The Wire

  • Black Bear Sightings Continue to Increase in Alabama

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    Add Jackson, Limestone, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties to the growing list of black bear sightings in Alabama in 2018. In recent years, bears have also been recorded in Chambers, Elmore, Jefferson, Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa counties. These recent sightings are more evidence of the state’s expanding black bear population.

    Biologists from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources say the increase in sightings may be due to a combination of factors including changes in bear distribution, habitat fragmentation, seasonal movement and the summer mating season. However, most spring and summer bear sightings are of juvenile males being pushed out of their previous ranges by their mothers and other adult males.

    Historically, a small population of black bears have remained rooted in Mobile and Washington counties. Baldwin, Covington and Escambia counties on the Florida border host yet another population of bears. In northeast Alabama, bears migrating from northwest Georgia have established a small but viable population.

    “While seeing a black bear in Alabama is uncommon and exciting, it is no cause for alarm,” said Marianne Hudson, Conservation Outreach Specialist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “There has never been a black bear attack on a human in Alabama.”

    Black bears are typically secretive, shy animals that will avoid human interaction. Occasionally, a curious bear will explore a human-populated area in search of food.

    “If you are lucky enough to see a bear, simply leave it alone,” Hudson said.

  • Rep. Byrne Releases Statement on Russia

    From a Bradley Byrne news release:

    Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, this morning in Helsinki.

    Congressman Byrne said: “I applaud President Trump’s decision to start a dialogue with President Putin and I’m glad he is making it a priority. However, we must remember that Russia is not an ally – economically or militarily. They are an adversary. The United States should not tolerate actions by the Russians that intervene in our domestic affairs or pose a threat to our national security.”

  • Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Season Closes July 22

    Excerpt from an Outdoor Alabama news release:

    The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division (MRD) announces the closure of Alabama state waters to the harvest of red snapper by private anglers and state-licensed commercial party boats at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 2018. The quota of 984,291 pounds issued under NOAA Fisheries’ Alabama Recreational Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) is expected to be met by the closure date.

    “Alabama anglers fished extremely hard on the good weather days during the season,” said Marine Resources Director Scott Bannon. “That level of effort, coupled with larger average-sized fish harvested this year as compared to last year, resulted in a daily harvest rate two times higher than 2017, which prompted an earlier than anticipated closure.

    “The purpose of the EFP was to demonstrate Alabama’s ability to establish a season and monitor landings within a fixed quota and I think we have shown we can do that,” said Bannon.

    Anglers are reminded of the following:

    — Possession of red snapper in Alabama waters while state waters are closed is prohibited regardless of where the fish were harvested.
    — Alabama anglers may fish in federal waters off the coast of Alabama (outside of 9 nm) and land in a state that is open to the landing of red snapper, but they must adhere to the open state’s rules and not transit in Alabama state waters with red snapper on board.
    — The season for federally-permitted charter for-hire vessels will close at 12:01 a.m. July 22.

1 year ago

Clean Sweep For Four Pro-Life Bills in the House (opinion)

(Christine Szeto/Flickr)
(Flickr user Christine Szeto)

Life is important to the members of the Alabama Legislature, no matter what stage or what age that life may be. This was demonstrated Thursday as small ‘Precious Feet’ pins adorned the clothing of many Alabama House of Representatives.

Throughout Thursday in Montgomery on what was deemed ‘Pro-Life Day,’ there was a large focus on discussing and passing pro-life legislation.

The Alabama House of Representatives spent the entire morning in a filibuster attempting to pass a special order calendar containing pro-life bills and they were successful.

All four bills will need to be approved by the Senate; including the ‘Assisted Suicide Ban Act’- HB96 sponsored by State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) and SB198 sponsored by State Senator Phil Williams (R-Huntsville); the ‘Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act’- HB24 sponsored by State Representative Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa) and SB145 sponsored by State Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile); the ‘Health Care Rights of Conscience Act,’ HB95 sponsored by State Representative Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham) and SB185 sponsored by State Senator Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville); and the ‘Right to Life Constitutional Amendment’ HB98 sponsored by State Representative Matt Fridy (R-Montevallo).

