11 months ago

Alabama Senate committee assignments announced

MONTGOMERY – Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Committee on Assignments announced the composition of the chamber’s standing committees for the 2019-2022 quadrennium.

In a press release, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) thanked the committee for their diligent work.

“I want to thank the Committee on Assignments for their work on these committees, they did a fantastic job of matching Senators with the committee that best takes advantage of their strengths and abilities,” Marsh said.

Committees will be composed as follows:

Committee on Rules

1. Jabo Waggoner (Chair)
2. Clay Scofield (Vice Chair)
3. Gerald Allen
4. Linda Coleman-Madison
5. Vivian Figures
6. Jimmy Holley
7. Steve Livingston
8. Jim McClendon
9. Tim Melson
10. Arthur Orr
11. Greg Reed
12. Rodger Smitherman

Committee on Finance & Taxation Education

1. Arthur Orr (Chair)
2. Tim Melson (Vice Chair)
3. Greg Albritton
4. Gerald Allen
5. Donnie Chesteen
6. Priscilla Dunn
7. Vivian Figures
8. Garlan Gudger
9. Jim McClendon
10. Clay Scofield
11. David Sessions
12. Bobby Singleton
13. Rodger Smitherman
14. Jabo Waggoner
15. Tom Whatley

Committee on Finance & Taxation General Fund

1. Greg Albritton (Chair)
2. Gerald Allen (Vice Chair)
3. Billy Beasley
4. Tom Butler
5. Clyde Chambliss
6. Linda Coleman-Madison
7. Jimmy Holley
8. Steve Livingston
9. Jim McClendon
10. Arthur Orr
11. Malika Sanders-Fortier
12. Larry Stutts
13. Jabo Waggoner
14. Cam Ward

Committee on Confirmations

1. Clay Scofield (Chair)
2. Jabo Waggoner (Vice Chair)
3. Gerald Allen
4. Will Barfoot
5. David Burkette
6. Vivian Figures
7. Sam Givhan
8. Andrew Jones
9. Greg Reed
10. David Sessions
11. Rodger Smitherman
12. Larry Stutts
13. Cam Ward
14. Tom Whatley
15. Jack Williams

Committee on Judiciary

1. Cam Ward (Chair)
2. Will Barfoot (Vice Chair)
3. Greg Albritton
4. Linda Coleman-Madison
5. Vivian Figures
6. Sam Givhan
7. Arthur Orr
8. Malika Sanders-Fortier
9. Bobby Singleton
10. Rodger Smitherman
11. Larry Stutts
12. Tom Whatley

Committee on Government Affairs

1. Jimmy Holley (Chair)
2. Chris Elliott (Vice Chair)
3. Greg Albritton
4. Clyde Chambliss
5. Linda Coleman-Madison
6. Sam Givhan
7. Garlan Gudger
8. Arthur Orr
9. Dan Roberts
10. Malika Sanders-Fortier
11. Shay Shelnutt

Committee on Education Policy

1. Tim Melson (Chair)
2. Donnie Chesteen (Vice Chair)
3. David Burkette
4. Tom Butler
5. Priscilla Dunn
6. Chris Elliott
7. Vivian Figures
8. Jim McClendon
9. Randy Price
10. Shay Shelnutt

Committee on Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry

1. Tom Whatley (Chair)
2. David Sessions (Vice Chair)
3. Billy Beasley
4. Chris Elliott
5. Garlan Gudger
6. Andrew Jones
7. Steve Livingston
8. Tim Melson
9. Randy Price
10. Clay Scofield
11. Bobby Singleton
12. Larry Stutts
13. Jack Williams

Committee on Banking & Insurance

1. Shay Shelnutt (Chair)
2. Jack Williams (Vice Chair)
3. Will Barfoot
4. David Burkette
5. Donnie Chesteen
6. Chris Elliott
7. Andrew Jones
8. Steve Livingston
9. Randy Price
10. Dan Roberts
11. Clay Scofield
12. Bobby Singleton
13. Rodger Smitherman
14. Jabo Waggoner
15. Tom Whatley

Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development

1. Steve Livingston (Chair)
2. Garlan Gudger (Vice Chair)
3. Will Barfoot
4. Tom Butler
5. Clyde Chambliss
6. Priscilla Dunn
7. Arthur Orr
8. Dan Roberts
9. Malika Sanders-Fortier
10. Clay Scofield
11. Shay Shelnutt
12. Cam Ward

