The Wire

  • Fmr US Rep Jo Bonner named Kay Ivey chief of staff as Steve Pelham takes job at Auburn University

    Excerpt:

    In a move that had been rumored for the last few weeks, former U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner has assumed the role as chief of staff for Gov. Kay Ivey.

    Last November after Ivey was elected to a full term, Bonner was named a senior adviser to Ivey.

    Bonner is replacing outgoing chief of staff Steve Pelham, who will become Auburn University’s vice president for economic development and the chief of staff to Auburn University President Steven Leath.

  • Historic Inauguration Day in Montgomery heralds continued growth for Alabama

    Excerpt:

    It was a day of celebration, unity and tremendous optimism as Governor Kay Ivey and other statewide elected officials were officially sworn into office on Monday.

    The weather played into the symbolism of the occasion, as a cold, overcast day – a storm almost certainly imminent – gradually became sunnier and sunnier as the afternoon pushed on, much like the outlook of the state under Ivey’s steady guidance.

    Political insiders and everyday Alabamians from every nook and cranny of the state gathered in front of the Alabama State Capitol steps for the inauguration ceremony, which began promptly at 10:00 a.m. From the state’s richest man to the single mom who checked her little girls out of school just to see Ivey’s historic oath of office, it was a day that transcended the lines that divide us.

    Because Ivey’s inauguration message of “Keep Alabama Growing” is a theme meant for all. It is a message of hope – that even a little girl from Camden, Alabama can rise to be duly elected as the state’s chief executive through hard work and perseverance.

  • Ivey orders flags lowered to half-staff to honor fallen police Sgt. Wytasha Carter

    Excerpt:

    Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor Birmingham Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter, who was killed in the line of duty on Sunday.

    “I am directing flags be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for Birmingham Police Sergeant Wytasha Carter who was killed in the line of duty early Sunday, January 13, 2019,” Ivey said in a statement. “Sergeant Carter laid down his life protecting the people of Birmingham, and the entire state of Alabama mourns this tremendous loss.”

5 hours ago

Aderholt named ranking member of appropriations subcommittee critical to north Alabama’s economy

(Headshot / Aderholt.house.gov)

On Tuesday, Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-4) was named ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, which funds NASA and the FBI, amongst other important economic engines.

In a statement, Aderholt said, “It is a great honor to be named the ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science. This subcommittee is certainly important to America, but even more so for North Alabama.”

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“This subcommittee is directly responsible for funding NASA and the FBI, along with the Department of Commerce,” Aderholt explained. “The FBI and NASA are two very important agencies to the economy of not only Huntsville, but also the northern portion of our state. NASA, of course, has a long history in this region and gave rise to Huntsville’s name as the Rocket City. And in just the past few years, the FBI has built a presence on Redstone Arsenal and is in the process of growing to a level of approximately 4,000 jobs.”

The congressman concluded, “With my leadership on this subcommittee, I will work to ensure that North Alabama continues to lead as we return to the moon, put boots on Mars and travel into deep space. And with the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School, and growing footprint in North Alabama, I will also be a voice to let my colleagues know that North Alabama is in a prime position to be a hub for matters concerning our national security.”

Aderholt also serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

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

7 hours ago

Trump AG nominee: Sessions ‘probably did the right thing’ in recusing himself from Russia probe

(Fox News/YouTube, U.S. Southern Command)

Attorney General-nominee William Barr on Tuesday said Jeff Sessions “probably did the right thing” in recusing himself from the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign, according to The Washington Post.

Barr previously served as attorney general from 1991-1993. During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr was asked by committee chair Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the probe because he was involved in the Trump campaign.

“I am not sure of all of the facts, but I think he probably did the right thing recusing himself,” Barr said.

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This came the day after Sessions attended Alabama’s Inaugural Day festivities, including the swearing-in ceremony for all statewide elected officials and reception for state Attorney General Steve Marshall.

During Marshall’s event in the attorney general’s office building, Sessions said, “Do the right thing every day and usually things will work out… [well,] not always.”

After the laughter of the room started to subside, he added, “At least in the United States, when they fire you, they don’t shoot you like they do in some countries.”

Sessions’ relationship with President Donald Trump was eroded by the recusal and the president’s public attacks on both that decision and Sessions personally. He resigned at the request of the president in November.

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

8 hours ago

State Sen. Gerald Allen responds to judge striking down Alabama Memorial Preservation Act — ‘Judges are not kings’

On Tuesday afternoon, State Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), the sponsor of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, criticized Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

Graffeo made the ruling Monday.

“Under the Constitution, judges are to be neutral umpires who apply the rule of law fairly,” Allen said in a statement. “A judge’s personal beliefs, whether about politics, sociology, or history, have no bearing on how he is to apply the law.”

He continued, “Judge Graffeo has taken it upon himself to know and declare that it is ‘undisputed’ that the majority of residents of Birmingham are ‘repulsed’ by the Linn Park monument, and has thus ruled the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act void. But judges are not kings, and judicial activism is no substitute for the democratic process.”

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“The Memorial Preservation Act is meant to thoughtfully preserve the entire story of Alabama’s history for future generations. The law was vigorously debated for months by the people of Alabama’s duly-elected representatives in the State Legislature, and passed with overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate,” Allen advised.

He concluded, “The Attorney General’s Office is confident that the Memorial Preservation Act is constitutional, and I look forward to the Attorney General’s appeal of Judge Graffeo’s ruling.”

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

9 hours ago

Alabama Farmers Federation supports Ivey’s inaugural book drive by donating accurate ag books

The Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation (AFAF) donated 100 books to the Alabama Literacy Alliance in support of Gov. Kay Ivey's inaugural focus on child literacy. From left are Federation and AFAF President Jimmy Parnell, Jefferson County Farmers Federation member and Alabama Literacy Alliance Board Member Polly McClure and Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate.

MONTGOMERY — While the pomp and circumstance of Alabama’s Inauguration Day gets most of the focus, Governor Kay Ivey – with an assist from partners like the Alabama Farmers Federation – used the festive period to support children’s literacy.

