The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

7 hours ago

Tuberville celebrates public charter schools — ‘Look forward to their continued success’

(Screenshot/YouTube)

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) this week co-sponsored a resolution honoring the 22nd annual National Charter Schools Week, which ends this Saturday.

The resolution was bipartisan and introduced by U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC).

“After spending 40 years recruiting students from high schools all over the country, I know the difference a quality education can make in a young person’s life. I’ve seen public charter schools give parents a valuable option for students in Alabama and across the country,” said Tuberville in a statement.

“Charter schools give educators more flexibility to teach in ways that best fit students’ unique needs, and studies show charter schools help close the achievement gap for our most at-risk students,” he concluded. “I’m grateful for the educators and administrators who have helped make charter schools available to students and parents, and look forward to their continued success in educating America’s next generation of leaders.”

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Nationally, 44 states — including Alabama — and the District of Columbia have public charter schools, with more than 7,500 schools serving approximately 3.3 million students.

Scott’s resolution congratulates “the students, parents, teachers, and leaders of charter schools across the United States for making ongoing contributions to education.”

The resolution notes that “high-performing public charter schools deliver a high-quality public education and challenge all students to reach their potential for academic success.”

“[P]ublic charter schools promote innovation and excellence in public education,” it continues. “[P]ublic charter schools throughout the United States provide millions of families with diverse and innovative educational options for the children of those families.”

The resolutions especially praises public charter schools for “making impressive strides in closing the academic achievement gap in schools in the United States, particularly in schools with some of the most disadvantaged students in both rural and urban communities.”

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

12 hours ago

State Rep. Stringer ousted from Mobile County Sheriff’s Office over ‘difference of opinion’ with sheriff; Blames pro-Second Amendment stance for removal

(Representative Shane Stringer- District 102/Facebook, YHN)

On Friday, the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office announced State Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Citronelle) was no longer serving as a captain for the department.

According to Mobile County Sheriff Office spokeswoman, Stringer was dismissed for his support of so-called constitutional carry, and Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran had a “difference of opinion” with the Mobile County Republican legislator.

Shortly after those reports surfaced, Stringer responded with his own press statement declaring himself “proud to stand in defense of the Second Amendment.”

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“The Second Amendment gun rights of Alabamians are under attack from a liberal federal government that is out of control and even from some factions right here at home,” Stringer said in a release. “After dedicating my life and career to law enforcement, losing a job because I stand in support of Alabama gun owners is certainly surprising, but nothing will discourage me from defending the constitutional guarantees promised to all of us as American citizens.”

Also, according to the release, Cochran notified Stringer, who served as the Satsuma Police Chief before winning his election in 2018 to serve in the State House, on Wednesday of his dismissal from the captain’s post in the department “because he is sponsoring ‘constitutional carry’ gun rights legislation.

HB618 would allow Alabamians to carry or conceal a pistol without first obtaining a permit from their local sheriff’s office, an effort that the state’s sheriffs have vociferously opposed in the past.

“The U.S. Constitution does not say you have a right to keep and bear arms as long as you pay what amounts to a gun tax in the form of permit fees,” Stringer said in the release. “It says you have the right to keep and carry firearms. . .period.”

“As a state legislator, I swore an oath to God that I would support the U.S. Constitution, and this legislation does just that,” he added. “And whether or not I am employed by the Mobile Sheriff’s Office, my heart and soul will always belong to the mission of enforcing the law and to my fellow officers who seek to protect the men, women, and children of Alabama.”

The bill has 11 other co-sponsors, including State Rep. Proncey Robertson (R-Mount Hope), who served as an officer in the Decatur Police Department.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

15 hours ago

Report: Environmental activists team up with socialists, sex workers in Birmingham

(GASP/Facebook)

According to a report published Thursday, left-wing Birmingham environmental group GASP is moving to support socialism and sex work in the Magic City.

Alabama Today reported that a rally is being planned in Birmingham to support sex workers, including prostitutes.

The first speaker listed for the event is reportedly GASP’s Nina Morgan, and the organization itself is set to have a table at the event alongside the local “Party for Socialism and Liberation.”

