Moore Facing Removal From State Supreme Court, Doctors Warn Against Medicaid Cuts

May 9, 2016

Heflin-Torbert Judicial Center, Montgomery, Ala.
Credit Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia

An Alabama judicial regulatory body will decide whether Roy Moore should be removed as Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court.

Moore faces removal from the bench over his effort to block same-sex marriage from coming to Alabama despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively legalizing gay marriage nationwide. The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission filed ethics charges against Moore late last week, accusing him of abusing his authority and failing to respect the judiciary.

The charges stem from an administrative order Moore sent to probate judges in January of this year telling them an Alabama order banning same-sex marriage remained in effect. His order came six months after U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Moore says he plans to fight the charges. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary will decide whether Moore should be removed from the Supreme Court.

Lawmakers have wrapped up this year's legislative session, but doctors and health officials say there's some unfinished business regarding Medicaid.

Despite a veto from Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, lawmakers approved a General Fund budget dedicating about $700 million to Medicaid. Health officials say that's $85 million short of the amount they need to maintain services to more than 1 million Alabamians, mostly children, the elderly and the disabled. They say services will have to be cut if full funding isn't restored.

Dr. Kathy Wood is the president of the Alabama chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She says the first step would likely be closing doors to new Medicaid patients, which would have some grave impacts.

“You're taking away access for newborns, you're taking away access for people who move into the community who are covered by Medicaid, you're taking access away for people who have been in a practice and had something happen financially within their homes that made it so that they are Medicaid patients, and they don't have anywhere to go.”

House Minority Leader Craig Ford says he expects a special session to address the Medicaid shortfall, and Gov. Bentley hasn't ruled one out. The 2017 General Fund budget will take effect in October.

Turkey hunters can help Alabama’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division in an upcoming survey.

The Avid Turkey Hunter Survey started last year to gather data on Alabama’s turkey populations. Hunters who are in the field at least ten days of the spring season can participate. Those taking part will report data on gobbling, turkey sightings, and harvesting.

Steve Barnett is the District Five Wildlife Supervisor and the Wild Turkey Project director. He says the data collected by hunters can help inform management decisions.

“This is observational data, rather than scientific. It does not meet scientific rigor. However, observational data is very good and the best way to use that is over time to look at trends.”

Hunters can find more information on participation on the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s website.