As part of this effort, the governor’s inaugural committee hosted a book drive at the Gulf Coast Inaugural Celebration on Saturday, collecting nearly 2,000 books to be donated to the Alabama Literacy Alliance.

However, this impactful initiative did not stop there. The Inaugural Gala on Monday evening was the official conclusion of the book drive, with more donations coming in during this celebration of Ivey’s first full term.

Additionally, earlier that day amidst the inaugural festivities, a major book donation funded by the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation (AFAF) helped put a bow on top of a successful effort.

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“Covering strawberry plants. Planting oats and rye. Cutting and stacking wood. Those are just a few of the winter farm chores children will learn about when reading one of the 100 copies of ‘Sleep Tight Farm’ donated to the Alabama Literacy Alliance,” a release from the Alabama Farmers Federation explained.

The donation was announced during “Coffee with the Commissioner,” a pre-inauguration event held Monday morning at the RSA Activity Center honoring new Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Rick Pate. The stack of books was even displayed during the reception, with agricultural leaders highlighting the literacy initiative.

“While supporting the governor’s inaugural philanthropic focus, this book donation also fulfills the need to teach students about agriculture and where their food really comes from,” Alabama Farmers Federation and AFAF President Jimmy Parnell said. “This is an exciting time for our state, and we’re proud to participate in such a worthwhile cause.”

“Sleep Tight Farm” by Eugenie Doyle and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander was named Book of the Year by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for agriculture in 2017. In it, a family prepares their land for winter while reminiscing about everything the farm produced throughout the year.

The book donation is in line with the Alabama Farmers Federation and AFAF’s strong commitment to supporting education in the  Yellowhammer State, awarding over $130,000 in college scholarships annually. In September 2018, AFAF worked with Alabama Ag in the Classroom to provide over 900 copies of “John Deere, That’s Who!” to Alabama’s elementary school libraries.

AFAF was created by the Alabama Farmers Federation to support and advance agriculture in the state of Alabama.

Teachers can find numerous resources for incorporating agricultural lessons into their curriculum here or here.

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

1 day ago

Historic Inauguration Day in Montgomery heralds continued growth for Alabama

(J. Poor/YHN)

MONTGOMERY — It was a day of celebration, unity and tremendous optimism as Governor Kay Ivey and other statewide elected officials were officially sworn into office on Monday.

The weather played into the symbolism of the occasion, as a cold, overcast day – a storm almost certainly imminent – gradually became sunnier and sunnier as the afternoon pushed on, much like the outlook of the state under Ivey’s steady guidance.

Political insiders and everyday Alabamians from every nook and cranny of the state gathered in front of the Alabama State Capitol steps for the inauguration ceremony, which began promptly at 10:00 a.m. From the state’s richest man to the single mom who checked her little girls out of school just to see Ivey’s historic oath of office, it was a day that transcended the lines that divide us.

Because Ivey’s inauguration message of “Keep Alabama Growing” is a theme meant for all. It is a message of hope – that even a little girl from Camden, Alabama can rise to be duly elected as the state’s chief executive through hard work and perseverance.

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For those little girls huddled beneath blankets as they sat on the stone-cold Dexter Avenue sidewalk and for girls like them across the state, Monday was something more than history. It was an affirmation that dreams really can and do come true in the Yellowhammer State.

This was a point driven home by Ivey in her well written (and delivered in vintage fashion) inaugural address.

“Like most of my predecessors, my pathway to this spot was certainly not predetermined or even likely. After all, when I was growing up in my hometown of Camden, little girls simply didn’t dream of growing up to one day be elected governor,” she said. “Alabama is a state where dreams do come true. Because in Alabama, anything is possible.”

Ivey also stressed that this tremendous potential for Alabama (and its citizens individually) only increases as unity does the same. With a tribute to the Civil Rights history of the state – and specifically Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. having spoken mere yards from where the inauguration stage stood – Ivey said that Alabamians of all races, party affiliations, socioeconomic backgrounds, genders and the like were moving forward together.

Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth also delivered a strong message to the same effect, with his mantra of “A New Day in Alabama.”

Gov. Kay Ivey delivers her inaugural address. (J. Poor/YHN)

Ivey specifically highlighted the leaders who have gotten the state to where it is today, Republicans and Democrats alike. But, as she preached throughout the campaign season, the work has only “just begun.”

“Today, all Alabamians – regardless of party affiliation – have the chance to stand together, united, to help build a brighter future and guarantee that our best days are still in front of us,” she commented.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we can all be grateful for this progress,” Ivey emphasized. “But make no mistake – we’re not done yet. We’ve only just begun!”

An Ivey-led Alabama, the governor said, is one that reaches for the stars just as Huntsville’s world-class aerospace industry propels us to Mars and beyond. It is one that breaks into new modern economic drivers, like the automotive industry continues to do and just as Mobile is poised to achieve with aviation manufacturing.

With Ivey’s lofty goals come significant “opportunities,” as she called them, rather than deeming them as “challenges.”

Perhaps the largest one in the coming legislative session that convenes March 5 is infrastructure. Ivey spoke on the issue at length, advocating strongly for increased funding for roads, bridges, waterway maintenance and rural broadband.

She advised, “Improving our infrastructure is more than an investment in our roads and bridges. It’s an investment in economic development, public safety and local communities. Now is the time to increase our investment in infrastructure – now is the time to solve this problem!”

Ivey called on the legislature directly to take on this opportunity – and other important ones like the state prison system and education – with her. She told the assembled legislators that they have the unique chance to be the “most impactful” legislature in the state’s storied history.

“Let’s face it. The challenges we confront today didn’t just arrive on our doorstep,” Ivey remarked. “Likewise, they’ll not go away in weeks or even months, but if we work on them together, Democrats and Republicans, then today’s challenges can be looked upon as tomorrow’s accomplishments.”

“With your help – and with God’s amazing grace – the next four years will not only mark the beginning of our third century, they’ll be the foundation for our best years to come,” the governor added, speaking to each and every Alabamian in the crowd and at home.

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

2 days ago

Montgomery gears up for Ivey inauguration

(S. Ross/YHN)

MONTGOMERY — Governor Kay Ivey and the other officials elected to statewide constitutional offices in November’s general election will be sworn into office on Monday.