“Stated in their latest Facebook post is, ‘Without the economic, political, military and diplomatic backing of U.S. imperialism, the state of Israel would not last long,'” Alabama Today noted.

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Morgan is listed as GASP’s “Climate & Environmental Justice Organizer.”

“She became radicalized first and foremost by her parents, who were divorced but often had conversations with her and her twin brother about the social ills of the world. Further, her political analysis emerged during her time serving on the youth council of a reproductive justice initiative called the Alabama Alliance for Healthy Youth,” GASP’s website advises.

The event, scheduled for June 6, is billed as an “International Sex Workers’ Day Rally.”

Per the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) website, the day is an annual event. One of the organization’s core values is, “Opposition to all forms of criminalization and other legal oppression of sex work.”

A flier promoting the event shows a police car in flames, smushed by a stiletto.

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

18 hours ago

Huntsville-based Torch Technologies awarded $722M U.S. Army contract

(Torch Technologies/Twitter)

Huntsville-headquartered Torch Technologies this week announced a $722 million contract award from the federal government.

The task order comes via U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Aviation and Missile Center (AvMC) Systems Simulation Software and Integration Directorate (S3I) for Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Aviation and Missile Systems. The order has a five-year period of performance and will be executed primarily in the Rocket City.

According to a press release, the Torch team will develop and apply models and simulations to aviation and missile system analysis ensuring warfighter readiness and future capabilities are realized.

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Torch will reportedly supply cost-effective solutions that facilitate readiness and technological dominance of the Army’s current and future force.

“Torch is pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with the DEVCOM AvMC S3I M&S customers,” stated Torch president and CEO John Watson. “We are proud to be a part of their important mission to provide weapons development and modernization support to our warfighters.”

A 100% employee-owned business with more than 900 global employees dedicated to quality technical services, competitive costs and ethical business practices, Torch also has an Alabama presence at Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass. In 2019, Torch annual revenues were approximately $513 million.

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

1 day ago

Shelby, Tuberville introduce ‘Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area Act’

(Senator Tommy Tuberville, Senator Richard Shelby/Facebook, YHN)

U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Thursday introduced legislation to establish the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area, authorizing nineteen counties in the Black Belt as a National Heritage Area (NHA).

The bill – titled the “Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area Act” – would allow federal funding to be directed to the designated region over the span of 15 years.

The intended heritage area includes the following counties: Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, Washington and Wilcox. The legislation names the Center for the Study of the Black Belt at the University of West Alabama (UWA) as the local management entity. The designation of a local entity, like UWA, ensures its ability to address the interests and needs of those in the surrounding communities.

“Designating Alabama’s Black Belt region as a National Heritage Area will not only help generate tourism and economic activity in the area, but it will also give the public a greater understanding of the natural, historical, and cultural assets our state has to offer,” stated Shelby, the vice chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “This legislation has the potential to impact several future generations and is an important step toward promoting and preserving the diverse resources that exist throughout the Black Belt’s 19 counties.”

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NHAs are partnerships between the National Park Service, states and local entities to protect and support conservation and public access. Through these public-private partnerships, NHAs create a diverse, community-driven approach to increase heritage conservation, economic development, recreation and tourism. Currently, the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area is the only NHA in the state.

“Alabama’s Black Belt region played a central role in both the history of our great state and our country,” said Tuberville. “We cannot lose sight of the Black Belt’s significant impact in the civil rights movement and the fact that this area is home to some of our state’s most celebrated cultural figures. That’s why I’m honored to join Senator Shelby to authorize these 19 counties in the state as a National Heritage Area. This designation will ensure we can protect this region’s historical significance for generations to come.”

U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell (AL-07), Mike Rogers (AL-03), Mo Brooks (AL-05), Jerry Carl (AL-01) and Barry Moore (AL-02) are expected to introduce a companion bill this week in the House. Shelby previously introduced similar legislation during the 113th Congress and the 116th Congress.