For Pro Life Day at the State House of the Pro Life legislators wore “Precious Feet” which are the exact size and shape of a baby at 10 weeks.

Three of these pro-life bills had been promoted for years, but did not pass until Thursday- making it a clean sweep for the pro-life movement in Alabama.

“Every bill on the day’s work agenda was designed to either protect the unborn, preserve the sanctity of human life, or encourage adoption,” said State Representative Arnold Mooney (R-Birmingham). “As promised in our ‘Alabama Proud’ legislative agenda that was released prior to the regular session, we are standing by what we believe is most important here in our state.”

Declaring Alabama a “pro-life state” sends a clear message that the state will be prepared to take action if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. These bills also will protect doctors, nurses and other medical personnel from being forced to perform abortion procedures that violate their moral beliefs has been a priority for Republicans since the legislative session began in February.

“It was an honor to be part of the ‘Pro-Life Day’ in the Alabama House of Representatives,” said State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City). “Our state is overwhelmingly pro-life and that proof is very evident with the number of representatives willing to stand in the gap to protect it. My goal is to promote life, protect life, and celebrate life for both the born and unborn.”

Pro-life supporters did not hold a rally outside in the frigid temperatures Thursday as in years past. Instead, they built a presence inside the statehouse, in the gallery and in the overflow rooms. They called upon their House members as they watched the debates in order to show respect for the legislators willing to support pro-life legislation.

“Today has been a special opportunity for the pro-life community in Alabama,” said State Representative Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa).  “There is nothing more important than life- and today was a great day in Montgomery as we celebrated it and protected it. I want to thank Speaker Mac McCutcheon for his support of this legislation as we raise the bar in Montgomery.”

Alabamians who proudly support conservative beliefs, traditional values and standing up for the voiceless joined the social media campaign for life by utilizing the hashtag #prolifeAL.

“I was excited to carry House Bill 98 today, which provides that the Alabama constitution cannot be defined to confer a right to an abortion or public funding for an abortion,” said State Representative Matt Fridy (R-Montevallo). “The overwhelming vote in favor of the bill demonstrates there is strong support for protecting the life of the unborn in the State of Alabama.”

The Alabama Republican Party passed a resolution at its 2017 Winter Meeting asking the legislature to pass strong pro-life legislation, and Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan also issued a statement regarding Thursday’s “Pro-Life Day” in the Alabama House of Representatives.

“Today was an important day in the Alabama House of Representatives as each bill on the agenda was dedicated to protecting the unborn and preserving the sanctity of life,” said Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan. “As chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, I applaud our House members for standing up for the most helpless, defenseless and innocent among us – the unborn. I ask you to join me today in showing your members support by thanking them for their dedication to pro-life issues. I look forward to the Senate’s support of these bills in the future.”

The Americans United for Life 2017 Life List released in January ranked the 50 states based on how well each protects life in law. Sadly, Alabama did not even make the list’s Top 10. For the second year in a row, Oklahoma earned the top ranking, followed by Kansas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona.

In recent years, strong pro-life laws have passed in South Dakota, Michigan, Virginia and North Dakota. It is clear, legislation on the state level is gaining traction.

“We, as conservatives, run on pro-life issues,” said State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise). “We are simply doing what we stand for today by passing this legislation in the House. The will of the people is to protect the unborn and we fought the fight.”

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of the “unalienable rights” which the Declaration says have been given to all human beings by their Creator, and which governments are created to protect.

This legislation was a resilient stand for the voiceless. Be proud Alabama.

2 years ago

Sessions broke the back of the KKK in Alabama. Now the media wants you to think he’s racist.

Sen. Jeff Sessions at the 50th anniversary of the march at Selma. (Photo: Todd Stacy)
Sen. Jeff Sessions at the 50th anniversary of the march at Selma. (Photo: Todd Stacy)
Sen. Jeff Sessions at the 50th anniversary of the march at Selma. (Photo: Todd Stacy)

President-elect Donald J. Trump over the weekend nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to serve as United States Attorney General, signaling that he is serious about returning the Justice Department to its core of mission of “ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

Sen. Sessions’ credentials are impeccable.