This festive day will feature much pomp and circumstance, as people from across the Yellowhammer State gather in Montgomery to celebrate.

The co-chairs of Ivey’s inaugural committee explained that they “want to take a moment to acknowledge and ask the Lord for wisdom, reflect and commit to uphold the duties and ideals outlined in our Constitution and celebrate the progress yet to come.”

Schedule of events as follows:

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Inauguration Day – Monday, January 14

8:15 a.m.: Prayer service at First Baptist Church Montgomery
(Invitation only)

10:00 a.m.: Swearing-in ceremony at Alabama State Capitol steps

12:00 p.m.: Parade starts at Alabama State Capitol

7:00 p.m.: Inaugural Gala
(Invitation only)

The theme of the inauguration is “Keep Alabama Growing.”

“In less than a year and a half, Governor Ivey led Alabama to record job growth, improved education and set Alabama on a path of prosperity,” the co-chairs said in a joint statement.

They continued, “The 2019 Inaugural theme, Keep Alabama Growing, underscores Governor Ivey’s promise to build upon these successes and grow more opportunities for Alabamians. We’re inspired by Governor Ivey’s bold vision for Alabama and look forward to celebrating this exciting new era.”

Ivey is the 54th governor of Alabama. Monday will kick off her first full term as the state’s chief executive.

Lt. Governor-elect Will Ainsworth, Attorney General Steve Marshall, Secretary of State John John Merrill, Agriculture Commissioner-elect Rick Pate, State Treasurer-elect John McMillan and State Auditor Jim Ziegler will also be sworn into their respective offices.

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

2 days ago

Ivey’s Gulf Coast celebration concludes statewide pre-inauguration tour

(Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

On Saturday, Governor Kay Ivey wrapped up a statewide tour at The Lodge at Gulf State Park, where she held her Gulf Coast celebration featuring platinum recording artist Neal McCoy.

In the week leading up to the celebration, Ivey traveled to First Class Pre-K classrooms in Pine Hill, Mobile, Huntsville and Birmingham promoting children’s literacy. In each city, the governor read and distributed copies of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Where The Wild Things Are” to local children.

Governor Kay Ivey, as part of the 2019 inaugural initiative to promote children’s reading, visited a First Class Pre-K class at E.R. Dickson Elementary Wednesday January 9, 2019 in Mobile. (Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)

At the Gulf Coast event, more than 800 Alabamians joined in celebrating the inaugural period, including Lt. Governor-elect Will Ainsworth, Attorney General Steve Marshall, Secretary of State John John Merrill, Agriculture Commissioner-elect Rick Pate, State Treasurer-elect John McMillan, State Auditor Jim Ziegler and Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft.

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As part of the governor’s efforts to promote children’s literacy, attendees were encouraged to bring four children’s books.

At the end of the festive evening, Ivey inaugural committee co-chair Dr. Cathy Randall said, “I want to thank our guests, along with the generosity of Books-A-Million and the Alabama Farmers Federation for being a part of the Governor’s efforts to promote children’s literacy throughout the inaugural festivities. I am thrilled to share that nearly 2,000 books were donated to the Alabama Literacy Alliance!”

The inaugural committee will be hosting an additional book drive to benefit the Alabama Literacy Alliance at the inaugural gala on Monday evening.

Governor Kay Ivey, as part of the 2019 inaugural initiative to promote children reading, visited a First Class Pre-K class at Providence Elementary School Thursday January 10, 2019 in Huntsville. Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)

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

2 days ago

Ivey comments on ‘heartbreaking’ murder of Birmingham police officer, Sgt. Wytasha Carter

(Blue Lives Matter/Twitter)

Governor Kay Ivey released a statement after one Birmingham Police Department officer died and another was critically wounded  in the line of duty early Sunday morning.

“We began today with the heartbreaking news that Birmingham Police Sergeant Wytasha Carter was killed in the line of duty and a second officer still remains in critical condition,” Ivey said.

“On behalf of the entire state of Alabama, I offer my deepest sympathies and prayers as we all mourn the death of Sergeant Carter, which came far too soon. This is a terrible loss for Sergeant Carter’s loved ones, his fellow law enforcement officers and our entire state. Let us keep Sergeant Carter, his wife and children close to our hearts during this difficult time,” the governor continued.

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Ivey added, “I offer my fervent prayers to the second officer still fighting to stay alive. I also pray for the doctors, nurses and staff working to help this officer survive the tragedy. To this officer, know that the people of Alabama stand behind you.”

“We must never forget the tremendous sacrifice that our law enforcement make each and every day. We certainly will always remember Birmingham Police Sergeant Wytasha Carter and his ultimate sacrifice for the people of Birmingham who he served so well,” Ivey concluded.

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

2 days ago

One police officer killed, another critically wounded in Birmingham shooting

(CBS 42/YouTube)

The Birmingham Police Department has confirmed that one officer has died and another is in critical condition after being shot in the line of duty.

Per WBRC, Birmingham PD Chief Patrick Smith confirmed the shooting occurred at approximately 1:59 a.m. Sunday in the 900 block of 5th Avenue North as the officers were investigating two suspects during an apparent vehicular burglary in progress.

The police department has since confirmed that Sergeant Wytasha Carter was the officer killed in the line of duty.

A press release from Birmingham PD described Carter’s career of service spent protecting the people of Alabama.

The release follows:

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Sergeant Carter began his law enforcement career in 2002 as a correctional officer with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. Later that year he joined the Leeds Police Department where he served as an officer. In 2007, Sergeant Carter joined the Fairfield Police Department until transferring to the Birmingham Police Department.

Sergeant Carter is a 1993 graduate of Phillips High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Belford University. He also served in the United States Air Force. He is survived by his wife and children.

WBRC also noted that Carter was one of three officers who rushed into a house fire to save two little girls in 2016.

Sgt. Wytasha Carter

“The main thing is that we’re here for them. We’re going to do everything that we can to support them,” Smith said of Carter’s family. “This is a very difficult time. There are members of the department who have worked with them for years. They are hurting like everyone else.”

An extensive investigation into the Sunday morning shooting is underway and being led by the State Bureau of Investigation, but Chief Smith did outline the basics of what was immediately known.

