Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard

Republicans in the Alabama House are backing off proposals to furlough state employees for two days and to suspend longevity bonuses for a year.

Both ideas were considered to help the General Fund budget. But Speaker Mike Hubbard says they aren't needed after a change to a cigarette tax bill.

The proposals drew criticisms from Democrats who say they're pleased to see the ideas dropped.

Henry Mabry has officially stepped down as the head of the Alabama Education Association.

His resignation comes after the AEA board voted back in February to terminate Mabry after an audit raised concerns about his financial management of the organization.

Mabry replaced longtime AEA head Paul Hubbert in 2011. It was Hubbert who built the education organization into a massive political powerhouse. Hubbert expressed some grave concerns about the AEA's fiscal health before he passed away last year.

State prosecutors say indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard is once again manufacturing investigation leaks to distract the public from his criminal wrongdoing.

Yesterday, prosecutors asked a judge to reject Hubbard's motion to dismiss their indictment. Hubbard claimed there were violations of the grand jury secrecy act and other problems with the investigation against him.

State prosecutors said Hubbard's claims are baseless, and a “bogus narrative”.

The Alabama Senate approved a measure to establish charter schools in the state in a 22 to 12 vote last night. That bill will now head to the House of Representatives.

The proposal allows the establishment of up to 10 brand new charter schools in the state each year, and allows school districts to convert an unlimited number of existing schools to charter status.

Republicans say charter schools provide education choices to families and encourage innovation. Opponents say they will drain resources from existing public schools.

Residents in much of northern and central Alabama are digging out this morning after a winter storm dumped a substantial amount of snow on the region.

Roads are impassable in more than ten Alabama counties. The heaviest snow fell north of Birmingham – forecasters say some areas received upwards of ten inches of snow accumulation.

Paige Colburn is the emergency management officer for the Huntsville – Madison County EMA. She says they’re hoping to avoid a repeat of last Friday, when stuck and abandoned cars caused major problems for emergency crews.

Prosecutors continue to trade barbs with House Speaker Mike Hubbard over details connected to his ethics case.

Hubbard's defense is working to force prosecutors to release conversations with legislators and the media. The Attorney General’s office is objecting to that tactic and they made their displeasure known through court filings. Prosecutors say Hubbard is seeking a fishing expedition in search of any information in to a claim of prosecutorial misconduct.

The former CEO of two non-profit Alabama health clinics was arrested yesterday on federal charges.

The Birmingham U.S. Attorney's Office says Jonathan Wade Dunning was arrested on multiple counts of fraud, conspiracy, money-laundering and other charges.

Dunning was at one time CEO of both Birmingham Health Care and Central Alabama Comprehensive Health in Tuskegee. Prosecutors say Dunning left those clinics to run a private business, and are accusing him of funneling substantial amounts of government money from the non-profit health operations into his own company.

Teachers and residents in Huntsville will get a chance to speak out today on plans to end a 51-year-old desegregation lawsuit.

All sides will gather at Columbia High School to discuss a federal consent order that’s supposed to ensure fair treatment for all Huntsville City school students. A federal judge mediated the agreement last June. It’s meant to resolve the remaining issues from both sides of the desegregation case.

Lawyers for House Speaker Mike Hubbard are now asking prosecutors to disclose any conversations they had with legislators. They are also looking for conversations with members of the executive branch about the case.

Defense lawyers filed a discovery motion Wednesday asking a judge to force prosecutors to disclose any calls with legislators or executive branch members. They also asked for any copies of conversations that might have been recorded.

Hubbard's lawyers had already asked prosecutors to disclose any media calls.

Lawyers for House Speaker Mike Hubbard are now asking prosecutors to disclose any conversations they had with legislators or members of the executive branch about the case.

Defense lawyers filed a discovery motion today asking a judge to force prosecutors to disclose any calls with legislators or executive branch members. They also asked for any copies of conversations that might have been recorded.

Hubbard's lawyers had already asked prosecutors to disclose any media calls.

The Alabama House has re-elected indicted Representative Mike Hubbard as speaker.   The newly-elected Alabama Legislature convened Tuesday in Montgomery for its organizational session.

House majority leader Micky Hammon nominated Hubbard for a second four-year term as speaker.   Hubbard was unopposed in his effort to maintain the leadership.  Hammon called Hubbard a man of integrity and honesty.

apr.org

 Prosecutors say indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard is making unfounded accusations about investigation leaks in an attempt to distract the public from the criminal charges against him.    In a Monday court filing, prosecutors fired back at misconduct claims by defense lawyers. Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart says no confidential information was disclosed when he had an off-the-record conversation about the case with a radio talk show host.

council of state governments

A lead prosecutor says ethics charges were brought against House Speaker Mike Hubbard because a grand jury found evidence of crimes and not for political reasons.

Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis issued a statement Tuesday responding to accusations by Hubbard that the case is political.

Davis says he has no political allegiances to anyone, including Attorney General Luther Strange, who appointed him.

A judge has delayed House Speaker Mike Hubbard's trial on ethics charges until 2015.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker pushed back a Dec. 8 trial date at the request of the defense. Walker will meet with prosecutors and defense lawyers on Jan. 7 to discuss a timeline for the case.

A grand jury last month indicted Hubbard on felony ethics charges. The indictment accuses Hubbard of using his public positions to obtain work for his companies and to solicit investments from lobbyists.

Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard has pleaded not guilty to ethics charges that he used his public offices to enrich himself.

Hubbard entered the plea in a Friday court filing. He also waived a Thursday arraignment that would have been his first courtroom appearance.

The defense is asking the attorney general's office to produce a wide range of material, including witness statements. Defense lawyer Mark White said he will also seek hearings regarding the proceedings of the grand jury that indicted Hubbard.