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

1 day ago

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer participates in ‘Back the Blue Bike Tour’ — ‘Proud to stand with our nation’s police officers’

(Congressman Gary Palmer/Twitter)

Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) on Thursday participated in House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) “Back the Blue Bike Tour” in Washington, D.C. to show support for law enforcement during National Police Week.

GOP members of Congress rode their bikes from the U.S. Capitol to the National Law Enforcement Memorial, where they laid wreaths in honor of fallen officers from their respective districts.

“It was an honor to join my colleagues in this ride to show support for our law enforcement officers. It’s more important than ever right now to show respect and appreciation for those courageous enough to step up to the task of serving as a police officer,” Palmer said in a statement.

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“These days, the media and radical left activists rush to cast police officers in the worst light,” he continued. “But the vast majority of law enforcement are honorable men and women with a genuine desire to protect their communities. I rode this morning in their honor and in solidarity with the family and colleagues of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to protect others. I thought particularly of the late Officer Nick O’Rear, a young officer from my district who fell in the line of duty last year. Officer O’Rear and the other men and women who gave their lives or were injured in the line of duty are true heroes. The men and women serving in our police departments across the nation deserve our support and gratitude. I’m proud to stand with our nation’s police officers and hope many people take the time to thank them for their service during this National Police Week.”

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

1 day ago

‘Finally’: Ivey applauds updated ‘common sense’ CDC guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated

(Pixabay, YHN)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday released updated COVID-19 guidance for individuals who have been fully vaccinated.

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after receiving the sole dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The CDC has been criticized recently for continuing to be overly restrictive with its guidance for those who are fully vaccinated. In Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey had already loosened the state’s health order — including ending the mask mandate — due to the widespread availability of vaccines and relatively low COVID case counts and hospitalizations. Alabama’s health order is set to expire entirely on May 31.

Now, the CDC is no longer advising fully vaccinated people to wear masks “in any setting” except where otherwise required.

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“You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic,” the CDC wrote regarding fully vaccinated individuals. “You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

Governor Ivey issued a statement following the release of the new CDC guidance.

“Finally, we are seeing some encouraging, common sense guidance from the CDC,” she said.

“Alabama certainly welcomes this good news that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks or maintain social distancing inside or outside, regardless of size,” Ivey continued. “We Alabamians have already embraced this idea, and I am glad the CDC has made it official. Aside from the COVID-19 vaccine being safe and effective, it is also allowing us to do the things we love and enjoy. Alabama is open for business. Alabama classrooms are open for students. Y’all, Alabamians are getting back to living. So, Alabama, roll up your sleeves and get the vaccine!”

RELATED: Alabama expands COVID vaccine eligibility to everyone age 12 and up

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

1 day ago

Alabama expands COVID vaccine eligibility to everyone age 12 and up

(Pixabay, YHN)

Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday announced Alabama is expanding COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to include individuals age 12 and older, effective immediately.

Only the Pfizer-BioNTech is approved for those ages 12 and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines both remain available to individuals 18 years of age and older.

This comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in adolescents, followed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices giving aligning recommendations Wednesday and the CDC giving its final approval later that same day.

“This is great and welcome news that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will now be available for Alabamians 12 and up, offering another option for families in our state as we get back into full gear. We have seen good success so far with these safe and effective vaccines, and I encourage parents and children to consult with your pediatrician if you have any questions,” Ivey stated.

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“The vaccine is our ticket back to normal, and I continue to feel optimistic and hopeful in the positive direction we are moving in as a state,” she added.

With this expansion, there will be more than 4 million eligible individuals in the state of Alabama. Currently, the state receives approximately 135,000 first doses each week, making the supply abundant to everyone who chooses to get vaccinated. As of May 12, 2,722,909 doses have been administered.

“We encourage the vaccination of adolescents ages 12 and older to get the protection offered by the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “This vaccine will be available at private providers and other sites which have Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine available.”

Visit vaccines.gov to search Alabama vaccine providers by vaccine brand offered.

RELATED: Tuberville continues call for Alabamians to get vaccinated — ‘Best way we can put this virus behind us’

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

1 day ago

Birmingham’s Southern Research appoints CEO, EVP

Dr. Josh Carpenter (left) and Allen Bolton (right).

