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2 weeks ago

7 Things: Trump butts heads with Republicans/Intel Community, Terri Sewell claims Republicans are coming after Social Security, Roy Moore sees a ‘plot’ to defeat him and more …

7. Former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore says the 2017 special U.S. Senate election was stolen

— Moore appeared on a Christian radio show where he made comments about his loss to now-Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL). He made it clear he believes he was a victim of a conspiracy to tarnish his reputation, saying, “I have no doubt this influenced the campaign. And to say it didn’t would contradict even the report that came out on Project Birmingham. It’s no coincidence this Project Birmingham originated as early as September 2017 before the false allegations came up. I think it was all a plan. I think it was all a plot.”

6. State Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence) filed a bill to allow Biblical literacy as an elective

— Melson’s bill would allow students in grades six to 12 to choose to study the subject and would require the Alabama Board of Education to implement any curriculum. The bill’s premise has the support of President Donald Trump. It is patterned on a bill out of Kentucky and has the support of Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), who said, “If students choose to study Biblical literacy as an elective in school, then there is no reason why that should not be allowed”.

5. New Yorkers are shocked that an increased minimum wage increases their prices and costs jobs; An Alabama has court stopped an attempt to challenge an Alabama law that keeps cities from raising the minimum wage 

— A survey found that 87 percent of restaurants in New York are planning on increasing the menu prices of food items. The U.S. Labor Department found that restaurants in December raised prices more than they have since 2011 to deal with these increases, while 75 percent of full-service restaurants are cutting hours in response to the wage increase. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall praised the decision halting a review of the state’s laws on the grounds that it was racist because Birmingham is majority-black and the legislature is majority-white.

4. Virginia is the latest state to head full-bore to abortion on demand up until birth; The “unviable fetus” claims are fake news

— Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) answered a question that has stirred up a lot of emotion when he told her that a child that is born could be terminated after the fact. He argued, “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” The governor claims he was taken out of context, but that is hard to argue when the sponsor of the bill acknowledged that a baby could be aborted up until the moment it is delivered. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) has made it clear he views this as a matter of “choice.”

3. AL.com hasn’t reported on former ALEA head Spencer Collier’s car accident, and its role in the Bentley saga; Now it has been reported their columnist John Archibald was in his car that day

— Collier’s car accident is mentioned in court documents about his case with former Governor Robert Bentley, but one piece of the story seems to be missing — in all of the coverage by the state media, there is no mention of Archibald being in the car with Collier that day. According to Alabama Today, Bentley “attempted to subpoena the toxicology results and “any and all communications related to your investigation into Collier’s car accident… including without limitation any internal communications” as part of his lawsuit with Collier.

2. Representative Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) thinks tax cuts were a plot to cut Social Security; Even though a recent CBO report shows they increased revenue, the real danger is out of control spending

— Without evidence, Sewell is sounding the alarm that Social Security cuts are coming because of tax cuts and they were doing so to “lay the groundwork for cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security,” which did not happen. Sewell ignores, or doesn’t know, that a CBO report shows tax cuts are not driving the rising deficit but out of control spending is. In fact, while revenue from tax cuts is rising as a percentage of GDP, spending will exceed its historical average in every year through the next decade.

1. Trump criticizes intelligence agencies; His fellow Republicans criticize his moves in Afghanistan and Syria

— These disagreements with his intelligence chiefs stem from Trump’s assertions that Iran, which they say isn’t pursuing nukes, is a major threat and that he has Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan and ISIS under control. Many normal Trump allies in the Republican Party are now pushing back on Afghanistan and Syria withdrawal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) offering up a resolution that disagrees with the president’s plans to get out of Middle East hotspots.

1 hour ago

Auburn Police officer shot in the line of duty

An Auburn Police Department officer was shot in the line of duty Friday evening.

Sources reportedly confirmed the shooting to WVTM. The condition of the officer was not immediately known.

