Kay Ivey

debate
WTVM-TV

The leading Democratic contenders for governor spent much — but not all — of their time agreeing with one another in a debate Wednesday night.

Former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and former state legislator James Fields appeared in the debate hosted by WVTM in Birmingham Wednesday night.

Huffman police
Brynn Anderson / AP

One of the largest schools in Birmingham is closed today after metal detectors and other security measures failed to prevent a 17-year-old student from being fatally shot and another wounded in an apparent accident.

Investigators are reviewing surveillance video and interviewing students and staff to try to figure out exactly what led to the shooting at Huffman High School yesterday at dismissal time.

Birmingham Interim Police Chief Orlando Wilson says “We consider it accidental until the investigation takes us elsewhere. We have a lot of unanswered questions.”

State officials are looking to impose a work requirement on a small number of Medicaid recipients.

Governor Kay Ivey’s office says the state will seek permission from the federal government to make that change to its Medicaid program. The proposal will only impact able-bodied parents of children under 19 who qualify for Medicaid because their family income is at or below 18 percent of the federal poverty level. That’s about $247 a month for a family of two.

State Senator Slade Blackwell has dropped out of the race for Alabama governor, shortly after having announced his surprise candidacy.

Alabama Republican Party spokesperson Katie Lansford says Blackwell withdrew from the race yesterday. He had initially planned to run for another term in his Mountain Brook senate district, but signed up to run for governor just before the qualifying deadline on Friday instead.

Five school systems in north Alabama with about 25,000 students total are canceling classes because of high incidences of the flu.

The city school systems in Albertville, Boaz and Guntersville have joined the Cullman County and Marshall County systems in shutting down until next week.

State statistics show Marshall County is the largest system affected by the illness with 5,468 students enrolled in kindergarten through the 12th grade. Marshall County does not plan to resume classes until Tuesday; the other four systems plan to return to class on Monday.

Gov. Kay Ivey says U.S. Congress' inability to fund the federal government will not have an impact on delivering state services.

Ivey joined Alabama's Congressional Republicans to criticize Senate Democrats for the government shutdown, which took effect after the Senate rejected a continuing resolution to keep the federal government operating last Friday.

Agencies shut down for the first time in more than four years after senators rejected a temporary spending patch. Bipartisan efforts to find an alternative fell short as a midnight deadline came and went.

Alabama's unemployment rate is holding steady at a record low level.

Gov. Kay Ivey's office says the state's jobless rate was 3.5 percent last month. That's the same as November, when the state matched its all-time low for unemployment.

Ivey's office says the December rate means nearly 2.1 million people were employed overall in the state. That's the most ever, surpassing the December number by about 45,000 residents.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is clashing with some state lawmakers over a proposal to significantly alter the position of lieutenant governor.

Republican Sen. Gerald Dial is proposing legislation that would strip the lieutenant governor of any legislative duties, so that they would no longer preside over the Alabama Senate. The sole function of the post would be to succeed the governor in the event of his or her death, removal or resignation.

Rather than the lieutenant governor, the Senate would elect a sitting senator as presiding officer.

Troy is about to see a big economic boost with more than 350 new jobs coming to the city after a leading firearms maker announced it will soon build a facility there.

Gov. Kay Ivey's office confirmed yesterday that Kimber Manufacturing, based in Yonkers, New York, will invest $38 million over the next five years. The facility should be up and running by early 2019. Ivey says Kimber's investment in Troy will create a significant number of high-paying design engineering and manufacturing jobs.

The state of Alabama has received a $1.5 million grant to help expand a program aimed at strengthening early childhood education across the state.

Governor Kay Ivey’s office says the grant comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and will help expand Alabama’s Pre-K through Third Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning. WSFA-TV reports that program is the first pillar of Ivey’s new education initiative, Strong Start, Strong Finish.

Governor Kay Ivey has issued a state of emergency for Alabama ahead of Tropical Storm Nate.

Nate is expected to reach the northern Gulf Coast over the weekend as a hurricane when it makes landfall Sunday morning somewhere between southeast Louisiana and the Florida peninsula. In Alabama, meteorologists predict winds of 75 miles per hour and gusts of up to 90 miles per hour near the coast. Sustained winds of 45 miles per hour with gusts up to 60 miles per hour are forecast as far north as Birmingham and Gadsden.