Southern Research, the groundbreaking scientific discovery and research institution headquartered in Birmingham, on Thursday announced that its board of directors has appointed Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., as its new president and CEO, and Allen Bolton as its new executive vice president for Strategy and Finance.

Both appointments are effective June 1.

Founded in the Magic City in 1941, Southern Research is an independent, non-profit scientific research organization where more than 400 scientists and engineers work across three divisions: Life Sciences, Engineering, and Energy & Environment. Southern Research has attracted national research partnerships with leading industries in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, the environment and energy.

“Josh and Allen are forward-thinking leaders who are ready to chart a bold new course for Southern Research,” stated University of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray L. Watts, who is chairman of the Southern Research board of directors. “They have the full support of the Board as they begin to lead an amazing team of scientists, engineers and innovators who are working to solve problems and change the world for the better.”

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Southern Research generates over $150 million in annual economic impact and supports more than 1,000 Alabama jobs.

“The work of Southern Research results in life-changing advancements and innovative solutions,” said Southern Research board member Mark Crosswhite, who also serves as the chairman, president and CEO of Alabama Power Company. “Josh and Allen’s vision and expertise will play an important role in leading this institution forward as a continued center of excellence.”

Carpenter most recently served as director of Innovation and Economic Opportunity for the City of Birmingham, where he led the City’s efforts in workforce development, COVID recovery and business expansion. Previously, he served as the director of External Affairs at UAB. He earned his doctorate in political economy from the University of Oxford where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship.

“I am truly honored to take the helm of Southern Research and lead this incredible team that is finding solutions to improve people’s lives around the world. Southern Research has had 80 successful years, but I know the best is yet to come,” commented Carpenter.

Bolton most recently served as senior vice president for Finance and Administration at UAB, where he was also a member of the board for Southern Research. He was previously an executive in finance and strategy at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and was senior associate dean for Administration and Finance at the UAB School of Medicine as well as executive administrator at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the largest research center in the University of Alabama System.

“Discoveries made at Southern Research have provided breakthroughs in cancer research, pushed the boundaries of science and saved lives. I am grateful for this opportunity to work alongside dedicated and talented people who have an unmatched passion for science and discovery,” concluded Bolton.

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

2 days ago

Gov. Kay Ivey: ‘Alabama stands with Israel’

(Gov. Kay Ivey's Office/Contributed, Pixabay, YHN)

As terrorist group Hamas continues to escalate rocket attacks from Gaza, Governor Kay Ivey says Alabama is standing firmly with Israel.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland on Wednesday warned the worsening violent conflict could move “towards a full-scale war.”

Militants in Gaza have fired more than 1,000 rockets into Israel since Monday, killing or injuring hundreds of civilians. While Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system has intercepted many, some rocket attacks are still getting through. Approximately 130 rockets hit Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, even forcing Israel’s main international airport to close.

The violence comes as the Alabama Department of Commerce conducted a long-scheduled virtual trade mission with Israel that began on Monday and concluded Wednesday. The Department is set to conduct an in-person trade mission to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem later this year.

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“At a time when businesses face continued challenges globally and domestically, we are looking to deepen and strengthen ties with our long-term ally, Israel, which is a logical choice for a virtual trade mission,” explained Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield earlier this year.

“We have found that virtual events leading up to an in-person trade mission can be very beneficial in that they allow companies to make initial contacts, learn more about the market to be visited and pave the way for a more productive trip,” added Hilda Lockhart, director of the Office of International Trade for the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Alabama and Israel are established trading partners. Alabama’s exports to Israel in 2020 totaled $49 million, an increase of nearly 27% from 2019, per the Department of Commerce.

Private sector partners in Alabama have also put an emphasis on greater trade relations with Israel in recent years, as discussed in the 2019 “Doing Business with Israel: Opportunities for Alabama-Israel Technology Partnerships” forum in Birmingham. Key target sectors for U.S. exports to Israel include safety and security, health care, information and communication technologies, and defense.

In February, Governor Ivey also hosted newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan for a visit at the Alabama State Capitol. Erdan’s Alabama trip was his first official trip to the United States. He also visited with Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, as well as making stops at Montgomery’s Rosa Parks Museum and Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“I had the distinct honor of hosting Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the US. He is on a learning tour and will visit many of AL’s historic sites. As a Jew whose family was lost in the Holocaust, he is focused on civil rights of all people. Shalom, Mr. Ambassador!” Ivey tweeted in February. “I told him my trip to Israel several years ago was most memorable, and my Christmas and Easter celebrations have more meaning than ever. I hope he joins us again very soon.”

On Wednesday, Ivey tweeted her continued support for Israel.

Gina Maiola, spokesperson for Ivey, reiterated the governor’s support for Israel in a statement to Yellowhammer News.

“Governor Ivey and the state of Alabama have long been friends to Israel. Recently, the governor hosted Ambassador Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, in her office,” Maiola outlined. “His visit to Alabama was part of his tour of the southeastern United States, which was focused on civil rights. Ambassador Erdan and Governor Ivey had a great, free-flowing conversation.”

“Alabama was the first state in the country to recognize Israel as a country, and the governor has long been a supporter,” she noted. “In fact, she has been to Israel twice with her church, and she says that her visits were certainly eye opening, saying that being there helps connect the dots to stories she reads in the Bible.”

The spokesperson concluded, “Sure, she is not at the State Department or working in foreign affairs, but it is appropriate with Alabama’s longstanding relationship with Israel that she reaffirmed our position as an ally and friend. As Governor Ivey said this morning, Alabama stands with Israel.”

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

2 days ago

State Sen. Chambliss: Special sessions likely needed to tackle gambling, prisons

(Screenshot/APTV)

With just one day remaining on the 2021 regular session legislative calendar, buzz has been swirling of eleventh-hour heroics on gambling and prisons in the Alabama Legislature before the clock runs out early next week.

However, most say such a scenario that would include major legislation being enacted on the last day of this regular session is a long shot given the other business each chamber has on the agenda before adjourning sine die.

State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) is one of those skeptics of a significant breakthrough being made on either the gaming or corrections issues on the final day. During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” the Autauga County lawmaker says it may be necessary for Gov. Kay Ivey to consider a special session of the legislation to seek solutions on each of those issues.

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Chambliss, who does not consider himself pro-gambling but agrees the current system is unsustainable, suggested a group of lawmakers working after the sessions and reconvening in a special session with a better proposal versus a last-ditch effort on the final day of the 2021 session.

“Eleventh hour is very difficult,” he said. “We live in a republic, and there are mechanisms and maneuvers and rules and procedures that are used to try to block that type of thing, and that’s a good thing. Legislation should be difficult to pass.  It seems to me the best track forward would be a House and Senate group of diverse and bipartisan members sit down out of session, work through all the details, come to some type of agreement. Obviously, the Governor would need to be involved in that because she has control over a special session. Get all the details worked out, ironed out, then come into a five-day short special session to make it work. That would be, in my opinion, the way to do it if I were on the proponent side, and even on my side where I just want the proper controls — that in my opinion is the better way to do it, as well because when you’re in a regular session, there’s so many issues, so many other items that, you know, interact and relate, and prohibit, and people use as leverage — that kind of thing. That’s not necessarily wrong. It is what it is. That’s the way our system is set up, and doing it in a special session by itself is probably the better track.”

As Ivey’s lease-build prison proposal has run into unforeseen hurdles for financing options, Chambliss argued the situation required a special session out of urgency before the Department of Justice formally intervenes.

“[I] think if we get out of this session, if we don’t have a special session fairly soon after that, say June to address it — and again, if all of the financing fails on CoreCivic’s side — if we don’t have a special session at that point, I think the DOJ is going to be very serious about their next steps,” Chambliss added.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

2 days ago

Tuberville continues call for Alabamians to get vaccinated — ‘Best way we can put this virus behind us’

(Senator Tommy Tuberville/YouTube)

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Wednesday held his weekly press call, in which he delivered updates on pressing issues on the federal level.

Alabama’s junior senator discussed his new legislative effort to combat the border crisis, labor shortages seriously impacting Alabama businesses and Democrats’ attempt to federalize the elections process in every state.

Tuberville praised Governor Kay Ivey’s announcement this week that Alabama will opt-out of all federal unemployment benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the $300 weekly supplemental payments for individuals on unemployment.

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The freshman senator noted that he has been traveling the state to hear directly from Alabamians when the Senate is not in session in Washington, D.C.

“And the number one thing I have been hearing recently is that Alabama businesses are ready to hire again, but are struggling to fill job openings,” Tuberville advised. “Big time. These businesses are excited to … open their doors and play a part in getting some sense of normalcy back for our country. But we’re seeing would-be workers choose to accept enhanced unemployment benefits over choosing to accept the available opportunities to return to work.”

“There are 7.4 million job openings in the country, but Democrats would rather discourage folks from seizing the opportunity to go out and earn a living,” he continued. “That’s exactly what the current unemployment payments are doing.”

Tuberville stressed that it “is hard for small businesses to compete with” the federal supplemental unemployment payments, which will end in the state effective June 19.

“Some folks need this money, and that is fine,” Tuberville said of unemployment. “But it is clear our economy is roaring back to life, and we need to encourage people to seize the opportunity in front of them and go back to work. It’s just not for the now, it’s about building a future in the workforce again. We’ve got to continue to rebuild this country back.”

He subsequently mentioned legislation he has introduced entitled the “Back to Work Bonus Act.” This bill — for a limited time — would a provide one-time payment of either $1,200 (full-time) or $600 (part-time) to each unemployed worker who obtains employment, comparable to a hiring bonus.

“My message to folks listening back home who have struggled this past year with the economic burden of COVID, is that we are entering a new phase where vaccines are available and jobs are there for the taking. We have waited over a year for a moment like this, and we should all be jumping at the opportunity to safely return into the workforce and play a part in our country’s economic recovery,” Tuberville remarked.

Later in the call, he spoke more about the coronavirus vaccines — reiterating his longstanding call for Alabamians to get vaccinated.

“I cannot stress this enough,” Tuberville underscored.

“I continue to hear folks being hesitant to get their shot,” he outlined. “To those folks I say this: I’ve got mine, it was safe. My family has theirs. And it has been effective. Go to your doctor and ask questions. There are locations all over Alabama that are ready and willing and able to help you make a decision and then hopefully give you your shot.”

“Getting your shot is the best way we can put this virus behind us and get our country and our state back going again,” Tuberville concluded.

The senator is set to feature in public service announcements encouraging vaccinations, along with the likes of University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, basketball legend Charles Barkley and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.

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

2 days ago

FAA awards over $12M in grants to Alabama airports

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) on Wednesday announced that 12 local airports across Alabama will benefit from more than $12.28 million in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants.

The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation for various airport improvements to support infrastructure construction, safety advances, and equipment and land acquisition.

Each of the FAA grants are administered through the Fiscal Year 2021 Airport Improvement Program, which was funded in the annual appropriations package that was signed into law in December. Shelby was chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations at the time.

“This $12.28 million in FAA grant funding will improve airports – both large and small – throughout Alabama, paving the way for growth and increased investment in rural areas,” said Shelby in a statement.

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“Airport infrastructure impacts overall economic success, and as a result of this funding, twelve of Alabama’s airports will receive the upgrades and advances needed to continue serving communities and driving development,” he added.

