Alabama Auditor Jim Zeigler is opposing a November ballot measure that clarifies the threshold to oust an impeached public official.

Amendment 6 specifies that a two-thirds vote of the Alabama Senate is required to remove an impeached public official.

Zeigler says the change would make it almost impossible to remove Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. Zeigler called it the "Get Out of Impeachment Free Card."

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.

The Alabama Senate has begun debate on a revamped lottery bill that would allow electronic gambling machines in more locations.  Senators expect to vote sometime this evening.

The bill was altered to allow electronic lottery terminals, which can resemble slot machines and video poker games, in Lowndes and Houston counties, in addition to four state dog tracks.

Gas tax, lottery bills dead as legislature nears end

Apr 30, 2016

Lawmakers return to Montgomery on Tuesday for the two days of the 2016 legislative session. Legislators have a number of high-profile bills left to consider before sine die, but many noteworthy bills have already met the chopping block. Though Gov. Robert Bentley in March said he thought Alabama voters would overwhelmingly approve a state lottery if given the chance. A variety of lottery and gambling legislation failed to gain traction during the 2016 session. 

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he is not responding to the state auditor's order to testify before him.

Bentley issued the statement today, a day after State Auditor Jim Zeigler ordered Bentley to appear before him to answer questions about the use of state funds and his relationship with a former staffer.

Bentley says the appropriate legal process was through the Alabama Ethics Commission where Zeigler has already filed a complaint.  The governor said he is cooperating fully with the commission.

A top political aide to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is stepping down. Rebekah Mason’s departure follows an admission by Bentley that he made inappropriate remarks. The governor denies the two ever had an affair.

Mason announced her resignation in a statement sent by the governor's office. She says she would no longer be his senior political adviser and would no longer be paid by his campaign fund.

The National League of Women’s Voters launched a website that is a “one-stop-shop” for voting information ahead of Alabama’s presidential primary.  Vote 4-1-1-dot-org provides nonpartisan information to the public with both general and state-specific information.

Kathryn Berg is First Vice President of the league of women’s voters of Alabama. She says the website sorts out the differences between partisan primary votes and the general election for President…

The Alabama House is debating on proposed legislation that would prevent cities from setting local minimum wages.

The Republican-backed bill is on the legislative fast track as the city of Birmingham seeks to expedite a minimum wage increase approved last year for all workers within the city limits.

Birmingham leaders sought to raise the city's hourly minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017 and planned to begin with an $8.25 minimum wage March 1.

A judge has rescheduled a hearing on indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard's request to dismiss ethics charges against him.  Circuit Judge Jacob Walker delayed the hearing until Feb. 16 because of a scheduling conflict.

Hubbard is alleging prosecutorial misconduct after a political consultant says he communicated often with the lead prosecutor and used the information to try to damage Hubbard politically.

District 80 of the Alabama House has a new representative.

Chris Blackshear won the special election after earning more than 1,650 votes in a special election over challengers James McGill and Tommy Pugh.

The Special Election was held earlier this month after the death Lesley Vance in November of last year.

Blackshear claims the seat due to no democratic candidate challenging him for the position.  He will be sworn in on April 13th in Montgomery.

Young seeks rematch against Byrne in congressional race

Nov 8, 2015

Political firebrand Dean Young is seeking a rematch against Rep. Bradley Byrne for the south Alabama congressional seat.

Young  filed papers with the Alabama Republican Party Friday to run against Byrne in next year's GOP primary.

Bryne defeated Young in 2013 for the then open seat. The race drew national attention as an illustration of the internal GOP divide.

Byrne is a former state senator and two-year college chancellor. Young is perhaps best known as a former adviser to Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

The two Alabama Senate budget chairmen are swapping committees for the upcoming session.

Sen. Trip Pittman of Montrose will head the general fund budget committee. Sen Arthur Orr of Decatur will take over as Education Trust Fund budget chairman.

The Senate Committee on Assignments announced the change on Friday.

Orr says he believes it is healthy to have fresh eyes on the state budgets. Pittman says he is looking forward to a new challenge.

The Alabama Ethics Commission have released an opinion on  the idea of public employees being paid by outside sources.

Commissioners say the arrangements are presumed to be in conflict with the underlying principles of state ethics law. Commissioners say they will only approve such arrangements on a case-by case basis made through formal opinion requests.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Albritton says the opinion process will bring the arrangements into the open and allow public scrutiny.

The fallout continues from Alabama’s new general fund budget. APR student reporter Taylor Swinney reports the fiscal year has just begun and the impact is now being felt…

Alabama’s Law Enforcement Agency says there will be fewer State troopers on the road to help out with major events like Mardi Gras and races at Talladega. The department is facing a budget cut of eleven million dollars.