Committee on Transportation & Energy

1. Gerald Allen (Chair)
2. Dan Roberts (Vice Chair)
3. David Burkette
4. Tom Butler
5. Donnie Chesteen
6. Priscilla Dunn
7. Chris Elliott
8. Sam Givhan
9. Andrew Jones
10. Steve Livingston
11. Randy Price
12. Greg Reed
13. David Sessions

Committee on Healthcare

1. Jim McClendon (Chair)
2. Larry Stutts (Vice Chair)
3. Billy Beasley
4. Tom Butler
5. Donnie Chesteen
6. Linda Coleman-Madison
7. Tim Melson
8. Greg Reed
9. Dan Roberts
10. Cam Ward
11. Tom Whatley
12. Jack Williams

Committee on Children, Youth & Human Services

1. Larry Stutts (Chair)
2. Andrew Jones (Vice Chair)
3. Greg Albritton
4. Will Barfoot
5. Billy Beasley
6. Clyde Chambliss
7. Linda Coleman-Madison
8. Sam Givhan
9. Jimmy Holley
10. Dan Roberts
11. Malika Sanders-Fortier
12. Shay Shelnutt
13. Jack Williams

Committee on Tourism

1. Del Marsh (Chair)
2. Randy Price (Vice Chair)
3. Billy Beasley
4. Priscilla Dunn
5. Chris Elliott
6. Garlan Gudger
7. Andrew Jones
8. Tim Melson
9. David Sessions
10. Bobby Singleton
11. Rodger Smitherman

Committee on Veterans & Military Affairs

1. Tom Butler (Chair)
2. Sam Givhan (Vice Chair)
3. Will Barfoot
4. Billy Beasley
5. David Burkette
6. Donnie Chesteen
7. Jimmy Holley
8. Malika Sanders-Fortier

Committee on Local Legislation (LL1)

1. Clyde Chambliss (Chair)
2. Del Marsh
3. Greg Reed

“I look forward to working with these members in the upcoming session. There are some tough issues facing the state and I believe these committees and their members are best equipped to address these issues in a way that benefits the people of Alabama,” Marsh added in the press release.

Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) emphasized that he was excited to see these new committees in action.

“Committees are the backbone of the legislative process, a place where bills are refined and improved and ideas are vigorously debated,” Reed explained.

“Like the entire Senate, the committee chairmen come from all walks of life and include small business owners, doctors, farmers, former teachers, and attorneys from every region of our state,” Reed said. “The 4.8 million citizens of Alabama deserve the best leadership possible, and I am confident that these citizen-lawmakers will ably lead the Senate’s fifteen committees during the new legislative term.”

Highlighting the chamber’s bipartisanship, Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) applauded the way committee assignments were handled.

“Because we are in the minority we’re only going to get so many seats on committees. However, I think what has been done was fair based on the percentage of people that we have,” Singleton said. “There were only two committees that we didn’t get seats, the Committee on Assignment and the Local Legislation Committee, but I would have liked to have representation on those as well, and of course we would love some chairmanships.”

‘Happy people’

The optimism and collegiality purveyed in the three leaders’ respective statements echo the sentiments Marsh and Reed relayed to Yellowhammer News in a recent interview.

“Senator Reed, who was in charge of trying to put the puzzle together with the organization and committee assignments and everything else, he and some other members that were involved did a masterful job,” Marsh told Yellowhammer News.

While committee assignments were announced Wednesday, the second and likely final day of the legislature’s 2019 organizational session, all of the senators knew of their committee assignments well before their orientation meetings in December. In fact, Reed personally called each member to inform them of their pending assignments before Thanksgiving.

Marsh advised, “We’ve got truly 27, in my opinion, happy people [in the Senate Republican Caucus] and all the Democrats – let me tell you, we work with them, we’ve always made an effort to make sure that everybody is treated with respect in the Senate.”

“All is good,” he concluded. “And Senator Reed, I have to give him credit on that. He’s the one who worked day in and day out with that.”

Reed added, “Well, and I appreciate Senator Marsh and his engagement in the process as well. And certainly his wisdom and advice as Pro Tem, in regards to things that worked well [in the past] and how we could put it together.”

“I think that as we wound up understanding who our members [in the Republican Caucus] were going to be, and also who were going to be the members of the minority caucus, trying to look at all these different backgrounds, with all the different elements of their experiences and what they were bringing to the table, to try and look at the big, giant puzzle of the organization of the Senate – who functions best in different roles – was something that we looked at with a keen eye and tried to understand where people could best serve,” Reed explained.

The majority leader said, “Being able to work on it together with a good quality group of men and women, we’ve been able to have a good outcome.”

The state legislature’s regular session kicks off on March 5.

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

10 hours ago

Mayor Randall Woodfin throws down the gauntlet at Birmingham Business Alliance meeting

BIRMINGHAM — Delivering opening remarks at the Birmingham Business Alliance’s (BBA) annual meeting on Wednesday, Magic City Mayor Randall Woodfin challenged the region’s business leaders to stop being so “risk averse.”

Woodfin opened his speech with words of praise for outgoing BBA chairwoman Nancy Goedecke and incoming chairman Jim Gorrie.

He then transitioned into a call-to-action.

“Usually I would get up here and give you all some stats about what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished,” the mayor advised. “I think it is fair to say that 2019 has been a good year for many [in] your organization — individually and collectively for our Birmingham Business Alliance.”

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Woodfin advised that the BBA leadership is pointing the region’s business community in the right direction.

“And the question is: as members of this organization, are we prepared? Are we ready?” he added.

“I don’t have to tell anyone in this room that since the Great Recession… 60% of all jobs have only gone to 25 cities in America,” Woodfin continued. “You need to know that Birmingham is not on that list. So the question becomes, when you walk out of this room, are we prepared to invest in our competitiveness? Do we want to compete? Do we want to set ourselves apart and not be like any other city in America?”

“We don’t have to be like Nashville or Chattanooga or Atlanta or Austin,” he said. “We need to be the best versions of ourselves.”

The mayor outlined the road to getting to that goal.

“That is going to require us to shake off the way we’ve always done things… just based on the sheer nature of what you do, you’re risk averse. But being risk averse in this time as we move into 2020 under Jim’s (Gorrie’s) leadership will not work for us as an organization or as a city. Or for the future and present of what we want our business community to be — to attract, retain, grow and many other things we have to do,” Woodfin stressed.

“As my challenge I leave to the members of this organization in this room, that we are willing to stand behind Jim, just as we did with Nancy (Goedecke), but really be aggressive,” he concluded. “Really be the opposite of risk averse and be hungry enough to do something that’s going to be different to make Birmingham a place that attracts more businesses and for the current businesses in this community to be and remain successful.”

RELATED: Almost two years in, Randall Woodfin reflects on biggest initiatives

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

13 hours ago

Above and beyond: Regions associate honored with Better Life Award after learning sign language to serve deaf customers

Regions Bank on Wednesday honored one of its Alabama associates in a major way for going above and beyond to better the lives of the company’s customers.

In a story posted on Region’s “Doing More Today” website, the company announced Gayla Land was presented with the Better Life Award. This is the top honor bestowed upon Regions associates “for outstanding dedication and job performance, as well as exemplary involvement and commitment to the community.”

For Land, a Regions Bank branch manager in Dothan, the genesis of the award goes back to 2016. She was reportedly serving a deaf customer but wanted to be able to do so better, as communicating properly was a real issue.

“I felt there was something missing. It frustrated me,” Land reminisced. “I could only provide what I could write down. I couldn’t share the information in his approved language.”

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The Regions associate turned that frustration into a solution. Land, on her own time, went out of the way to enroll in American Sign Language classes at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.

However, her dedication did not stop there. She not only learned sign language herself but decided to strike up a partnership with the school.

“I fell in love with the deaf community and the language itself,” Land explained. “Then I told the school, ‘Let’s make a partnership to have them come into the branch for financial education seminars,’ and they agreed.”

The student subsequently became the teacher, as Land began teaching in sign language a series of lessons that cover money management, retirement, identity theft and fraud prevention. Her first group reportedly graduated earlier this year.

This is having a real impact on the lives of Regions customers with hearing impairments.

“They feel more confident in their ability to make financial decisions, and I learn something new every time they are with me.” Land advised.

Her commitment to the hearing impaired continued to be displayed Wednesday when she received the award from Regions. The company donates $1,000 in the honoree’s name to a nonprofit organization of his or her choice, and Land chose the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind to receive the money.