The deadline is looming for Alabama’s correctional officials to tell a federal judge how they plan to overhaul mental health care in state prisons.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has scheduled a status conference for September 7 to get an update on the mediation between the state of Alabama and lawyers representing Alabama inmates.

The Alabama Board of Education could vote as soon as next month on whether to dismiss state Superintendent Michael Sentance.

Board member Jeff Newman tells the Associated Press several of the board’s members want to discuss Sentance’s contract at next month’s meeting. Newman says that could include a vote on whether to dismiss Sentance, the school reformer they hired just a year ago to lead Alabama’s public schools.

The board recently gave Sentance low marks on a performance evaluation. Sentance responded that he is proud of his work and hopes to continue in the role.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey appears closer to announcing an upcoming run for governor after filing paperwork to create a campaign organization.

Earlier this week, Ivey filed paperwork with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill's office to reserve the name "Kay Ivey for Governor Inc." for a nonprofit organization. Ivey spokesman Daniel Sparkman says Ivey is seriously considering running in 2018 and is "taking the steps necessary to be successful."

The state of Alabama is working with other states to try and improve cybersecurity measures.

Governor Kay Ivey announced yesterday that she has signed onto a multi-state “Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity” that was agreed upon at this year’s National Governors Association summer meeting.

The compact was signed by 38 governors across the country. It makes recommendations to better secure states’ online infrastructure by building better cybersecurity governance, preparing and defending the state from threats, and developing Alabama’s cybersecurity workforce.

Two new people are joining Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s cabinet.

Governor Ivey’s office says Jim Purcell has just been named the acting secretary of Information Technology, and Todd Cotton is now the acting commissioner of the Alabama Department of Senior Services.

Purcell has worked as the chief operations officer of the Alabama Office of Information Technology since last December. That position involves overseeing all the shared services offered by the agency across the state.

The Senate Leadership Fund is planning a $2.6 million television ad buy on behalf of Senator Luther Strange as the group seeks to ward off challengers for the Senate seat previously held by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The super political action committee, with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced the buy yesterday in a show of fiscal force leading up to the Aug. 15 Republican primary.

Senate Leadership Fund spokesman Chris Pack said the buy is just a fraction of what the group plans on spending to support Strange.

Emergency managers in Alabama are gearing up for the beginning of hurricane season next month.

The state of Alabama will hold its annual hurricane drill today. State officials including Governor Kay Ivey will gather in Clanton for the procedure.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency holds the exercise each year to practice its procedures and to ensure coordination between various local, state and federal agencies.

The race to more permanently fill the U.S. Senate Seat formerly held by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions is heating up. But one potential candidate is complaining that GOP officials are treating appointee Luther Strange as an incumbent, and discouraging challengers from running against him.

Supporters of an Alabama death row inmate are waiting to see what the state legislature does on the subject of judicial overrides before the end of this year’s lawmaking session, as the fate of a Covington County man could hang in the balance.

Governor Kay Ivey recently signed a bill into law that stops judges from sentencing future defendants to death after the jury recommends life in prison. State Senator Hank Sanders of Selma wants more. He wrote a bill that extends the ban retroactively to people already on death row due to a judicial override.

Alabama Confederate Monument
Wikimedia

State lawmakers are approaching a decision on whether to prevent changes to long-standing monuments in the state, including Confederate memorials.

The state House of Representatives is scheduled to vote later today on a bill that would forbid any alterations or removal of markers that have stood for more than 20 years.

Gov. Kay Ivey could sign the legislation into law if the House passes it. A spokeswoman says Ivey’s office will review the bill if it is approved.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

State lawmakers gave their final approval yesterday to a bill protecting faith-based adoption agencies that refuse to place children with gay parents, or in certain other households, due to their religious beliefs.

The bill would prohibit the state from refusing to license or do business with faith-based adoption groups that refuse placements on religious grounds. Supporters argue the measure is needed to make sure the groups can reasonably operate. Critics, such as the state’s only openly gay lawmaker, Rep. Patricia Todd, say it’s blatant discrimination.