Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange

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.

Governor Robert Bentley is naming six finalists for the U.S. Senate seat now held by attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions.  

Bentley's list includes U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt of Haleyville and the pro tem of the State Senate, Del Marsh of Anniston.

Others include State Attorney General Luther Strange; Bentley appointee Jim Byard; state Representative Connie Rowe of Jasper; and former state legislator Perry Hooper Jr. of Montgomery.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a state law that blocked a plan to raise the minimum wage in Birmingham.    U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Alabama Chapter of the NAACP and Greater Birmingham Ministries on behalf of minimum wage workers.

The Birmingham City Council voted to raise the city's hourly minimum wage to $10.10. The Alabama Legislature, before the increase took effect, last year swiftly passed legislation requiring a uniform state minimum wage.

Charles Todd Henderson
WBRC-TV

The incoming District Attorney for Jefferson County, Charles Todd Henderson, was scheduled to take office today. But he’s been automatically suspended due to a felony indictment.

According to the Alabama Political Reporter, Henderson was a surprise winner over incumbent District Attorney Brandon Falls. Late last week, Henderson was charged with a Class C felony for allegedly providing false information to a judge. Alabama state law dictates Henderson is suspended until the case is resolved.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler is asking the House Judiciary Committee to restart an impeachment probe of Governor Robert Bentley.    Zeigler sent a  letter to House Judiciary Chairman Mike Jones on New Year's Day asking the committee to resume the investigation.   

The committee announced November third that it was suspending proceedings at the request of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.  Strange said his office was pursuing "related work.'

Jeff Sessions
Ross D. Franklin / AP

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has finished another round of interviews for the U.S. Senate seat now held by attorney general-designee Jeff Sessions.

Bentley's office says he interviewed six more candidates, including state Attorney General Luther Strange, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby and U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer. The governor also interviewed businessman Tim James, state Sen. Greg Reed of Jasper and state Sen. Phil Williams of Rainbow City.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley recently turned over lots of documents to a committee investigating the possibility of his impeachment. But he says those documents will not be made available to the public.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Governor said the materials "will not be made public at this time." Several news organizations had requested copies of the documents given to the Alabama House Judiciary Committee.

Alabama AG Strange seeks to replace Sessions in Senate

Dec 6, 2016

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says he will seek the U.S. Senate seat left open if incumbent Jeff Sessions is confirmed to be attorney general under president-elect Donald Trump.

Gov. Robert Bentley would appoint Sessions' interim replacement until there's an election to fill the rest of the term. That election would be held next year or in 2018.

Strange issued a statement Tuesday saying he will be a candidate for the position and already has filed the necessary paperwork with federal election officials.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says he isn’t looking for an appointment to Jeff Sessions’ senate seat. But he does plan to run for the office in a special election that may not be held until 2018.

Alabama’s junior U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions was recently tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as his Attorney General. That leaves a vacant seat that lots of Alabama politicians are clamoring to fill.

Attorney general's office clears Collier

Oct 20, 2016

A grand jury clears former Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier of wrongdoing.

The attorney general's office announced today that a grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by Collier and is closing the investigation requested by Gov. Robert Bentley's administration.

Bentley fired Collier in March saying a review found possible misuse of funds. The findings were sent to the attorney general's office.

Bentley creates commission on gambling

Oct 3, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley is creating a study commission on gambling.

The governor made the announcement Monday, a little more than a week after saying electronic bingo casinos were operating in the state illegally.

Bentley said Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming will assess the current state and local laws on gambling and practices in other states. The council will make recommendations to the governor and legislative leaders ahead of the 2017 legislative session.

VictoryLand Casino is expected to reopen today, more than three years after state authorities raided it and shut it down.

Owner Milton McGregor announced last month that VictoryLand would have a soft reopening on September 13. At that time, he said the bingo parlor would hire around 200 employees and would have around 500 electronic bingo machines for patrons. He says the casino plans to expand over the coming months.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

A lottery bill is heading to a critical vote in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Today’s vote could determine whether a proposed state lottery goes before Alabama voters later this year or if the bill dies in the special session.

House members will debate Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed state lottery. Bentley is seeking the first statewide referendum on the establishment of a lottery since voters rejected the idea in 1999.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says he believes a November lottery referendum is no longer possible, but is seeking an opinion from the attorney general's office.

Merrill believes the law is clear that today is the deadline for Alabama Lawmakers to approve a constitutional amendment and addit on the November ballot.  They missed that deadline.

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.

Alabama death row
EJI

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.

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