One suspect shot the two officers after a pat-down revealed he was armed.

One suspect is currently in custody and another was shot and hospitalized.

Officials are not sure if there is a third suspect outstanding.

“This is one of the roughest hours of your career. There’s not a chief, not an officer, that ever wants to have to deal with this,” Smith said. “This is a very, very difficult thing for the family. A very difficult thing for the department.”

The chief explained that there have been vehicle thefts and burglaries in the area and that the officers were working an investigation at the time of the shooting. It was not immediately clear if the rash of break-ins are related to the shooting.

Public officials in the Birmingham metro area, as well as law enforcement officers across the state, released statements after the shooting Sunday.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin called for prayers for Carter’s family, as well as the wounded officer.

“Join me in praying for the family of the Birmingham Police officer killed early this morning, and the officer who is currently in the hospital. They were shot while serving and protecting our city. Two suspects are currently in custody. Birmingham police continue to investigate this case,” Woodfin said on Facebook.

Woodfin added, “As a city, we stand with the families of these officers and the Birmingham Police Department at this tragic time.”

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town of the Northern District of Alabama released the following statement:

This tragedy is a heartbreaking reminder of the dangers all law enforcement face while we sleep. While they keep us safe. While they do the job. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the officers, the officer still fighting for life, and the fallen officer whose end of watch came much too soon.

The Birmingham City Council released the following statement:

On behalf of the Birmingham City Council, please join me in lifting up our thoughts and prayers for the families of the officers shot this morning, as well as the men and women of Birmingham Police Department. Our officers make many sacrifices to keep us safe. Early this morning one officer made the ultimate sacrifice and another of our officers is still in critical condition.

The Birmingham City Council stands with the law abiding citizens, families, and victims, and will cooperatively work with Mayor Woodfin and other law enforcement agencies to combat this senseless act of violence.

Attorney General Steve Marshall tweeted, “Alabama lost a police officer, another is critically injured in Birmingham. We stand with them and their families.”

In an official statement, Mayor Woodfin added, “Sgt. Wytasha Carter laid down his life for the city he served. This husband and father was a true public servant and will be honored by each of us.”

Woodfin said, “As this investigation continues, I ask that everyone pause and reflect on how our Birmingham police officers go out every day to protect our community.”

“We also remain in prayer for the second officer who was shot along with Sgt. Carter. He is currently in critical condition,” the mayor advised.

Woodfin continued, “As the scripture teaches us, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'”

“Each day, Birmingham police officers risk their lives when they report for duty,” Woodfin concluded. “This is a time of mourning for our city, but please know our police officers will be dedicated to justice and continued service for the people of Birmingham.”

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

4 days ago

Ivey remains nation’s third most popular governor heading into inauguration

(YHN, Gov. Kay Ivey/Flickr)

New polling released by Morning Consult shows that Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) continues to be the nation’s third most popular chief executive as her Monday inauguration draws near.

For the final quarter of 2018, Ivey’s numbers were strong. With the survey measuring registered voters’ opinions from October 1 -December 31, the governor’s approval ratings were barely scratched by her electoral battle against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walt Maddox.

The poll showed that 63 percent of Alabamians approve of Ivey’s job performance, while only 19 percent disapprove and 18 percent either do not know or have no opinion. The margin of error in the polling was one percent.

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Ivey’s latest numbers reflect a net approval rating drop of only three percent from quarter three of 2018. Quarter four polling occurred in the month leading up to and the immediate aftermath of the November general election.

This is the fifth quarter in a row in which Ivey was listed by Morning Consult as the third most popular governor in America.

Nine out of the top 10 most popular governors in the nation are Republicans.

Ivey’s inauguration will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol. The inaugural parade throughout downtown Montgomery will follow at noon.

The theme of the inauguration is “Keep Alabama Growing,” and given Ivey’s approval rating, it seems to resonate strongly with Alabamians.

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

4 days ago

Maori Davenport has been ‘consulting with God’ throughout AHSAA ordeal

(USA Basketball)

Throughout USA Basketball and Charles Henderson High School star Maori Davenport’s ongoing saga with the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), she has leaned on her faith to carry her through and find the silver lining in a trying time.

Davenport’s mother explained in a Facebook post, “I have always told Maori to glorify God with her talents, and she will never go wrong.”

She added, “Even though it seems that her world is turned upside down. She is still consulting with God! What more can a mother ask for!?!”

The basketball phenom’s mother also shared a heartwarming text message exchange between the two.

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Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan, who presides over Pike and Coffee Counties, on Friday issued a temporary restraining order against the AHSAA, meaning Davenport will at least temporarily be able to play again.

The TRO came hours after the Davenport family filed a lawsuit against the AHSAA.

The association, which deemed the star player in Troy ineligible for her senior season, has been heavily criticized by national media and sports figures, as well as members of the Alabama State Legislature.

Davenport is eligible to play in Friday night’s home game against Ozark’s Carroll High School. She will continue to be eligible to play pending a hearing in Reagan’s courtroom. A hearing date has yet to be set.

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

4 days ago

Alabama judge rules Maori Davenport can play while lawsuit against AHSAA is reviewed

(ESPN W/Facebook)

Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan in Pike County has issued a temporary restraining order against the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), meaning USA Basketball and Charles Henderson High School star Maori Davenport will at least temporarily be able to play again.

The TRO was first reported by Alabama Daily News and came hours after the Davenport family filed a lawsuit against the AHSAA on Friday.

“We’re aware of the litigation and in discussions to formulate an appropriate response,” AHSAA spokesman Ron Ingram told Alabama Media Group.

The association, which deemed the star player in Troy ineligible for her senior season, has been heavily criticized by national media and sports figures, as well as members of the Alabama State Legislature.

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After the ruling, Davenport’s mother said, “Thank you, God.”

The star player is eligible to play in Friday night’s home game against Carroll. Davenport will continue to be eligible to play pending a hearing in Reagan’s courtroom. A hearing date has yet to be set.

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

5 days ago

Polling shows Doug Jones’ approval plummeted in 2018

(SenateDemocrats/YouTube)

New polling released by Morning Consult on Thursday shows that Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) entered 2019 with a net approval rating 17 points lower than the first quarter of 2018.

Jones’ current numbers, which cover the final quarter of 2018, stand at 40 percent of Alabamians approving and 35 percent disapproving. 25 percent do not know him or have no opinion. The poll had a margin of error of only one percent, surveying registered voters.

The numbers reflect the first public polling conducted after Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Regarding the difference between the third and fourth quarters of 2018, Morning Consult explained that Jones “saw an 8-point drop in his net approval.”

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“Since the first quarter of 2018, his net approval has dropped 17 points,” the research technology company added.

You can read more about the methodology here.

On the other hand, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) continues to enjoy a low disapproval rating and especially strong net approval rating. Of Alabama’s senior senator, 47 percent of Alabamians approve, only 27 percent disapprove and 25 percent have no opinion.

Jones is expected to face a tough re-election fight in 2020.

Stuart Rothenberg, a prominent national political analyst, wrote for Roll Call this week that Jones starts “as a heavy underdog for re-election.”

He added, “I don’t think Jones has much chance at all of holding on to his seat next year. Simply put, his special election win was a fluke, not likely to be repeated.”

That prediction came with an important caveat: “Obviously, Jones’ prospects would improve if the Republicans select another damaged Senate nominee.”

“Jones’s special election victory was entirely due to Moore’s nomination,” Rothenberg explained.

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

5 days ago

Kobe Bryant on Alabama’s Maori Davenport: ‘Let her play!’

(Wikicommons, ESPNW/Instagram)

Thursday evening, NBA legend Kobe Bryant came to the defense of Maori Davenport, the USA Basketball and Charles Henderson High School star from Troy who has been deemed ineligible for her senior season by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (ASHAA).

Bryant tweeted, “This #MaoriDavenport situation is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in youth basketball. Let her play!”

Bryant joins a growing list of national sports and media figures vocally supporting Davenport, who even appeared on Good Morning America this week.

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You can read the latest about how the Alabama legislature is handling the situation here.

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

5 days ago

Roby on border security: ‘We are in the midst of a real crisis, and we must act now’

(Rep. Roby/Facebook)

On Thursday, Representative Martha Roby (AL-2) spoke on the House floor to underscore the severity of the situation at the southern border, saying, “We are in the midst of a real crisis, and we must act now.”

Roby highlighted the reality that the conversation surrounding the nation’s illegal immigration problem has been going on for far too long and called for swift action to finally address the issue.

“Here in Congress, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are talking about this issue as if it’s something new – but this is not a new issue,” Roby outlined. “For the past decade, the people I represent in Southeast Alabama have consistently expressed to me their frustrations with our country’s illegal immigration problem.

She concluded, “We must use every tool available to enhance our border security, and we must do it now. We cannot wait another decade.”

Watch:

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The full text of Representative Roby’s remarks as prepared follows:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to underscore the severity of the situation at our southern border. We are in the midst of a real crisis, and we must act now.

In the last two months, our Border Patrol has apprehended roughly 140,000 illegal immigrants on the Southwest border. This is an increase of 86% over the same period last year.

Additionally, there were more than 25,000 families apprehended last November. This is the highest monthly number ever recorded by the Border Patrol.

Mr. Speaker, here in Congress, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are talking about this issue as if it’s something new.

But this is not a new issue.

For the past decade, the people I represent in Southeast Alabama have consistently expressed to me their frustrations with our country’s illegal immigration problem.

We must use every tool available to enhance border security, and we must do it now. We cannot wait another decade.

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

5 days ago

Alabama Senate GOP Caucus names Chambliss floor leader

(Sen. C. Chambliss/Facebook)

On Thursday, Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) announced that state Senator Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) has been named majority floor leader for the Republican caucus.

“Senator Chambliss is a proven leader who has a deep grasp of the Senate’s rules and procedures. Most importantly, he has the respect of his Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” Reed said in a press release.

“Senator Chambliss has done an outstanding job as co-chairman of the Joint Legislative Task Force for Budget Reform. As we move forward in this new legislative term, he will help the Republican Caucus and the entire Senate operate efficiently as we continue to reform state government, strengthen education, and improve Alabama’s infrastructure,” Reed added.

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Chambliss represents District 30 in the Alabama Senate, which is comprised of all or parts of Autauga, Elmore, Chilton, Coosa and Tallapoosa counties. He was first elected to the state Senate in 2014 and re-elected without opposition in 2018.

“The State Senate is a unique institution, where 35 people have the privilege of representing the views and interests of nearly 5 million Alabamians from 67 counties,” Chambliss said. “Those views and interests must be heard, organized, and delivered to Senate leadership in a timely manner. It is an honor to be named Majority Floor Leader and I look forward to serving my colleagues in this new role.”

Chambliss is a member of the senate’s Committee on Finance & Taxation General Fund, Committee on Government Affairs, Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development and Committee on Children, Youth & Human Services for the 2019-2022 quadrennium. He is also the chair of the three-member Committee on Local Legislation (LL1).

Full senate committee assignments can be found here.

The regular session of the Alabama Legislature begins on March 5.

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

5 days ago

Bill to provide AHSAA accountability officially prefiled

(AHSAA, K. South/Facebook)

State Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) has officially prefiled his heavily supported bill to bring public oversight and accountability to the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) moving forward.

Representatives can prefile bills for the legislature’s regular session that begins on March 5 now since the House’s organizational session adjourned sine die on Wednesday.

South’s prefiled bill has been dubbed HB19 and informally referred to the House’s committee on state government. Once the regular session convenes, the bill will formally be referred to the same standing committee.

The bill currently has 90 House cosponsors, plus South. The chamber is comprised of 105 members.

Cosponsors include Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) and Majority Whip Danny Garrett (R-Trussville), as well as the committee on state government’s chair and vice chair, state Reps. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) and Chris Sells (R-Greenville) respectively.

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You can find a copy of the bill here, along with a list of all cosponsors.

While it may be too late to save USA Basketball star Maori Davenport’s senior season at Charles Henderson High School in Troy, South is attempting to fix a problem that he views as much more than an isolated poor decision by the AHSAA.

South’s legislation would do three main things.

First, it would mandate that any rules by the AHSAA regarding a student athlete’s eligibility be reviewed and approved by the State Board of Education. This is directly addressing the type of situation that Davenport now faces.

South’s bill would also codify that 25 percent of the AHSAA governing body be appointed by the State Board of Education or the State Superintendent of Education. This composition would need to be put into place by January 1, 2020, and would provide public accountability throughout all aspects of the AHSAA’s governance.

Thirdly, the legislation would require that the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts audit the AHSAA in the same manner as it would a public agency.

On Thursday, the Alabama House Republican Caucus announced the unanimous endorsement of its 77 members for Maori Davenport’s immediate reinstatement by the AHSAA.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Lieutenant Governor-elect Will Ainsworth have called on the AHSAA to reinstate Davenport’s eligibility immediately, too.

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

5 days ago

Prominent tea party activist named Alabama Eagle Forum executive director

(Becky Gerritson/Facebook)

On Thursday, Eagle Forum of Alabama President Eunie Smith and Foundation President Jim Cooper announced Becky Gerritson as the conservative organization’s new executive director.

Gerritson has been a prominent activist in the state since founding the Wetumpka Tea Party in 2009. In 2016, Gerritson received Heritage Action Sentinel’s Firewall for Freedom Award. She was also named in Yellowhammer Multimedia’s 2017 regional Power and Influence List.

The tea party leader even gained national acclaim for her testimony before Congress after Obama’s IRS unfairly targeted the Wetumpka Tea Party and other organizations for their conservative beliefs. She has been lauded by conservative figures across the country, including Rush Limbaugh and Fox Business’ Stuart Varney.

“It is an honor to welcome Becky Gerritson as our Executive Director,” Smith said in a press release. “Becky is an effective conservative leader with a long history of championing the values that Eagle Forum exists to preserve. I have every confidence in Becky’s leadership abilities, and I believe that as Eagle Forum of Alabama Executive Director she will continue to be a bold and respected voice of conviction, principle, and informed policy in Alabama.”

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Gerritson was a Republican candidate for Congress in Alabama’s Second Congressional District in 2016, losing to Congresswoman Martha Roby in the primary by a margin of 66 percent to 27 percent.

“Eagle Forum has been an influential powerhouse of principled conservative thought and grassroots activism for decades,” Gerritson outlined. “I am thrilled to be on the leadership team of this incredible organization. As Alabama moves into 2019 and beyond, it is crucial that our principled conservative voice be stronger and more compelling than ever. I look forward to continuing the fight for our future and our republic with Eagle Forum of Alabama.”

Eagle Forum is a national organization founded by Phyllis Schlafly in 1972. Before passing away in 2016, Schlafly endorsed and praised Gerritson.

“Becky Gerritson is a proven leader. She understands that sound governance doesn’t mean just passing bills that the president will sign, as the current Congress continues to do,” Schlafly outlined. “She knows that sound governance means upholding and defending the Constitution, protecting the security of the American people, and defending the values that have made our country great.”

“Her dedication and passion for the conservative cause has been seen not only by Alabamians but by the nation as she has fearlessly and tirelessly fought against the progressive agenda and big government,” Schlafly added.

The stated mission of Eagle Forum of Alabama is to equip and activate citizens with timely information from a conservative, constitutional point of view on public policy issues that affect the family.

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

5 days ago

Alabama Human Trafficking Awareness Day to be held Friday

(END IT Alabama/YouTube)

The Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force is sponsoring the fifth annual Alabama Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Friday. This daylong initiative seeks to raise awareness about human trafficking in the Yellowhammer State.

The task force is also asking Alabama mayors to sign proclamations throughout January in observance of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Radio, television and printed media coverage across the state will help educate citizens about human trafficking in Alabama, raise awareness about human trafficking, outline victim identifiers and explain how to report potential human trafficking situations.

The purpose and agenda of the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force include the following:

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1. To combat all aspects of human trafficking, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
2. To pursue a comprehensive response to crimes of human trafficking.
3. To coordinate strategies to provide necessary services for victims of human trafficking.
4. To focus prevention efforts to end the demand for human trafficking and create
awareness through education and community initiatives.
5. To develop legislation to prevent, intervene, and treat human trafficking.

The Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force was established in 2014 and meets quarterly at the Alabama State House. Meetings are open to the public.

You can follow along with the task force’s ongoing efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday will pave the way for the Alabama Human Trafficking Summit to be held on Friday, February 8 in Montgomery. Additional details about the summit can be found here.

The Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force wants the public to be aware of the facts surrounding the issue, including the following:

• Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world (second only to drug trafficking).
• There are 27 million slaves in the world today—more than at any other time in the history of the world.
• It is estimated that 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked in the U.S. every year.
• Approximately $150 billion is generated worldwide through trafficking activities annually.
• The average age of a human trafficking victim is 12 years old.
• Although 79% of all sex trafficking victims are female, the number of
males being sexually exploited is rapidly rising.
• Within the first 48 hours of leaving home, one-third of runaway youths become the victims of human trafficking.
• I-20, I-85, I-10, and I-65 are major corridors for human trafficking. I-20 has been identified as the “super highway for human trafficking in the United States.” These interstates bring significant trafficking activity into Alabama and along the Gulf Coast where Alabama children travel for Spring Break every year.
• Huntsville sits in the middle of six human trafficking “hot spots:” Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Atlanta and Birmingham. This is one of many trafficking “circuits” across the United States.

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

5 days ago

Mo Brooks cosponsors seven new border security bills

(Mo Brooks/Twitter)

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) Thursday announced cosponsorship of seven border security bills at the outset of the newly convened 116th Congress, saying, “I put the interests of Americans above those of illegal aliens.”

An overview of federal crime data provided by Brooks’ office showed that roughly 117,500 illegal aliens are arrested for crimes committed on American soil each year. This includes approximately 2,000 homicides, 50,000 physical assaults and 15,000 sex crimes by illegal aliens each year.

Brooks’ office also noted that approximately 15,000 Americans die each year from heroin drug overdoses, with 90 percent of all heroin reaching America via its “porous” southern border. The heroin is often transported by drug cartels and illegal aliens acting as their “mules.”

In a press release, Brooks said, “I put the interests of Americans above those of illegal aliens. Countless Americans have been killed or otherwise victimized by illegal alien crimes. In addition to the murders, vehicular homicides, and deaths from overdoses on drugs from Mexico, illegal aliens take job opportunities from, and suppress the wages of, American workers.”

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“Worse yet, illegal aliens cost American taxpayers an estimated $116 billion per year in welfare and other costs. America’s immigration system is badly broken. I support sweeping policy reforms that put Americans first and stop the carnage wrought against Americans by illegal alien crime,” he added.

H.R. 32 by Congressman Warren Davidson (OH-8), the “Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act,” would allow the Secretary of the Treasury to accept public donations to fund the construction of a barrier on the border between the United States and Mexico.

H.R. 85 by Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-5), the “Fund and Complete the Border Wall Act,” would establish a separate account in the Treasury to hold deposits to be used to secure the southern border of the United States.

About H.R. 32 and H.R. 85, Brooks commented, “The United States averages a staggering 60,000 illegal border crossings per month. This foreign invasion must stop! I support building the border wall by any means necessary because, historically, walls have been proven to work! I have cosponsored H.R. 32 to help fund a border wall by allowing the United States Treasury to accept donations from the public for border wall construction and cosponsored H.R. 85 to help fund the border wall by diverting $2,000 per illegal alien from foreign aid otherwise paid to an illegal alien’s home country.”

H.R. 74, also by Biggs, known as “Grant’s Law,” statutorily ends “Catch and Release” illegal aliens even when an illegal alien has been apprehended for certain enumerated crimes.

Regarding H.R. 74, Brooks outlined, “In January of 2015, American Grant Ronnenbeck was brutally murdered at a Mesa, Arizona convenience store by an illegal alien who was already a convicted felon and free on bond while facing deportation. If it weren’t for the Obama Administration’s Catch and Release policy, Grant Ronnenbeck would be alive today. H.R. 74 ends the practice of catch and release for known, dangerous illegal aliens.”

H.R. 140 by Congressman Steve King (IA-4), the “Birthright Citizenship Act,” amends Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.

About H.R. 140, Brooks said, “According to the Pew Research Center, about 6% of all births in the United States (250,000 births a year) are to illegal aliens. Absurdly, those children born to illegal aliens in the United States are automatically granted United States citizenship.”

“What’s worse, through chain migration, the parents of citizens are able to gain legal status and eventually become naturalized citizens themselves,” he continued. “Illegal aliens broke our laws when they came here and at the very least should not be rewarded for their crimes with citizenship.”

“I have cosponsored H.R. 140, the Birthright Citizenship Act, so the children of illegal aliens born in the United States will not automatically be given citizenship, thereby discouraging illegal alien adults from breaking American laws solely for the purpose of giving birth to a child that, in turn, becomes the anchor that allows illegal aliens to stay in America and, thus, be rewarded for their illegal conduct,” Brooks explained.

H.R. 147 by Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-3), the “Visa Overstay Enforcement Act,” amends “The Immigration and Nationality Act” to penalize aliens who overstay their visas.

On H.R. 147, Brooks advised, “According to the Department of Homeland Security, there were more than 700,000 visa overstays in Fiscal Year 2017. Once a non-citizen’s visa expires they become an illegal alien and should face stiff penalties for illegally remaining in America. I have cosponsored H.R. 147 that allows stiffer fines and imprisonment for repeat offenders.”

H.R. 153 by Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-3), the “Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act,” prohibits the receipt of federal financial assistance by sanctuary cities.

Regarding H.R. 153, Brooks outlined, “Sanctuary cities endanger American lives by encouraging and shielding illegal alien conduct. For example, Kate Steinle was killed in sanctuary city San Francisco by an illegal alien who had been previously deported five times. The federal government should use every arrow in its quiver to combat sanctuary policies which thumb their nose at immigration law enforcement. I am proud to cosponsor H.R. 153 to prohibit federal funds from going to sanctuary cities.”

H.R. 250 by Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42), the “Legal Workforce Act,” amends “The Immigration and Nationality Act” to make mandatory and permanent requirements relating to use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system.

About H.R. 250, Brooks said, “In addition to America’s expensive welfare system, another major enticement for illegal aliens to violate our laws is the prospect of a job. I have cosponsored H.R. 250, which makes the E-Verify program mandatory for all United States employers. If illegal aliens cannot get a job in America, they are less likely to illegally come here in the first place and much more likely to voluntarily deport themselves back to their home countries.”

For Brooks, this issue is a “crisis” – which is why he is putting so much emphasis on these bills.

Brooks concluded, “Few issues in Washington are more important to maintaining America’s national security and sovereignty than border security. A country without a border is no country at all. I will vote for and support border security bills that put American citizens first and oppose open-borders bills that favor amnesty and encourage more illegal entry into America.”

This came the day after Brooks made a speech on the House floor on border security, saying that ongoing negotiations over funding for a physical barrier on the United States’ southern border is a matter of life or death for “thousands of Americans each year.”

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

5 days ago

Byrne introduces bill to pay Coast Guard members, retirees during shutdown

(Congressman Bradley Byrne/Facebook, U.S. Coast Guard/Flickr)

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) Thursday announced legislation to ensure members of the Coast Guard and Coast Guard retirees are paid during the current partial government shutdown.

H.R. 374, known as the “Always Ready Act,” was formally introduced by Byrne on Wednesday and provides funding for active members of the Coast Guard and Coast Guard retirees. Byrne represents coastal Alabama and the Port of Mobile in Congress.

In a statement, Byrne said, “I’m proud of the strong Coast Guard presence we have in Southwest Alabama. These men and women work hard and put their lives in danger in order to keep the American people safe.”

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“As we continue to fight for stronger border security and work to resolve the government shutdown, I believe members of the Coast Guard should be paid just as other members of the Armed Forces are paid,” Byrne added. “I hope the House and Senate will act swiftly on my bill, the Always Ready Act, to ensure members of the Coast Guard and their families receive the pay they deserve.”