The shooting occurred at the Dollar General near Niffer’s Place off of Opelika Road.

WSFA was on the scene live in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, which resulted in a massive police presence. The suspect is believed to still be at-large, with a “manhunt” underway.

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This comes after Birmingham Police Department Sgt. Wytasha Carter and Mobile Police Department Officer Sean Tuder were shot and killed in the line of duty in recent weeks.

This is breaking news and may be updated.

Update 8:00 p.m.:

WSFA posted a new live stream.

Update 8:15 p.m.:

Police administrators told reporters the incident occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. as the officer pulled the suspect’s vehicle over responding to an armed robbery call. The officer was talking and alert when he left the scene. More on his condition was not released by law enforcement on the scene. The officer was shot “multiple” times. His name has also not been released.

The suspect is Christopher James Wallace. He is 38 years old. A female was in the vehicle with Wallace at the time of the shooting. Her name is not being released at this time.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Del Marsh on Trump declaration: ‘It is an emergency — It is about protecting this country’

Alabama Senate leader Del Marsh (R-Anniston) voiced his support for President Donald Trump’s latest action on border security while blaming Democrats for their inability to fix the long-standing issue.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, Marsh said he supports Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency along the Mexican border.

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Marsh explained that the urgency of the threat made it necessary.

“It is an emergency,” Marsh stated. “It is about protecting this country. That’s where the threat is. The threat is the southern border. All our borders should be secure. But the threat right now is the southern border. No one can deny that.”

When asked where border security should rank among the country’s priorities, Marsh said border security should be number one.

And he expressed frustration at how policy-makers have approached the issue.

“I cannot for the life of me understand how people in Congress can put people who are not citizens of this country above our citizens’ welfare, and that’s what I see happening,” he remarked.

He cited a single reason why, in his mind, the issue of border security has gone on for so long without resolution.

“Politics,” Marsh declared.

Specifically, he believes Democrats view illegal immigration as providing a pool of potential new voters and that has threatened national security.

“They have put that above the safety of the citizens of this country,” he said. “Democrats are basically saying, ‘Don’t worry about a process. Come on! We’re your buddies!’”

Marsh also pointed out the fact that he has already filed a bill in the Alabama legislature to allow Alabamians to help build the wall.

The legislation would provide taxpayers the option of checking a box on their tax returns should they want to donate to We Build the Wall, Inc.

Marsh has already donated to the fund himself.

“It’s about sending a message to this president, President Trump, that we support him and by sending these dollars to build the wall, showing our support for him,” he explained. “I believe it and I think the people of Alabama believe that security is the most important thing, the most important issue at this point in time. We want to support the wall, and we want to see the wall built.”

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

2 hours ago

Alabama Supreme Court reinstates Alabama Memorial Preservation Act

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Friday that the Alabama Supreme Court has granted the state’s motion to stay a recent “[erroneous]” Jefferson County Circuit Court judgment that declared the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017 to be unconstitutional.

This means the law, which prohibits the removal and alteration of monuments more than 40 years old on public property, will still be in effect while the state appeals the decision. Marshall requested the stay three weeks ago.

“I am pleased that the Alabama Supreme Court has granted the State’s motion to stay the Circuit Court’s ruling,” the attorney general said in a statement. “We think that U.S. Supreme Court precedent clearly demonstrates that the Circuit Court erred in striking down the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. Thus, we asked the Alabama Supreme Court to preserve the status quo regarding the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Linn Park until the Court rules on our appeal.”

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It was reported that the City of Birmingham was considering removing the monument at the center of the controversy after the law was struck down. The Sailors Monument has been covered by a large black wall since August 2017, near the end of former Mayor William Bell’s tenure.