“They do great work providing skills and education to the deaf and blind communities,” she remarked. “I know they will make great use of the money to provide for those families.”

However, her journey is not done yet.

Land is planning to sharpen her sign language fluency by taking advanced classes.

She also used her new platform to urge others to learn the language as well.

“Don’t be fearful or feel judged. Just try to learn. Even if it’s just one new word every day,” Land concluded. “Your eyes will be opened to a new perspective, and you’ll be embraced by the deaf community because you tried.”

You can watch an almost six-minute video on see Land’s work in action below or here.

RELATED: Merry and bright: How Regions’ headquarters building lights became a holiday tradition

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

14 hours ago

Auburn’s Bo Nix named SEC Freshman of the Year, Derrick Brown named best defensive player

The Southeastern Conference’s (SEC) 14 coaches have voted Auburn University quarterback Bo Nix as the SEC Freshman of the Year and defensive tackle Derrick Brown as the Defensive Player of the Year.

The honors were announced Wednesday by the league office. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.

Brown was also named by the Associated Press as the AP’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year earlier in the week.

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Nix now holds the Auburn Tigers’ freshman record for passing yards (2,366), pass completions (200) and touchdown passes (15) in a season. The Alabama native also rushed for seven scores.

Brown had a monster season on the defensive side of the ball and landed as a finalist for just about every national award possible.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

14 hours ago

Rogers’ report from Washington: The season of giving across East Alabama

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Each Christmas season, I like to highlight a few of the kind things folks across East Alabama are doing for others.

Below is a small sample of ways our fellow Alabamians have cared for each other over the past year.

In Clay County at Central High School, a teacher, Amanda East, gathered the school supplies that were going to be disposed of from the locker clean out. Those items are now set up to donate to students who need them.

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In Lee County, The Hallmark Channel is coming to Beauregard to present new homes to the 15 families who lost everything when the EF-4 tornado devastated the area.

Hallmark will also serve residents a holiday meal at Providence Baptist Church with Santa and toys for the little ones, too.

In Calhoun County, Dara Murphy of Rosa Lee Boutique organized a White Bag Project for individuals to grab a white bag and fill it up for a child in need. They are also taking clothing and furniture to 20 families.

In Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa Counties, Rep. Peeblin Warren assists 400 seniors with gift baskets.

In Randolph County, the Roanoke Police Department is holding its annual toy drive to ensure local children get a Christmas gift.

In Chambers County, the Christian Service Center collects food and toys to donate to families.

In Montgomery County, Woodland United Methodist Church/Town of Pike Road distribute food. Pike Road and Central Alabama Health Care Systems also distribute hygiene items for local veterans.

Reading these stories makes me proud to be from East Alabama. It is truly heartwarming to see our brothers and sisters across the Third District taking time to take care for someone who needs it most.

May we carry this attitude of service to others all year long.

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas. Remember the reason for the season.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers is a Republican from Saks. 

15 hours ago

Crimson Tide’s Jaylen Waddle named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year

University of Alabama sophomore wide receiver and returner Jaylen Waddle on Wednesday was announced as the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Special Teams Player of the Year.

He is the first Crimson Tide player to be named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year since Christion Jones in 2013. The honor was voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own players.

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Waddle, who was already selected by Pro Football Focus as a first-team All-American at returner, led the nation this season in punt return average at 24.9 yards per return. Waddle had 19 punt returns for 474 yards and a touchdown, including a long of 77 yards.

The playmaker also returned four kickoffs for 152 yards and one touchdown this season, in addition to 553 yards and six touchdowns on 32 catches at wideout.

This comes after Waddle was one of 14 Bama players on Tuesday who were named to the All-SEC Coaches’ Team. He was actually named to both the first and second teams at different positions.

Juniors Jerry Jeudy (WR), Alex Leatherwood (OL) and Jedrick Wills, Jr. (OL) were first-team selections on offense, while redshirt senior Anfernee Jennings (LB) and junior Xavier McKinney (DB) were honored as first-team defense. Waddle was a first-team selection on special teams.

Redshirt junior center Landon Dickerson was named to the second-team offense along with juniors Najee Harris (RB), DeVonta Smith (WR), Tua Tagovailoa (QB) and Waddle (WR). Seniors Raekwon Davis (DL) and Trevon Diggs (DB) and redshirt junior linebacker Terrell Lewis were second-team choices on defense.

Waddle was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2018.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn