Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard

Members of the Alabama Legislature will elect a new House speaker in February, possibly sooner if Governor Bentley calls a special session.  

Contenders for the job are beginning to emerge after former House Speaker Mike Hubbard was removed from office after being convicted on twelve ethics charges.

Hubbard trial
Todd J. Van Ernst

Mike Hubbard’s political career appears to be over.

The former Alabama House Speaker faces sentencing next month after being convicted on 12 of the 23 felony ethics charges. APR’s MacKenzie Bates was at the Lee County Courthouse and files this report.

Hubbard’s defense attorney put his arm around him as the verdicts were read one by one convicting him of using his political office for personal gain.

Hubbard maintained his innocence throughout the indictments, saying the transactions that were made fell within the state ethics law.

Lee County Sheriff's Office

A jury has convicted Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard on 12 charges of violating the state ethics law.

The jury returned the verdict Friday evening after deliberating for seven hours. Sentencing is set for next month.

 

Hubbard faced 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using political positions as House speaker and chairman of the state GOP to make money and investments from lobbyists and company owners.

Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise

A new report on sanitation and drinking water has singled out Lowndes County, Alabama for its widespread lack of sewage systems for its residents.

According to the report from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, around 80 percent of Lowndes County residents don’t have access to municipal waste treatment and have to install their own septic systems. Those systems can cost up to $30,000 thanks to the type of soil in the area, and the median household income in Lowndes County is just $26,000.

         

The prosecution continues to press their case against House Speaker Mike Hubbard. Governor Robert Bentley took the stand as Hubbard defends himself against twenty three felony ethics charges. Prosecutors are trying to prove Hubbard’s acted illegally when he met with Bentley on behalf of two clients. Former state lawmaker and political commentator Steve Flowers attended the proceedings. He says prosecutors spent time on Bentley’s perceptions of his meeting with Hubbard…   

Philip Anderson family
Pat Duggins / APR

The family of a dead Tuscaloosa County prison inmate is defending him before the press. APR’s Pat Duggins met with Philip Anderson’s relatives who are filing a federal civil rights suit.

“...it hurts…he was my best friend…”

Erika Fykes is Phillip Anderson’s youngest daughter. She says she got the phone call from her father’s cellmates saying that Anderson had been screaming in pain for a week. Only then, his family claims, did jail officials take him to a hospital. Anderson later died on the operating table from a perforated ulcer.

Governor Robert Bentley has testified under oath in the ethics trial of the Alabama house speaker. Bentley says he remembers meeting with Mike Hubbard to discuss what he described as economic development projects.   

Prosecutors are seeking to prove that Hubbard was being paid up to $12,000 a month to illegally lobby the governor on behalf of his business clients - a municipal gas company and a maker of plastic cups.

Hubbard Baxley
AP

After the holiday weekend, testimony is scheduled to resume later today in the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Prosecutors say they will call a number of influential lobbyists and company owners as witnesses today. They say Hubbard asked them to either make investments in his printing company or to help him find business clients.

hubbard trial
Brynn Anderson / AP

Prosecutors and defense lawyers are presenting very different views of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard as he stands trial on felony ethics charges.

Prosecutors told jurors in opening statements yesterday that Hubbard made around $2.3 million illegally off his elected office and past chairmanship of Alabama’s Republican Party. But the defense argues Hubbard was scrupulously honest, even asking for an ethics opinion before accepting money as a consultant.

Al.com

The speaker of Alabama's House goes on trial later this week facing a barrage of ethics charges.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges stemming from accusations that he used his posts as speaker and state GOP party chairman to steer business to his companies.

Hubbard has maintained his innocence. 

Opening statements are expected Tuesday in what's become a season of scandal in Alabama.

hubbard trial
Brynn Anderson / AP

A jury has been chosen, and Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s ethics trial will begin next week.

Hubbard is facing nearly two dozen felony ethics charges accusing him of using his position as Speaker and past position as chairman of Alabama’s Republican Party for personal gain for himself and his businesses. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Hubbard has pleaded not guilty and maintains he didn’t do anything illegal.

Advocates for people infected with the virus that causes AIDS are meeting in Huntsville starting today. APR’s Pat Duggins reports the group wants to stop laws making the spread of HIV a crime.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the southern U.S. ground zero for the highest number of patients with HIV or full-blown AIDS.

Organizers of the “HIV Is Not a Crime” conference say that’s why brought their event to Alabama. They want to fight state laws like the one that Alabama almost passed last year.

MARTE
Alabama Astrobiotics

Alabama’s state preschool program has been named the best in the country for ten years running.

The National Institute for Early Education Research ranks pre-kindergarten programs across the country each year based on quality. For the tenth year in a row, the institute named Alabama’s state-funded First Class Pre-K program the nation’s best. Alabama met or exceeded all of the institute’s quality benchmarks examining things like student-to-teacher ratios and educator qualifications.

