Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange

Authorities say extreme drought conditions are persisting in some Alabama counties. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold has more.

Severe and moderate drought conditions are still in place for larger parts of the state, along with summertime heat.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that the worst conditions are in the northeast corner of Alabama. Those are conditions classified as "extreme" drought. This part of the state includes sections of Madison, Jackson and DeKalb counties.

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.

State lawyers are hoping to set a date for the execution of a death row inmate who unsuccessfully challenged Alabama's lethal injection method as unconstitutional.

Last week, the Alabama Attorney General's office asked the Alabama Supreme Court to set an execution date for Thomas Arthur "as soon as possible." The request comes after a federal judge ruled for the state and against Arthur's claims that the state's lethal injection method was unconstitutional earlier this month.

Alabama’s former House Speaker will find out how long he will spend in jail later today after being convicted on a dozen ethics charges last month. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the details.

Officials with the Attorney General’s office say they want Mike Hubbard to spend five years in prison and another 13 on supervised probation. His lawyers call that recommendation ridiculously extreme and absurd.

Hubbard was found guilty on 12 of 23 felony ethics charges back on June 10th.

Hubbard trial
Todd J. Van Ernst / Opelika-Auburn News

As Mike Hubbard’s sentencing date approaches, prosecutors are recommending the former Alabama House Speaker should spend five years in a state prison for breaking the state ethics law.

Attorney General Luther Strange’s office filed a brief yesterday afternoon asking a judge to give Hubbard an 18-year split sentence. Hubbard would spend five years behind bars and the remaining 13 years under supervised probation.

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A Florence attorney and an 83-year-old man are each facing multiple charges of human trafficking.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is criticizing the Obama administration's directive to let transgender students in public schools use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity.

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released a joint statement Friday saying both federal agencies plan to ensure all students, including transgender students, can enjoy a safe and discrimination-free environment. Both federal agencies plan to treat students' gender identity as the students' sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX regulations.

The fate of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is with the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission. The panel filed six counts of judicial ethics violations against Moore and suspended him from office pending an investigation.

The charges stem from an order he issued to all of the state’s probate judges instructing them not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The order was issued in January, six months after and in direct defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

A state lawmaker says he has enough signatures to re-ignite an impeachment effort against Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Republican Rep. Ed Henry says he’s obtained 23 signatures on impeachment articles.

The announcement came after the House passed a rule change requiring 21 votes to start an impeachment investigation. That thwarted Henry's earlier effort with 11 signatures.

Former Alabama law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier is suing Governor Robert Bentley for wrongful termination and defamation.

Collier was fired for allegedly misusing state funds, according to Gov. Bentley and interim Alabama Law Enforcement Agency head Stan Stabler. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is currently reviewing that accusation. Collier had been placed on medical leave by the governor about a month prior for what was described as an upcoming back surgery.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s ethics trial has been postponed once again. APR’s student reporter Miranda Fulmore has more.

Hubbard’s trial was originally scheduled to begin next month, but has been postponed by Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker. Walker postponed the trial after the state’s lead prosecutor faced a knee injury and needs time to recover from surgery.

justice.gov

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is facing another hurdle this week.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler has filed an ethics complaint against Bentley and Bentley’s senior political advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason.  A-L-dot-com reports Zeigler’s complaint is the about the possible misuse of state property by the Governor, and whether Mason should be considered a public official or a lobbyist.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley fired Spencer Collier from his position as the head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency last night.

The governor made his decision after an investigation by acting ALEA head Stan Stabler which found possible misuse of state funds under Collier’s watch. Stabler says the agency’s Integrity Unit found multiple areas of concern during an internal review, and those have been submitted to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s office for further action.

Alabama's attorney general is appealing a recent ruling that declared the state's death penalty sentencing system unconstitutional.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tracie Todd doesn't have the authority to prevent the state from seeking the death penalty against defendants who are charged with capital murder.

In Alabama death penalty cases, juries recommend sentences but judges have the final say. It’s not uncommon for state judges to overturn a jury recommendation of life in prison in favor of the death penalty.

A Jefferson County judge has ruled Alabama’s method of imposing the death penalty unconstitutional.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tracie Todd sided with defense attorneys who argued that Alabama’s death penalty statute was extremely similar to Florida’s, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Florida’s law was unconstitutional in January.

In death penalty cases in Alabama and Florida, juries recommend sentences but judges have the final decision. It’s not uncommon for Alabama judges to overrule a jury suggestion of life in prison and impose the death penalty.

An environmental group has asked a judge to hear oral arguments in its lawsuit challenging the state of Alabama's plans to use oil spill settlement funds to build a beachfront hotel.

The Gulf Restoration Network filed the request earlier this month in federal court. The group asked for expedited arguments, citing Alabama's continued work on the project. The state is building a new 350-room beach hotel and conference center at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.

Elliott Spillers
Pete Pajor / Crimson White

Students at the University of Alabama repeated a list of demands for more diversity on the Tuscaloosa campus.

A student march started at Malone-Hood Plaza and ended at Gorgas Library, where the students' eleven goals were restated. The group “We Are Done UA” wants a safe space for students of color, a diversity class for freshmen, and a way to report hate crimes and sexual abuse on campus, among other things.

Three Tuscaloosa Police officers are on paid leave following a videotaped incident that went viral on the internet. According to APR’s Pat Duggins, even Police Chief Steven Anderson admits he was disturbed by it.

The graphic video shot from inside a Tuscaloosa apartment shows local police officers pushing their way inside, and pulling two University of Alabama students out. A Taser and a nightstick are used as the officers forcibly subdue and arrest the young man and woman. Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson says the images left him with some questions.

Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange says the state's litigation against casinos will go forward despite the governor's order that local law enforcement should take over gambling enforcement.

Strange said yesterday he had been assured by the governor's legal adviser that the executive order issued by the governor had no impact on the state's pending litigation.

Gov. Robert Bentley signed an executive order recently saying local district attorneys and sheriffs should be in charge of gambling enforcement.

The Alabama Attorney General's Office is seeking an execution date for a death row inmate convicted in the 1992 rape and murder of a Homewood woman.

Al.com reports the Attorney General submitted a motion to the Alabama Supreme Court last week saying inmate Christopher Brooks has exhausted his direct appeals and should be scheduled to be executed.

Alabamians will soon find out which of the state’s drivers' license offices, National Guard armories and state parks will shut down due to budget cuts.

The governor's office says state agencies will announce their plans for dealing with funding reductions later today.

Governor Robert Bentley says state agencies have to work with the amount of money appropriated to them by lawmakers for the new fiscal year beginning tomorrow.

Vote Here
Danny Johnston / AP

A special election will be held in Limestone County today to fill a vacant state representative seat.

Democrat Henry White and Republicans Ronnie Kaufman, Danny Crawford, Mike Cricillis, Jerry Hill, and Chris Seibert are all running in the District 5 election.

John Merrill is Alabama’s Secretary of State. He says the special election is necessary due to an unfortunate circumstance.

Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange is asking the state Ethics Commission to reconsider an opinion that he says may undermine the state ethics law.

Strange sent a letter earlier this month asking commissioners to revisit advice they gave to state representative Patricia Todd. The commission told Todd she could advocate and vote on bills backed by her employer, an organization that works on gay and lesbian issues. The opinion says that’s OK, as long as the votes were on issues and not a financial benefit to her employer.

       

The subject of cyber security is taking center stage in Huntsville today. The University of Alabama at Huntsville is hosting a cyber security summit to raise awareness on different types of cyber threats. Joyce Vance is the United States district attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. She says it is important for people to report cyber threats or attacks they come in contact with.

VictoryLand Casino is asking the state of Alabama to return seized gambling machines and cash as the Macon County casino looks to reopen.

Lawyers for VictoryLand filed the motion yesterday after a judge ruled against the state's 2013 effort to close the casino.

Circuit Judge William Shashy ruled last month the state’s seizure violated the principle of equal protection since other electronic bingo operations remained in business in Alabama. Shashy dismissed the state's attempt to keep 1,615 machines and more than $260,000 seized in the raid.

Luther Strange
AP

A special agent who was fired from the state Attorney General's office says he's appealing his termination to the state Personnel Board.

Attorney General Luther Strange accused Howard Sisson of helping former Deputy Attorney General Sonny Regan undermine an investigation into Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Strange says Sisson helped Regan secretly tape a conversation with the acting attorney general in charge of the case and later lied about losing the recorder. Strange accused Sisson of disclosing confidential information.

A judge recently stopped another effort from Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s defense to have his ethics case dismissed.

Lee County Judge Jacob Walker III granted a state motion to kill subpoenas against Governor Robert Bentley and the custodian of records for the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Hubbard’s lawyers say those subpoenas were necessary to learn about possible communication records from Governor Bentley regarding Attorney General Luther Strange recusing himself from the case and appointing chief prosecutor Van Davis.

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a company accused of retaliating against whistleblowing workers in Selma.

Workers in a Selma automotive parts plant have complained about conditions in the plant and were involved in a federal investigation.

An order filed by the U.S. Department of Labor Wednesday in U.S. District Court Wednesday blocks the Lear Corporation and Renosol Seating from terminating, suspending, suing, threatening or retaliating against current or former employees.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is asking U.S. District Judge Callie Granade to keep gay marriage in the state on hold.

Strange filed a motion yesterday asking Granade to delay any more gay marriage decisions until the U.S. Supreme Court rules later this year.

Alabama will soon be playing host to a meeting of attorneys general from across the South.

The southern region of the National Association of Attorneys General will discuss data breaches, security issues and other topics at a meeting in Point Clear March 12 and 13.

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