Montgomery

Alabama’s Legislature is once again scrambling to find additional funding in a special session.

Governor Robert Bentley reconvened the House and Senate in order to find new revenue for Medicaid, infrastructure, and state debt repayment. One of the most popular approaches seems to be constitutional amendment to establish a state lottery to direct revenue into Alabama’s General Fund budget. Several legislators are pushing their own versions of lottery bills, many of which include other forms of gambling as well.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s Senate and House of Representatives are back in Montgomery once again to try and find a solution to the state’s budget woes.

Governor Robert Bentley called the special session of the state’s legislature to find funding for Medicaid, infrastructure and state debt repayment. One of the most popular plans is to amend the state constitution to set up a lottery, with revenue directed into Alabama’s ailing General Fund.

The Republican National Convention is underway in Cleveland Ohio and members of the Alabama GOP are set to cast their ballots.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump will be formally introduced as the Republican choice for president and will be joined by several key speakers. Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions spoke last night.

Alabama GOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan says that the state is expected to be represented by fifty delegates and hopes to show that conservative policy is needed back in the White House…

A U.S. Representative from Alabama says the Obama administration is dropping a plan to possibly house migrant children in Baldwin County and in Montgomery.

Rep. Bradley Byrne issued a statement yesterday saying he recently learned the Department of Health and Human Services won't pursue two rural, military airfields in Baldwin County as shelters for migrant children who are currently in the country without their parents.

An email released by Byrne’s office says the government also is dropping the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force complex in Montgomery from consideration.

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's fate will soon be in the hands of a jury.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers have begun closing arguments this afternoon in Hubbard's ethics trial. They are expected to finish Friday morning.

The arguments will cap nearly three weeks of trial that included testimony from the current and past governor. Hubbard testified in his own defense, rebutting assertions that the contracts and investments his companies stemmed from his political sway.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley files a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier.

Bentley's attorneys say in the motion filed today that claims Collier makes in his complaint are vague and should be dismissed or clarified.

Bentley fired Collier in March and said an internal review found possible misuse of state funds within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Freedom Rides bus
National Civil Rights Museum

The Alabama Historical Commission is commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Freedom Rides today in Montgomery.

In 1961, a group of largely black students pledged to ride interstate buses through the Southeast to protest the lack of enforcement of bus desegregation laws.

A Montgomery man was killed in a crash Saturday night at the Selma Motorsports Park, according to local officials.

33-year-old Darren Dwayne Bryant of Montgomery was driving a pickup truck on the track Saturday night at approximately 8 p.m. when the truck was rear-ended by another vehicle. The truck veered into another lane and then overturned. Bryant died as he was being transported to a local hospital.

Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson says the Dallas County Sheriff's Department is treating the event as an accident.

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.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's former law enforcement secretary is suing his former boss, claiming he was wrongly fired.

Spencer Collier, who the day after his firing accused Bentley of having an affair with an adviser, filed the lawsuit today in Montgomery.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include the governor and the former adviser, Rebekah Mason.

Montgomery city officials are planning their own investigation of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold reports the decision was made after complaints from the officer's colleagues…

Mayor Todd Strange told The Montgomery Advertiser that officers are unhappy, concerned and upset over the arrest of Officer Aaron Smith.

A group of fast food workers and others are traveling from Huntsville to Montgomery for a rally in support of local control of minimum wages.

Workers will be joined by clergy, community supporters, and elected officials. The group will be meeting this morning at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham before holding a rally at the state Capitol in Montgomery at 1 PM.

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.

Two Alabama cities are hoping for the return of a pair of hometown Marines who are among the dozen people missing after two helicopters crashed off the coast of Hawaii.

Yellow ribbons are going up for Marine Sgt. William Josh Turner in his hometown of Florala near the Florida line. He’s a 2009 graduate of Florala High School, where workers remember him as a good student and baseball player.

Counselor Joea (JO uh) McNeil says Turner always wanted to be a Marine.

The University of Alabama Systems' chancellor is spearheading a coalition from kindergarten to four-year institution leaders to advocate the state's education system.

The Alabama Unites for Education coalition launched last week to protect the state's education budget. The Tuscaloosa News reports the group includes the leadership of the University of Alabama System, the Alabama Community College System, and the Alabama Department of Education as well as the presidents of UA’s three campuses and Auburn University.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was in Alabama today to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott. 

