Bentley Calls Special Session on Lottery, Supreme Court Removes Sumter Co. Sheriff

Jul 28, 2016

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he is calling a special legislative session for a state lottery. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the details.

Bentley's office released a video yesterday saying he wants lawmakers to approve legislation that would let voters decide whether to green-light a constitutional amendment to allow a lottery.

Bentley says the time has come to find a permanent solution to fix some of the state’s financial issues.

“This solution will provide funding that we can count on year after year. Without ever having to raise your taxes or put one more band aid on our state’s money problems.”

The Governor says the state has to find a solution to a funding crisis in Medicaid. He says lottery proceeds would go to "essential state services" that aid children, the elderly, the mentally ill and law enforcement.

The announcement doesn't include a date for the special session.

The Alabama Supreme Court has ordered Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark to be removed from office for corruption and neglect of duty.

Justices issued the unanimous decision yesterday afternoon after more than two days of testimony in Clark’s impeachment trial.

State prosecutors accused Sheriff Clark of a variety of misconduct charges, including allowing an inmate — being held on drug trafficking charges — to leave jail unsupervised, return with contraband and avoid being searched. A former deputy testified that the inmate had the passcode to the jail’s surveillance system.

After the decision was issued, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said justice had been served. Clark's defense attorney had characterized the charges as a case of small-town politics blown out of proportion.

Clark is not currently facing any criminal charges.

The city of Mobile will try to take a step toward healing a rift between its police department and the community. APR’s Pat Duggins has more on today’s public hearing and what it may accomplish.

The Mobile City Council will hear arguments for and against a police oversight board.

Tensions between the department and members of Mobile’s African-American community stem from the June shooting of Michael Moore, who is black, by a white police officer. The incident is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department.

The shooting also prompted calls for a citizens’ review board. Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Mobile Police Chief James Barber opposed the idea—but, they offered a compromise which will be examined today. The plan calls for a fourteen member board appointed by the mayor and city council. Each nominee would have to attend Mobile’s Police Citizens Academy and then go for ride-alongs with officers every three months.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley recently announced the timeline for a special election to fill a vacant seat in the state House of Representatives.

The District 41 House seat was previously held by Representative Mike Hill. Hill was recently appointed by the Governor as the new Superintendent of the State Banking Department.

According to the timeline, a primary election will be held Tuesday, October 18 with a general election January 10 next year. If a primary runoff is needed, that election will be held January 10 with a general election on March 21.

The qualifying deadline for candidates of major political parties is Monday, August 15 at 5:00 p.m. For independent and third-party candidates seeking ballot access, the deadline for filing with the Secretary of State is Tuesday, October 18.