  Ethics charges against House Speaker Mike Hubbard are becoming a campaign issue in the partisan battle for seats in the Alabama Legislature.

The Southern Progress Action Fund, an Arkansas group with deep Democratic Party ties, has begun airing ads featuring Hubbard's mug shot and urging voters to unseat incumbent Republicans.

Hubbard called the ads an attempt by an outside liberal group to influence Alabama elections.

The Alabama Legislature is almost certainly to remain majority Republican, but Democrats are seeking to regain some seats in swing districts.

legislature.state.al.us

Jurors have found Republican Rep. Barry Moore of Enterprise not guilty of charges of perjury and giving false information.

Prosecutors had accused Republican Rep. Barry Moore of lying to a grand jury about comments he made to his 2014 primary opponent.

Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis said Moore told his 2014 primary opponent that the house speaker would withhold economic development funds unless he withdrew from the race. Moore later denied relaying the threat when he testified to grand jury.

Jurors have begun deliberations in the perjury trial of an Enterprise lawmaker.

Prosecutors in closing arguments on Wednesday described Rep. Barry Moore as a scheming liar, while defense lawyers said he was being unfairly accused.

Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis says Moore tried to bully his primary opponent to get out of the race by saying the House speaker would withhold economic development funds for a project in their district. Davis said Moore then lied about it before a grand jury.

Prosecutors in the perjury trial of Republican Rep. Barry Moore played tape recordings of Moore and his primary opponent discussing if state funds would be in jeopardy if he ran against Moore.

On one tape Tuesday, former primary candidate Josh Pipkin asked Moore if the Enterprise area would lose state money for a jobs projects if he stayed in the race.

A deputy attorney general has been put on leave following accusations that he leaked information about an ongoing public corruption probe.

A prosecutor says that Deputy Attorney General Sonny Reagan was placed on administrative leave on Thursday by Attorney General Luther Strange.

Van Davis, the acting attorney general in the corruption probe, says Reagan for months had undisclosed communications with individuals affiliated with people indicted, or under investigation, by a Lee County grand jury. Davis says Reagan also took steps to obstruct the investigation.

Alabama campaign finance records show that Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard has used campaign funds to pay more than $230,000 in legal fees since December.

Records show that Hubbard has paid a total of $176,475 to the Birmingham law firm of White, Arnold and Dowd, and $55,000 to the Pell City law firm of Trussell, Funderburg, Rea and Bell.

The payments began in December, and Hubbard's campaign reported paying $10,000 to the Pell City firm in August.

State law allows the use of campaign funds for legal expenses under certain circumstances.

legislature.state.al.us

A judge in Opelika has refused to dismiss charges against Republican Rep. Barry Moore and he has released a document related to a public corruption investigation that includes the name of House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Circuit Judge Jacob Walker denied a request Friday from Moore's defense lawyer to dismiss perjury and false statements charges brought against him in the corruption investigation in Lee County.

A decade-old old broadcasting contract at Auburn University is taking center stage in a new campaign ad.

Auburn University's former lobbyist appears in the television spot accusing Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard of getting confidential information to win the college's broadcasting contract more than a decade ago.

Lobbyist Buddy Mitchell says he gave Hubbard copies of the proposals to broadcast Auburn sporting events. Mitchell says that enabled Hubbard to undercut his competitors and win the 2002 contract.

Alabama House of Representatives

House Speaker Mike Hubbard is praising the U.S. Supreme Court decision that says prayers at the opening of town council meetings don't violate the Constitution.

Hubbard filed a friend of the court brief in the case that was decided by the Supreme Court 5-4 on Monday. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the prayers used by the town council in Greece, New York, are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation's traditions.

  Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard says he never tried to insert language into the state budget to help direct business to a company that had ties to his own.

Hubbard's comments come in the wake of Rep. Greg Wren's resignation and guilty plea Tuesday to an ethics violation.

Wren admitted trying to put language into the state budget to help American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. of Bessemer get state Medicaid business. Wren's plea agreement says Hubbard supported the language and directed it be added to the budget.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A new study ranks Alabama 44th among the states in long-range budgeting.

The study was released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington. It says Alabama needs to look beyond one-year budgets and consider multi-year revenue forecasts and the costs of programs over several years. The report complimented Alabama for having adequate pension funding, a Legislative Fiscal Office to analyze spending, and a well-designed rainy day fund.

Alabama.gov

Alabama House Republicans are pushing for the expansion of a program that lets high school students take job training classes at two-year colleges.

Students already can enroll in classes like welding and aviation mechanics while completing their high school studies.

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard says expanding the program will boost the number of skilled workers in the state.

The proposed legislation would create a $10 million scholarship program to expand the state's current dual enrollment program.

Garry Knight / Flickr

The Democratic leader in the Alabama House is calling for the Legislature to use its election-year session to approve a state lottery.

House Minority Leader Craig Ford of Gadsden says a lottery could create as much as $250 million annually for schools. He says many Alabamians are playing lotteries in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, and he wants to keep their money at home.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says he's assured the governor that the Legislature will make sure Alabama is competitive for the Boeing 777X aircraft assembly plant.

The Republican leader from Auburn said Thursday that he and Gov. Robert Bentley have had discussions about Boeing and have gone over different scenarios about what the Legislature could do to help.

Hubbard says he told the governor that legislators will do everything in their power to land the Boeing project.

Alabama's offer to Being is due Tuesday. Several other states are competing for the project.

RNC

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says the agenda for the House Republican Caucus in 2014 will continue the GOP's record of changing the status quo, and it will include several measures affecting taxpayers.

The House Republican Caucus unveiled what it is calling its "Common Sense Conservative" agenda Thursday.

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