Byrne introduced the bill the same day he sent a letter to President Donald Trump praising his Tuesday night Oval Office speech to the nation on immigration and border security.

H.R. 374 has been referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.

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

5 days ago

Alabama House GOP caucus unanimously approves resolution urging AHSAA to reinstate Maori Davenport

(Rep. Wes Allen/Twitter)

This week, the 77-member Alabama House Republican Caucus unanimously approved a resolution urging the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) to immediately reinstate the eligibility of USA Basketball and Charles Henderson High School star Maori Davenport of Troy.

As the AHSAA continues to get battered by criticism over its decision to rule Davenport ineligible because of a mistake the association admitted was the fault of others, the House GOP members are making their thoughts known in unison. Davenport spoke to the caucus on Tuesday during the first day of the 2019 organizational session.

“After Maori Davenport appeared before our Caucus and very eloquently explained her situation, the 77 Republican members of the Alabama House stand ready to help her regain her eligibility in any way that we can,” House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) said in a press release. “Without exception, our legislators urge the AHSAA to immediately reinstate this impressive young woman who simply wanted to represent our country on an international level.”

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The resolution was sponsored by State Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy), who has helped champion Davenport’s cause since the AHSAA decision and arranged for her appearance at the Alabama State House.

“I am proud to stand alongside Maori Davenport as we work to rectify a situation that should have never occurred,” Allen advised. “Rather than being treated with the callous disregard shown by the AHSAA, young athletes like Maori should be encouraged, supported, and praised.”

The text of the House Republican Caucus Resolution, a copy of which will be sent to the AHSAA and its executive director, Steve Savarese, reads as follows:

Whereas the Alabama House Republican Caucus holds a 77 – 28 supermajority in the House of Representatives; and,

Whereas the Republican supermajority maintains the overwhelming and prevailing opinion among members of the Alabama House; and,

Whereas Charles Henderson High School basketball standout Maori Davenport’s athletic skills and talents earned her a spot on the Team USA roster and a gold medal at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship; and,

Whereas the USA Basketball program regularly sends a stipend to players who compete for its teams but failed to first check with governing sports officials in Alabama before compensating Davenport; and,

Whereas the 18-year-old Davenport responsibly self-reported the oversight and immediately returned the stipend as soon as it was discovered the check sent to her by USA Basketball exceeded the allowed limit in Alabama; and,

Whereas the Alabama High School Athletic Association ruled Davenport ineligible to play this season in spite of her sincere and timely efforts to rectify a situation that was no fault of her own; and,

Whereas the AHSAA stubbornly refuses to demonstrate empathy and reconsider its decision despite a state and national outcry on Davenport’s behalf by advocates and supporters of amateur athletics; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that we, the members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus, hereby urge the Alabama High School Athletic Association and its director, Steve Savarese, to reinstate Maori Davenport’s amateur eligibility without delay and take significant steps to ensure that no other student athlete is subject to such callous, unfair, and unjust treatment in future situations of similar circumstance should they arise.

State Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) has also drafted a bill that would bring oversight and accountability to the AHSAA. His bill has bipartisan support and was cosponsored by 87 of the 105 House members as of Tuesday.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Lieutenant Governor-elect Will Ainsworth have called on the AHSAA to reinstate Davenport’s eligibility immediately, too.

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

6 days ago

Mo Brooks: Ocasio-Cortez ‘somewhat nutty,’ ‘has a low respect’ in DC by GOP and Dems

(60 Minutes/YouTube, Congressman Mo Brooks/Facebook)

In a Wednesday interview on Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show,” Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-5) criticized freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), calling her “somewhat nutty” and advising that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have “low respect” for her.

Host Matt Murphy asked Brooks to respond to remarks Ocasio-Cortez made following President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night Oval Office address. Ocasio-Cortez said those coming across the United States’ southern border illegally were “acting more American than any person who seeks to keep them out ever will be.”

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The Republican from north Alabama did not hold back in his criticism of the Bronx Democrat.

“I’m not sure who she is referring to,” Brooks told Murphy. “She is somewhat nutty. She has a low respect in Washington, DC by both parties, I might add.”

Brooks continued, “However, she does have influence with a significant segment of the American public, particularly the far left-wing radical segment of the Democratic Party. And so, you cannot ignore her voice. She is also very symbolic of where the Democratic Party as a whole is headed nationally.”

“If you want people up here who care more about illegal aliens than dead Americans, and higher taxes on Americans to support through welfare illegal aliens and their families, then Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is who you want to elect. Apparently in New York – those folks up there, they care more about illegal aliens than they do about Americans,” he said.

“And here’s the problem – we can’t afford it,” Brooks added. “We don’t have enough money to support the entire world. But that is the mindset of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and virtually every Democrat congressman and senator I’m aware of. There may be an exception, but if so that person is low in the foxhole because they don’t want the radical elements of the Democratic Party to know about it because they might lose their next Democrat primary.”


This came the same day that Brooks delivered a fiery House floor speech on border security, saying that ongoing negotiations over funding for a physical barrier on the United States’ southern border is a matter of life or death for “thousands of Americans each year.”

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

6 days ago

Airbus hiring 600 new employees for Mobile manufacturing facility

(A. Doumenjou/Airbus)

On Wednesday, Airbus posted its first manufacturing job openings for production of the A220 in Mobile.

In total, the company expects to hire approximately 600 new employees over the next 18 months.

The positions posted are the first wave of production jobs and include aircraft structure/installation mechanics, installers for aircraft cabin furnishings and aircraft electricians.

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In a social media post, Airbus outlined, “Successful candidates for all positions will participate in several weeks of training at AIDT and some candidates will receive on-the-job training in our Mirabel, Canada facility before returning to Mobile. Production on the first aircraft begins in Q3 2019.”

In addition to the positions for the new A220 production facility, Airbus is also hiring for similar production positions in its current A320 production facility in Mobile.

Job listings with full descriptions can be found here.

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) commented, “Southwest Alabama continues to thrive economically, led by strong investment from companies such as [Airbus] in our state. Alabama: 200 years strong, and getting stronger.”

State Senator Chris Elliot (R-Daphne) also celebrated the announcement, calling it “[m]ore great economic news for Coastal Alabama.”

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