A total of 13 grants were awarded to local airports in Alabama, amounting to $12,281,867 for the following airport projects:

  • Albertville Regional Airport-Thomas J Brumlik Field, Albertville, Alabama – $585,965 to reconstruct a taxilane and taxiway
  • Brewton Municipal Airport, Brewton, Alabama – $283,520 to seal apron pavement surface and pavement joints and to seal taxiway pavement surface and pavement joints
  • Cullman Regional Airport-Folsom Field, Cullman, Alabama – $180,000 to install weather reporting equipment
  • Cullman Regional Airport-Folsom Field, Cullman, Alabama – $4,000,000 to reconstruct a runway and runway lighting
  • Jeremiah Denton Airport, Dauphin Island, Alabama – $115,555 to rehabilitate a runway
  • Foley Municipal Airport, Foley, Alabama – $472,222 to seal runway pavement surface and pavement joints and to seal taxiway pavement surface and pavement joints
  • Isbell Field Airport, Fort Payne, Alabama – $902,388 to rehabilitate an apron
  • Geneva Municipal Airport, Geneva, Alabama – $264,935 to seal apron pavement surface and pavement joints and update the airport master plan
  • MacCrenshaw Memorial Airport, Greenville, Alabama – $388,888 to shift or reconfigure existing taxiway
  • Jack Edwards National Airport, Gulf Shores, Alabama – $166,666 to seal apron pavement surface and pavement joints and to seal taxiway pavement surface and pavement joints
  • Posey Field Airport, Haleyville, Alabama – $187,004 to install perimeter fencing
  • Huntsville International Airport-Carl T Jones Field, Huntsville, Alabama – $4,568,058 to rehabilitate an access road, taxiway, and terminal building; to seal taxiway pavement surface and pavement joints; and to conduct or update a study
  • Franklin Field Airport, Union Springs, Alabama – $166,666 to acquire land for development

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

2 days ago

Dorothy Davidson, pillar of Huntsville community, passes away

(Davidson Technologies/Contributed)

Dr. Dorothy S. Davidson, executive chair of Davidson Technologies, Inc., passed away peacefully at her home on Tuesday, the Huntsville company announced on Wednesday.

Davidson, 86, had fought a multi-year battle with cancer.

The company wrote the following of Davidson, a trailblazing member of the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame and one of the Tennessee Valley’s most beloved philanthropists:

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Davidson was a vanguard, not only for women in her field, but a pioneer within the engineering industry as a whole. She began her professional journey after earning her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in 1956. Throughout her storied career, she attained many accolades and achievements, but none as rewarding as assuming the role of CEO and Chairman of the Davidson Board of Directors following the death of her husband, Davidson Founder, Dr. Julian Davidson in 2013. She took great pride in both maintaining Davidson’s reputation of performance excellence, and in transforming the company into what it is today. She remained active in the daily business operations of the company until her final days.

Davidson was also a pillar of community philanthropy for more than 25 years, diligently donating her time and resources in support of dozens of organizations including Huntsville Museum of Art, where she funded the construction of the Davidson Center for the Arts; Huntsville Symphony; the Saturn V Restoration Executive Committee; The Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the US Space and Rocket Center; National Children’s Advocacy Center; Kids to Love Foundation; Calhoun Community College; Auburn University School of Engineering; Auburn University Museum of Art; Decatur’s Cook Museum, and Huntsville Botanical Garden, among others. Her servant-leadership, community stewardship, and altruism will be deeply missed.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center also released a statement on Dr. Davidson’s passing. She was a longtime member and former chair of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission (ASSEC), which governs the Space & Rocket Center.

Davidson first joined the efforts to restore the National Historic Landmark Saturn V rocket in 2004, and she and her husband made a significant contribution to build the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, which now houses the Huntsville-designed rocket and landmark.

Over her more than two decades of service to the Rocket Center, Davidson also served as chair of the ASSEC Development Committee and on the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Education Foundation board of directors.

“This is not only a great loss of a friend and mentor to the Rocket Center, but to so many in our community,” stated Brenda Carr, executive director of the Foundation. “She infused her spirit and enthusiasm in so many of us who had the great fortune to know and work with her. She and Julian made a lasting impact on this city and we are forever grateful.”

The Rocket Center will light the vertical Saturn V blue, the color of Davidson Technologies’ logo, to honor Dr. Davidson’s legacy of support for the Rocket Center and her community.

Read more about Davidson here.