“The Supreme Court’s stay allows the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act to remain in effect until the Supreme Court resolves this appeal over the Act’s constitutionality. We continue to hold that the Circuit Court erred when it ruled that the U.S. Constitution grants cities free speech rights that they can enforce against the State,” Marshall added. “For more than a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has held just the opposite, recognizing that ‘a political subdivision, created by the state for the better ordering of government, has no privileges or immunities under the federal constitution which it may invoke in opposition to the will of its creator.’ We look forward to presenting these arguments to the Alabama Supreme Court.”

The Supreme Court’s order Friday also stayed the accrual of any financial penalties under the law.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 hours ago

David Cole departs Alabama Farmers Federation for BCA

The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is adding another star to its governmental affairs team.

Shortly after breaking BCA’s hiring of Molly Cagle from Manufacture Alabama, sources confirmed to Yellowhammer News that Alabama Farmers Federation Director of State Affairs David Cole is coming on board at the same time.

Cole, like Cagle, is joining BCA’s governmental affairs staff effective February 28, just in time for the March 5 start of the state legislative session. Most recently, Cole spearheaded the federation’s lobbying efforts in the Alabama House of Representatives.

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Sources confirmed to Yellowhammer News Friday that federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan sent out an email announcing Cole’s departure and thanking him for his commitment to Alabama agriculture — the state’s biggest industry. Pinyan also outlined how the staff would be moved around in response to Cole leaving.

Director of External Affairs Matthew Durdin – and his staff members, Director of Agricultural Legislation Preston Roberts and administrative assistant Jessica Mims – will now be involved in some state governmental affairs work. Former Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman, who has been working as a political consultant for the federation, will now add governmental affairs work on contract.

An official announcement with details of the federation’s staff changes is expected to be released in the coming week.

Update, 6:15 p.m.:

BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt announced the two major additions in an internal email sent out to the business council’s leadership Friday evening. Britt took the reigns of BCA January 2. Cagle and Cole are her first hires.

The email detailed that Cole is being named senior vice president of governmental affairs and Cagle vice president of governmental affairs.

“These two additions to our team position the BCA to serve our members and advocate effectively on behalf of the business community,” Britt wrote.

Mark Colson, who most recently filled in as BCA’s interim president after serving as chief of staff and senior vice president for governmental affairs, will continue to serve the organization in his new role as senior advisor through the transition period.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

Molly Cagle joining BCA from Manufacture Alabama

One of Alabama’s rising stars in the governmental affairs world is on the move.

Sources confirmed to Yellowhammer News Friday that Manufacture Alabama (MA) Director of External Affairs Molly Cagle has accepted a governmental affairs position with the Business Council of Alabama (BCA). While an exact title has yet to be released, Cagle is expected to bolster BCA’s legislative affairs team.

The hire marks the first in BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt’s tenure. She was hired by the organization’s executive committee in December and took office January 2.

Cagle’s last day at MA is February 20, according to an email from her to the association’s membership obtained by Yellowhammer News.

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“My time at Manufacture Alabama over the last four and a half years has been incredibly rewarding. The friendships, lessons, and advice are things that I cherish and will take with me throughout my career,” she wrote.

Cagle comes to BCA with an impressive track record in legislative work, including past service as the Senate Liaison for Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh. She received her bachelor’s in Political Science, with a minor in Broadcast Journalism, from Troy University.

Named to Yellowhammer Multimedia’s “Power and Influence: Who’s Next?” list for 2018, Cagle will be a major addition to BCA as the organization refocuses on its pro-jobs mission of “making a sweet home for business” in Alabama.

Cagle’s email noted, “As I prepare to take on my new role, I want to assure everyone that the staff at Manufacture Alabama has taken the steps to make my departure as seamless as possible. A special thank you to George Clark for his guidance and support not only over the last several years but also throughout this process.”

The state legislative session begins March 5.

As of Friday at 2:30 p.m., BCA had taken down its online staff directory. An official announcement of the hire is expected in the coming days.

Update, 6:15 p.m.:

Cagle is being named BCA’s vice president of governmental affairs.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn