8 months ago

Alabama’s public education system ranked nation’s worst as ‘bold change’ set for legislative committee hearing

MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s public education system was ranked number 50 in the United States in a new report published Tuesday, the same day the State Senate’s Committee on Education Policy is set to hear SB 397, a constitutional amendment proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) that would overhaul Alabama’s public K-12 governance.

The annual U.S. News and World Report‘s ranking of the best and worst states to live placed Alabama at number 49 for 2019, representing a three-spot slide from the previous year. The main reason for the decline was Alabama’s education system, which dropped from number 47 to dead last over that time span.

The dire state of Alabama’s public K-12 system is why Marsh has put such an emphasis on his legislation.

“We need systemic changes to our education system and it starts at the top,” he has said.

Marsh’s legislation would replace the current elected State Board of Education with the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education, members of which will be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the State Senate.

SB 397 would also abolish the State Superintendent position and replace it with a Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, appointed by the commission and subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Marsh advised, “Currently, one of the reasons that education is consistently the most pressing issue for most Alabamians is because our state school board is completely dysfunctional. We have had five State Superintendents in three years. Our teachers and students are the ones who suffer from this the most.”

The legislation has 20 Senate cosponsors — all Republicans.

Additionally, Governor Kay Ivey has come out in adamant support of the proposal. Marsh told reporters at the State House that State Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa), the powerful chair of the House Ways and Means Education Committee, will carry the legislation in that chamber.

However, the proposal’s first real legislative test comes Tuesday at 2:45 p.m., when the Senate committee has the legislation on its agenda at the State House.

As a constitutional amendment, SB 397 (if passed by the Alabama legislature) would need to be approved by the people of the state in a referendum. This would occur on the March 2020 primary election date.

“Our students and teachers deserve much more from our educational system, and this constitutional amendment is a way forward for Alabama’s future,” Ivey said. “We must refuse to be complacent with our poor educational rankings. I strongly urge members of the Alabama Legislature and people across the state to join me in supporting this bill.”

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

10 mins ago

Jerry Carl releases first TV ad in AL-01 GOP primary, significant buy forthcoming

MOBILE — The race to succeed Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) in Coastal Alabama is heating up.

Yellowhammer News on Wednesday obtained Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl’s first television ad of the cycle.

Entitled, “Just Jerry,” the video ad utilizes an off-screen narrator throughout its 30 seconds of run time.

Transcript as follows:

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Raised by a single mother, Jerry Carl headed to college but left to start a business. Then another. And another.

He married and raised a family and was saved by grace.

A tough upbringing and business struggles made Jerry the man he is.

Like President Trump, Jerry Carl’s got a backbone. He’s tired of political correctness and will fight ‘The Squad.’

He’s never the loudest, but he’s the toughest.

He’s just Jerry.

A source directly familiar informed Yellowhammer that the ad buy will be “substantial,” falling “well into the six figure range.”

The ad will run across several standard mediums in the district, including both cable and broadcast television, as well as digital. The buy is expected to last 10 days.

Carl has built a significant cash advantage in the race, both through money raised and money he has loaned to his own campaign. As of the end of the third quarter of 2019, Carl had $741,307 cash-on-hand. This compared favorably to the other top contenders in Alabama’s First Congressional District. Former State Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) had $447,611 on hand, while State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) reported $215,437 available. Fundraising reports covering the final quarter of 2019 are due January 31.

Watch:

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Carl campaign manager Zach Weidlich said, “Jerry Carl was raised by a single mother and that upbringing made him the man he is today. He’s built several businesses by relying on his Christian faith and rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work.”

“Like Trump, Jerry is tough, he has a backbone, and he won’t back down to political correctness. If south Alabama wants someone who will protect our values and stand with Trump, Jerry Carl is their guy,” he concluded.

The primary will be held on March 3.

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

2 hours ago

UAB, St. Vincent’s enter into ‘strategic alliance’ to better serve patients

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Health System is entering into a partnership with its across-town neighbor Ascension St. Vincent’s to provide better outcomes for patients. The two hospital systems announced the news jointly via a press release on Wednesday.

Details are still scarce as to the particularities of what this will mean for patients, and the deal is still pending approval from the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.

The information available indicates that patients at one institution will have access to some services and doctors at the other without the normal amount of red tape in between. The two hospitals are touting the alliance’s ability to open up opportunities for “those who need highly specialized care.”

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“Through closer alignment of each organization’s many locations, specialties and expertise, the health systems will strive to better accommodate patients,” said UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany.

According to the website set up to inform the public about the alliance, the two hospitals’ medical records will stay separate, and no doctor will be changing locations as part of the new alliance.

“Ascension St. Vincent’s and the UAB Health System have a longstanding, very positive relationship,” said Jason Alexander, CEO, Ascension St. Vincent’s and Ascension Providence, and senior vice president, Ascension. “We look forward to continuing to build on the complementary strengths of both organizations to serve the increasing needs of residents across our state.

As follows are the facilities that will be a part of the alliance: 

UABHS:

UAB Hospital
University of Alabama Health Services Foundation
Medical West Hospital
Callahan Eye Hospital, Clinics and Ophthalmology Services Foundation
Gardendale Freestanding Emergency Department (FED) and Clinics
Highway 150 Clinics and Medical West Freestanding Emergency Department
Acton Road
Primary Care Network

Ascension St. Vincent’s:

Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham
Ascension St. Vincent’s East
Ascension St. Vincent’s One Nineteen
Ascension St. Vincent’s St. Clair
Ascension St. Vincent’s Chilton
Ascension St. Vincent’s Blount
Ascension St. Vincent’s Trussville
Ascension St. Vincent’s Medical Group

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

4 hours ago

Watch: Republican Women of Huntsville’s U.S. Senate candidate forum

On Tuesday, the Republican Women of Huntsville hosted a U.S. Senate candidates forum at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens.

The forum featured former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs). It was moderated by Yellowhammer News’ Jeff Poor.

The candidates were given two minutes to open, followed by questions regarding various topics including trade, foreign policy, marijuana, debts and deficits, term limits and abortion with minute-and-a-half responses, and a two-minute close.

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Video stream courtesy of Alabama Straw Poll:

5 hours ago

Byrne: ‘Would be surprised’ if Trump doesn’t comment on Senate race; Sessions should have resigned AG post if he thought recusal was necessary

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) said former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of his opponents vying for the Republican nomination for Alabama’s U.S. Senate election in November, was fair game regarding his stint as the nation’s top law enforcement officer in the Trump administration.

In a wide-ranging interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Byrne explained that although President Donald Trump has largely remained publicly quiet about their U.S. Senate race, he anticipates Trump will eventually reveal his feelings on the contest and about Sessions.

“I would be surprised if he doesn’t,” Byrne said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “Every time I’m with him, he wants to talk about the Senate race in Alabama. Even when we’re in a big group of people, he wants to talk about it. He’s paying very close attention. He cares a lot. He cares about Alabama, number one. But he’s got some really hard feelings about Jeff [Sessions]. He really does. Even if he doesn’t say another word, take these two quotes: ‘The biggest mistake I ever made as president is appointing Jeff Sessions U.S. Attorney General.’ Or this quote, ‘Jeff Sessions is a disgrace to the great state of Alabama.’ Those two quotes that he made several months ago — I don’t see how Jeff gets over those.”

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Byrne said he disagreed with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from any Department of Justice investigations into the 2016 elections and added that if Sessions believed his recusal was necessary, he should have resigned his post at attorney general given the scope of the investigation into the 2016 election.

“I don’t think he needed to recuse himself,” he said. “But if he felt like he needed to recuse himself, he should have resigned because he took himself out of a big chunk of what the attorney general is supposed to be doing. Look at all the things we learned in the inspector general’s report. Because he took himself off the playing field, months went by before we dealt with that. And now Attorney General Barr is dealing with that, thank God. If he couldn’t do his job, he should have said, ‘Look, I can’t do my job. I’m going to have to resign,’ and didn’t do that.”

Byrne’s sentiments echo those of another one of the candidates in the run for the 2020 GOP U.S. senatorial nod, former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who a day earlier raised similar concerns about Sessions.

According to Byrne, Sessions should have seen the controversy looming on the horizon and not have accepted the appointment as attorney general during the 2016-2017 presidential transition.

“I don’t see how he didn’t see it was coming,” Byrne said. “But assuming that he didn’t — still, once he determined ‘I cannot be involved in this. I have to recuse myself,’ he should have resigned and let somebody else do that job. The president would have put him somewhere else. The president would have said, ‘OK, Jeff — you can’t do that. I’ll make you Secretary of Homeland Security.’ He would have done that. But that’s not what Jeff did. The people of Alabama have got to decide how they feel about that. But I think it is perfectly legitimate to bring that up. I think it is perfectly legitimate for Tommy Tuberville to bring that up. If Jeff is not ready to talk about, he needs to understand he is in a political campaign.”

Sessions has previously told Yellowhammer News the controversy regarding his tenure as attorney general had not come up on the campaign trail. However, Byrne said it comes up regularly for him.

“They bring it up with me all the time,” he said. “If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard this 300 or 400 times in the last few weeks alone — they’re angry with him. They’re angry he even got in the race. That’s something he has got to deal with. And you know, you look at his television commercial — that’s his effort to try to deal with it. I think that’s fair game. When you get into a campaign like this, you’ve got to expect that. We’re going to hear more about that. You’ll be hearing more about that from voters or whoever. I’m sticking with what I’m talking about right now. You know, we’ve hit a real thread with the voters here. They like what’s in that commercial I’m showing right now, the personal touch with it. So I’m going to stay with that. It’s working for me, and I’m just going to stay right there.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

6 hours ago

Aderholt: ‘I look forward to the day when there are no more abortions’

Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) recently spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about his staunch pro-life views.

Wednesday marks the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling.

Aderholt’s remarks can be seen in a video posted to his Twitter account.

“I stand here today as pro-life, pro-family and pro-child,” he began.

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“No matter what your faith is, everyone understands that life is very precious and that life is a gift,” Aderholt continued. “I believe that as members of Congress and really as all citizens, we’re called to protect the vulnerable — and this is one of my core beliefs.”

“Being pro-life means not just pro-birth but being interested in the welfare of the child during his or her entire formative years,” the dean of Alabama’s House delegation advised. “That’s why I’m not only a longtime member of the pro-life caucus but also the co-chair of the congressional coalition on adoption.”

He showed appreciation for the Trump administration’s work on pro-life issues.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank this administration for the work they have done to defend the unborn, including changing the rules for Title X and expanding the Mexico City Policy. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration on these issues as we come to the time of January [22], where we remember the ruling of Roe versus Wade,” Aderholt remarked.

“I look forward to the day when there are no more abortions because there’s no more unwanted children,” he concluded.

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