Assistant United States Attorney. United States Attorney. Alabama Attorney General. United States Senator. A combined 35 years of public service and a lifelong commitment to the rule of law.

And yet if you read the New York Times and Washington Post, or watch MSNBC and CNN, you would think President-elect Trump brought segregation-era George Wallace back from the dead and appointed him to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. (In reality, Sessions campaigned against Wallace as a college Republican, but that’s a story for another time.)

The media constantly point back to Sen. Sessions’ failed confirmation after then-President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a federal judgeship as evidence that he is, as CNN puts it, “dogged by allegations of racism.” During Senate confirmation hearings in 1986, Sessions was accused of making racially insensitive comments.

When a former Justice Department colleague came forward with the accusation, Sessions did the unthinkable in Washington: he told the truth. He conceded that he had made a joke that was being taken out of context.

And his actions clearly backed that up, because at the moment Sessions made the unfortunate joke, he was tenaciously leading a fight to deliver justice for the family of an African American man who had been viciously murdered by the KKK.

And this is the part of the story the media never tell.

Michael Donald, a 19-year-old African-American man, was walking home when he was kidnapped by two Klan members, who drove him to a secluded area, nearly beat him to death with a tree limb, tied a noose around his neck, strangle him, then slit his throat and hung him from a tree.

KKK member Henry Francis Hays was responsible for the vicious murder, and did so at the order of his father, Klan leader Bennie Hays, who ordered the killing “to show Klan strength in Alabama.”

Sessions was so disgusted by what had happened that he allowed the State of Alabama to try the case, rather than making it a federal case, because Alabama had the death penalty.

Years later, when Sessions was Alabama Attorney General, the story came full circle as he oversaw the execution of Mr. Hays.

Barry Kowalski, the now-legendary civil rights attorney and former Special Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, recalls Sessions’ involvement with the case.

“Senator Sessions could not have been more supportive of our investigations, and in the Michael Donald case specifically, he personally contributed to making sure his killers were brought to justice.”

In short, Jeff Sessions made Henry Hays the first white person to be executed in Alabama for the murder of a black citizen since 1913. Additionally, Mr. Hays is the only known member of the KKK to be executed in the United States in the 20th century for murdering an African American.

The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan,” which the Associated Press in 1997 noted bankrupted the KKK in Alabama.

And yet these days the AP is busy cranking out stories about Sessions’ “racial issues” and claiming that he’s facing “a tough senate confirmation,” even though he has already garnered bi-partisan support and Republicans clearly have the votes to confirm him.

If you want to know the truth, listen to what the people who actually know Jeff Sessions have to say.

Larry Thompson, who worked closely with Sessions at the Justice Department and went on to serve as Deputy Attorney General of the United States, said this week that Sessions “does not have a racist bone in his body.”

“I have been an African American for 71 years and I think I know a racist when I experience one,” he added. “Jeff Sessions is simply a good and decent man.”

William Smith, who Sessions tapped to be the first African American to ever serve as Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Sessions “a man of high character and great integrity” who always “treated me like family.”

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow said Sessions “has done more to protect the jobs and enhance the wages of black workers than anyone in either house of Congress over the last 10 years.”

Civil rights attorney and founder of the Black American Leadership Alliance Leah Durant said Sessions “has been a leader in the fight for preserving American jobs and ensuring opportunities for African American workers.”

And Kenyen Brown, the Obama appointee who now fills the very same US Attorney seat that Sessions once sat in, called Sessions “a man of outstanding character with an impeccable reputation for integrity.”

Jeff Sessions is a brilliant legal mind with a titanium spine, but most importantly, he is a good man. And that, in short, is why liberals and their allies in the media are resorting to 30-year-old, trumped-up lies to try to take him down — because that’s all they have.