A lockdown has been lifted at one Alabama prison where inmates had been refusing to work. At another facility, the strike is still on.

Alabama Department of Corrections officials say they’ve taken Elmore Correctional Facility off lockdown. Spokesman Bob Horton says about 80 percent of the 300 inmates who were striking at that facility have begun reporting to their assigned jobs again.

Alabama State House
AP

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's prison construction bill failed to pass on the final night of the legislative session yesterday.

Lawmakers ended the session at midnight last night before a scaled-back version of the bill received a vote in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers attempted to craft a last-minute compromise in their effort to clear the bill through both chambers of the legislature yesterday.

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.

UAB Hospital
UAB

Alabama lawmakers plan to hold hearings on the state's Medicaid program tomorrow.

The House and Senate general fund budget committees have scheduled a joint meeting tomorrow to discuss funding options for the government health care program that covers approximately a million Alabamians.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says lawmakers plan to question Medicaid officials about the agency's finances and costs.

Hubbard ethics trial
AP

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.

Monroeville Mockingbird statue
G.M. Andrews / Getty

The town of Monroeville said goodbye to writer Harper Lee over the weekend. APR’s Pat Duggins reports the author of “To Kill A Mockingbird” was laid to rest in the hometown she made famous.

Actress Catherine Keener’s portrayal of Harper Lee in the Oscar-winning film Capote is the closest most of the world ever got to knowing the reclusive writer of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” A dozen or so close friends and family members attended her funeral on Saturday with police officers outside the church to keep onlookers away.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is contesting reports that two Alabama counties rank among the nation’s top three for lead levels in children.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2014 compiled by Vox shows Houston County, Alabama having the highest rate of child lead poisoning in the country. The data shows seven in twelve Houston County children having lead levels high enough to qualify as lead poisoning. Dallas County ranked third in the country in CDC lead data, with seven in twenty children qualifying for lead poisoning.

Pelham football
Brynn Anderson / AP

An Alabama judge has given House Speaker Mike Hubbard until Friday to ask for a delay in his impending ethics trial currently scheduled to overlap with the upcoming legislative session.

Lee County Judge Jacob Walker gave Hubbard's lawyers a Jan. 15 deadline to file a motion to continue after a departure in his legal team. Hubbard's lead lawyer, Mark White, was given permission to withdraw from the ethics case Friday. White cited an undisclosed conflict of interest as his reason for leaving the team.

Hubbard Allowed to Seek Another Trial Delay

Jan 10, 2016

An Alabama judge has given House Speaker Mike Hubbard a week to ask for a delay in his impending ethics trial currently scheduled to overlap with the upcoming legislative session.

Lee County Judge Jacob Walker gave Hubbard's lawyers a Jan. 15 deadline to file a motion to continue after a departure in his legal team. Hubbard's lead lawyer, Mark White, was given permission to withdraw from the ethics case Friday. White cited an undisclosed conflict of interest as his reason for leaving the team.

A man convicted in the shooting death of an off-duty Birmingham police officer has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. APR’s Stan Ingold has more.

42-year-old Patrick Johnson was sentenced Monday. In October, he was convicted of felony murder in the 2014 shooting death of Birmingham Police Officer Keary Hollis.

A jury reached a deadlock on a verdict in May, and Johnson was tried again in October.

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.

St. Clair Prison
Equal Justice Initiative

The U.S. prison system is set to release thousands of inmates nationwide including hundreds in Alabama later this month thanks to new sentencing guidelines.

The Washington Post reports that this one-time release will occur between October 30 and November 2. The change is due to new guidelines shortening drug trafficking sentences that were approved last year.

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.

Over 1200 high school students will be watching the Alabama Supreme Court firsthand today.

The state’s highest court will hear cases in Huntsville as part of an effort to take the justices on the road.

Mary Ena Heath is a Huntsville attorney and professor who helped coordinate the visit. She says many people are uninformed about how the Supreme Court does its job, so this is a good opportunity to see the court at work.

Indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard has given a litany of complaints about his case in a recently unsealed document.

Hubbard says the state’s ethics law is unconstitutionally vague, did not apply to him as Republican party chairman and that he had a free speech right to lobby for his clients.

Late last week, a judge unsealed Hubbard's motion to dismiss his ethics case on the grounds that the ethics law is unconstitutional.

Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery today for their third attempt at balancing the state’s general fund budget.

The special session begins at 5 PM this afternoon.

So far, legislators haven’t been able to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Hubbard ethics case update, Special Session preview

Sep 7, 2015

A judge says indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard has been given a sufficient summary of the evidence against him.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker rejected a defense request Friday for a more definite statement from prosecutors of how they allege Hubbard broke the law.

Walker says the plain language of the indictment and prosecutors' court filings have provided adequate notice.

Hubbard faces 23 ethics charges accusing him of using his public offices to benefit his businesses.

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