marshall County, to the position. It had been vacant since Bentley appointed former Attorney General Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate.

At his swearing-in, Marshall said fighting public corruption and combating human trafficking would be among his top priorities.

Dance Marathon
University of Alabama

Students at the University of Alabama were dancing for children last weekend.

More than 200 students participated in the Alabama Dance Marathon on Saturday. The event is 12 hours of non-stop dancing meant to raise money for Children's of Alabama, a children’s hospital in Birmingham. Participants had to keep moving from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., and weren’t allowed to sit.

An Alabama house committee has approved a bill that would block funding for state universities that defy immigration laws.

Earlier this week, the Americans First Act bill was passed by the House Committee on State Government. It states that all public colleges in Alabama have to comply with existing state and federal laws on immigration, or risk losing all state funding.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has appointed the state’s Attorney General Luther Strange to replace Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate.

Sessions was confirmed yesterday as the 84th Attorney General of the United States, leaving a vacancy for Alabama’s representation in the Senate. Strange will begin serving in the Senate immediately and will hold the position until a special election is held during next year’s general elections. The winner of that election will serve the remainder of Sessions’ term, which ends in 2020.

Sessions
AP

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is expected to face his peers in the U.S. Senate this evening in his bid to become the next Attorney General.

Sessions is widely expected to win confirmation as Attorney General. Reports indicate he has unanimous partisan support, and at least one Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has pledged his support for Sessions.

Alabama lawmakers are back in Montgomery today to begin the 2017 legislative session.

One major priority will be redrawing legislative districts, after federal courts ruled the boundaries of 12 Alabama voting districts relied too heavily on race. Federal judges say they want new lines in place for next year’s elections, so lawmakers will need to work quickly to get a new legislative map in place.

There's going to be more than a little clowning around in the Huntsville area starting tomorrow.

The Rocket City Clown Alley is starting its latest workshop on the fine art of clowning. The eight-week course starts tomorrow. The class covers all the bases of clowning, from face painting, to juggling, to character development.

Organizer Paul Carlton goes by the clown name Dr. Curley. He says having fun is the first step to clowning.

Birmingham Mayor William Bell has officially announced his bid for re-election.

Bell is seeking his second full four-year term as mayor of Birmingham.

Al.com reports Bell won his first bid for mayor in a special election in late 2009 to replace former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, following his federal conviction on bribery charges. Bell then won re-election to a two-year term in 2011. That term was abbreviated to synchronize the mayoral and city council elections.

The fight over the legality of same-sex marriage in Alabama is finally, officially over. And as the cases wrap up, state taxpayers will be on the hook for the legal fees.

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade has ordered that the state of Alabama will pay over $300,000 in legal fees to several organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. They provided representation for litigants challenging Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Dr. Richard Streiffer
UA

The Affordable Care Act is seen as one of the defining pieces of President Obama’s legacy – and the new Republican majority has targeted it for repeal.

Leading lawmakers in both houses of Congress have begun work dismantling Obamacare – despite not having any plan in place for a replacement, and despite polling that suggests an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose its repeal without a replacement ready.

Dr. Richard Streiffer is the dean of the College of Community Health Sciences at the University of Alabama. He joins us to explain the current state of the health insurance marketplace in Alabama, what the Affordable Care Act has done for Alabama's citizens, and what it might mean for the state if the act is repealed.

A group of environmental advocates in north Alabama have announced their intent to sue utilities boards in Muscle Shoals and Tuscumbia over violations of the Clean Water Act.

The Tennessee Riverkeeper issued a press release yesterday announcing their intent to sue the Muscle Shoals Utilities Board and the City of Tuscumbia’s Department of Utilities. The Riverkeeper says the two utilities boards are responsible for over 35 sewer overflow incidents since 2012, illegally pouring over 25,000 gallons of sewage into public waterways including the Tennessee River.

Embattled Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has been forced to empty his leftover campaign funds to pay legal bills as he fights an impeachment push and fallout from a scandal.

Bentley filed his campaign finance report yesterday. The report shows the governor's campaign paid more than $320,000 in legal bills last year.

Spencer Collier
ALEA

Former Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier now has a new job title: Police Chief of Selma.

Selma Mayor Darrio Melton announced the appointment yesterday. He released a statement saying Collier's "expertise in law enforcement will benefit our city and help move us forward."

Collier and Melton served together in the House of Representatives. Collier is also a former state homeland security director and a former Alabama state trooper.

Sessions protest
NAACP

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will face a Senate confirmation vote to become the country’s next Attorney General later today, and protestors in Alabama are once again making their voices heard in opposition.

More than 100 people reportedly took part in a second sit-in at Senator Sessions’ office in Mobile. The office was closed, but demonstrators reportedly packed the building outside his office and in a second-floor lobby.

Auburn University

Auburn University is planning to build to a brand-new $28 million facility at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

According to Al.com, the Auburn University's board of trustees meeting agenda states the project for the 44,000-square foot facility will begin May and end in July 2018 if approved at a meeting this Friday.

Some of the best athletes in college football are in Mobile this week, gearing up for the annual Reese’s Senior Bowl.

The game is a chance for standout athletes to practice and play before a host of NFL scouts, before NFL teams draft their next class of players in April. A few of this year’s top prospects, including University of Alabama defenders Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster, have opted to sit out this year’s Senior Bowl. But the roster still includes four Crimson Tide players, two players from Auburn, and one athlete from the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as the next U.S. Attorney General earlier this week. But that vote has been delayed until next Tuesday.

Senator Sessions has faced intense criticism from the left for his conservative voting record, and civil rights advocates including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have pointed to allegations of racist behavior.

Sessions
AP

Lawsuits have been filed claiming President Donald Trump’s foreign business dealings violate the Constitution. The impending litigation could test the relationship between President Trump and his pick for U.S. Attorney General – Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

UA ROTC
University of Alabama

Several future military officers at the University of Alabama will be headed to West Point after winning an ROTC competition over the weekend.

The UA cadets competed in what’s called the Brigade Ranger Challenge – a regional tournament for the winners of similar competitions in five Southeastern states and in Puerto Rico. Events included a fitness test, timed weapon assembly, land navigation, a 6.2 mile march and more – all while wearing about 40 pounds of gear. Alabama’s team won five of the seven events involved.

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