A judge has set a hearing on House Speaker Mike Hubbard's claims of prosecutorial misconduct and argument that the ethics law is unconstitutional.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker says the hearing is on October 26.  Walker says for Hubbard to prevail, he must prove misconduct that substantially impacted a grand jury's decision to indict Hubbard.

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

Former Alabama first lady Dianne Bentley says she's "doing fine" days after her divorce from Gov. Robert Bentley.

Dianne Bentley filed for divorce from the governor in late August, citing an irretrievable breakdown.  A judge officially ended their 50-year marriage Tuesday.

The former first lady says God is helping her, and expressed thanks for prayers. She says she still wants to represent the state "as a lady" even though she isn't first lady anymore.

Republican Representative Phil Williams of Huntsville says he is challenging Mike Hubbard to be speaker of the House, saying he, and others, believe the House needs fresh leadership.

A letter to house members come as several Republican legislators called for Hubbard to step down as he heads to trial on ethics charges.

Williams shares a sentiment that the House can't operate effectively with current leadership.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says it is pulling examiners out of 31 part-time satellite driver’s license offices because of budget cuts.

The agency made the announcement today. The examiners currently travel to the locations during some days of the week.

The agency said the change will save money on travel costs.

Secretary Spencer Collier says the impact on citizens will be lessened because of online renewals and other options.

Alabama's Water War and Politics

Sep 28, 2015

All year long on Alabama Public Radio, we’re been looking at water. In other words, we’ve been examining the condition of our water supply and the health of our rivers.   Politics is playing a big role in the state of our water, not only in Alabama but some of the surrounding states.  This has led to a new approach to manage water and help people who been hurt in the water war.

It’s 5:30 in the morning at the East Point Working Waterfront in Apalachicola, Florida. 

State agencies reviewing impact of cuts, level funding

Sep 27, 2015

Many state departments will be making do with less money when the fiscal year begins on Thursday.

Yet some state agency chiefs are remaining silent on what, if any, program reductions will be required.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley says the governor and finance director are reviewing spending plans. She said they do not yet know of any specific impact on services and agencies.

Last week, lawmakers approved a general fund budget deal designed to shield critical state agencies.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says lawmakers encroached on the powers of the executive branch with budget bill language dictating how state agencies should spend money.

The governor is asking the Alabama Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of budget language giving state agencies limitations as they deal with funding reductions.

It’s one week to go before Alabama’s new state budget goes into effect. APR’s Pat Duggins reports, big cuts might be coming despite tax increases…

Alabama lawmakers cobbled together a spending and taxation package of about one hundred and sixty six million dollars. That’s short of the two hundred million dollar budgetary shortfall Governor Robert Bentley was predicting during the budget debate.

Alabama Lawmakers are heading back to the hill after the long weekend. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold has more…

Governor Robert Bentley is calling a special session next week to try once again to pass a state budget.

The governor announced that he is bringing lawmakers back to Montgomery on September 8th.

The second special session is needed after the regular session and a first special session ended in a stalemate over proposed solutions to a projected general fund budget shortfall.

Officials say closures of state parks are among the potential impacts of proposed budget cuts to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Department leaders and others met at Oak Mountain State Park today.  State Parks Director Greg Lein says additional cuts could be devastating and officials want lawmakers to preserve the department's funding. Lein says the parks system's emergency and reserve funds are depleted.

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.

Six Hundred and fifty new jobs are coming to Tuscaloosa County.

Governor Robert Bentley announced that Samvardhana Motherson Group plans to build a new $150 million automotive supplier plant in the area.

The new 700,000 square foott facility in Tuscaloosa will produce painted bumpers, rocker panels, spoilers, interior door panels and other parts. This plant will supply Mercedes Benz U.S. International plant in Vance.

Governor Robert Bentley is endorsing Ohio Governor John Kasich for the Republican presidential nomination. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold has more…

Governor Kasich joined Bentley at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham. Governor Bentley says Kasich has the executive level experience and background necessary to lead.  Bentley called Kasich to offer his support after seeing him in a recent debate.

(Updated @ 1:11 pm ET)

As deeply as the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., shocked the national conscience, they also quickly affected the U.S. political scene, with both major party presidential campaigns ripping up their scripts for Friday, and the mayor of the nation's largest city using the issue to put the candidates on the spot on gun control.

Six Policies Economists Love (And Politicians Hate)

Jul 19, 2012

Tuesday's show presented the common-sense, no-nonsense Planet Money economic plan — backed by economists of all stripes, but probably toxic to any candidate that might endorse it.

You can still listen to the show, but we've had some requests for a post with our six-step plan spelled out in brief.

So here they are, along with a few words about each of the economists who helped craft it:

Current Program Headlines

Jun 21, 2012