Clinton stood in the pulpit where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led the boycott, saying the U.S. is still plagued by injustices such as mass incarceration, an epidemic of gun violence and attempts to roll back voting rights.

The family of a woman who was killed in an explosion at the Ultratec pyrotechnics factory in north Alabama has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Reports indicate the family of Virginia Marie Sanderson filed the lawsuit yesterday. The family is seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the company. Sanderson was one of two employees killed in February's explosion at the Owens Cross Roads facility just south of Huntsville.

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.

Todd Strange has been re-elected to serve his third term as the mayor of Montgomery.

In the capital city’s mayoral election yesterday, Strange carried 56 percent of the vote. Former U.S. Congressman Artur Davis finished at a distant 27 percent after reportedly spending over $600,000 of his own money on his campaign.

Davis said in his concession speech that he still intends to be the next mayor of Montgomery, it just may be four years later than he had hoped.

Federal judges want lawyers for black lawmakers to come up with their own map for redrawing Alabama's legislative districts.

The request came Tuesday in Montgomery during a hearing over the new voting lines.

Lawyers for black legislators contend Republicans illegally sorted voters by race when they drew new district lines.

The three-judge panel put tough questions to both sides during two hours of arguments.

The fight over political redistricting in Alabama is headed back to federal court.

A three-judge panel will hear arguments later today in Montgomery over whether legislators relied too much on race when they drew legislative district lines.

Alabama education professionals are attending this week’s MEGA Conference in Mobile.

Over 2000 individuals preregistered for the event including teachers, administrators, and school nurses. The conference provides professional learning opportunities to help educators enhance their job skills. It's also a chance to build skills to work with students in the classroom. The conference runs until Friday at noon.

The United States Supreme Court says same sex marriages are legal nationwide, but marriage licenses aren't going out yet in Tuscaloosa County.

Dozens of activists gathered outside the County Courthouse to celebrate the decision. But inside the courthouse, clerks had no plans to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Hardy McCollum says he's following the law...

The United States Supreme Court upheld a ruling yesterday declaring that tax subsidies for health care from the federal government are constitutional.

In Alabama, that’s good news for more than 130,000 people that purchased insurance through the Affordable Care Act. In most cases, the federal tax breaks on those plans were what made them affordable enough to purchase.

The TVA’s Widows Creek power plant near Stevenson is shutting down soon, and it’s already found a new tenant.

Google plans to build a $600 million data center at the site with construction beginning next year.

The data center will be Google’s seventh in the U.S. and fourteenth worldwide. They expect to add 75 to 100 high-paying jobs to the north Alabama region once the new data center is operational. The facility is expected to support general Internet traffic as well as the many user services that Google offers.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard is urging the Alabama Senate to approve an austere budget before addressing any short- or long-term revenue bills.

Hubbard said Thursday taking action too quickly could have "unintended consequences."

The House passed the state's general fund budget with $200 million in cuts earlier this month.

Gov. Robert Bentley sought $541 million in new taxes this year and has threatened to veto any budget that includes cuts to the state's $1.88 billion budget.

Alabama workers are facing layoffs at the state’s Blue Bell Creameries facilities and at Walter Energy.

Blue Bell is trimming its workforce nationally due to the temporary closure over listeria concerns. Over 250 Blue Bell employees in the state will be temporarily furloughed, with another 45 losing their jobs entirely. Blue Bell recently stated that they’ll be cutting a third of their workforce nationwide.

President Barack Obama will be in Birmingham this afternoon to talk about the economy.

The President will be speaking at Lawson State Community College on consumer protection issues and the contrast between his vision for the American middle class and Republican efforts to undermine that vision.

According to a White House press release, Congressional Republicans are continuing to roll back progress toward a safer financial system and stronger economy, encouraging the types of abuses that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

www.lbjlibrary.org

  The daughters of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and Governor George Wallace will meet with Governor Robert Bentley today. It’s all part of a ceremony to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march.    It was on this date in 1965 that Dr. King led the procession to Alabama’s State Capitol. APR spoke with Bernice** King during the remembrance of “bloody Sunday” in Selma.

She says voting rights are being challenged in the U.S. and the fight has to go on.

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”.

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