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

2 days ago

Senator Shelby: ‘The rule of law must be restored for the good of this country’

(U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations)

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) on Wednesday tore into the Biden administration for selectively picking and choosing which laws to enforce based purely on political considerations — a mentality that Alabama’s senior senator emphasized is a direct threat to the rule of law in America.

Shelby’s comments came as opening remarks during the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ hearing focused on domestic violent extremism in the United States. During the hearing, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before the committee, of which Shelby is the vice chair.

“The rule of law – the very foundation upon which America was built – is paramount to our future as Americans and the future of our democracy. Selective enforcement of our nation’s laws erodes that foundation,” Shelby said.

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He underscored that “our country cannot afford to pick and choose the laws we enforce.”

Addressing Garland and Mayorkas, Shelby then lamented, “And yet, we watch that happen every day.”

“Domestic violent extremists threaten the rule of law,” the senator continued. “But so too does turning a blind eye to the flood of illegal immigration at our southern border.”

Shelby outlined his thoughts on both of those issues.

“First, violent extremism is a very serious topic. Unfortunately, many of my Democratic colleagues have sought to make it about politics and race. They would have the American people believe that all domestic violent extremists are far-right wing white supremacists, and that all Republicans are complicit in their actions,” he remarked. “Of course, both are false.”

“I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans watched the events of January 6 with shock and horror,” Shelby affirmed.

The Tuscaloosa County resident then alluded to seemingly selective outrage by many Democrats.

“I also believe that just as many watched the endless string of riots in cities across America last summer with the same emotions,” he continued.

“They saw Antifa thugs beat and intimidate innocent people,” Shelby explained. “They saw violent anarchists burn police cars and precincts and attack law enforcement officers. They saw far-left extremists hijack Seattle and destroy the livelihoods of so many small business owners. And they saw Black Lives Matter activists trash cities and loot businesses from coast to coast, night after night.”

Shelby emphasized, “None of these actions are excusable – not those of January 6 and not those of last summer. They are all wrong. They all violate the rule of law.”

“Yet in the face of this utter contempt for the rule of law, so many have chosen to stand idly by, excusing one while condemning another,” he decried.

“Such rationalization of inappropriate and even illegal behavior is dangerous, and I believe the American people see right through it. Moreover, it is dangerous for our leaders and law enforcement to focus on one threat to our nation while ignoring another. Such behavior raises questions as to whether justice is still blind and whether the rule of law still has meaning and force in America,” the venerable senator added.

He subsequently questioned whether the American people watching the hearing could believe that federal authorities take an apolitical approach to combatting violent extremism.

Shelby also called for the embrace of “a uniform approach to enforcing all the laws that are on the books.”

“That includes our immigration laws,” he stressed.

Shelby continued his remarks on the topic of immigration and the rule of law.

Partial transcript of his remarks as prepared, as follows:

Illegal immigration has long plagued this country. It undermines American sovereignty and makes a mockery of our immigration laws.

The failure to secure our border has for decades allowed the cartels, drug smugglers, and human traffickers to continue their practices largely unabated.

The Trump administration made a strong commitment to border security and achieved significant gains in restoring the rule of law along the Southern border.

Yet President Biden, in one of his first acts in office, halted construction of the border wall that was ongoing and announced plans to unwind the immigration policies put in place by the previous Administration.

Sections of border wall literally lay on the ground next to gaping holes in the existing barrier system.

Gates in the wall that need repair remain wide open and require Border Patrol officers to stand guard when they are needed in other hot spots along the border.

Essential technology such as sensors and cameras embedded in the border wall system have not been activated.

All of this while record numbers of individuals pour across the southern border.

The impact of these actions is not theoretical or abstract. Our border officials and facilities are overwhelmed. Tens of thousands of migrant children are in U.S. custody as we speak.

Moreover, this Administration has restored catch and release – setting thousands of illegal crossers free in cities and towns across America – without consequence for breaking the law.

And inexplicably, amid the ongoing crisis, the Justice Department recently rescinded restrictions on federal funding for sanctuary cities, which themselves embody contempt for the rule of law.

This action can have no other effect than further fueling the crisis by enticing those who seek to come here illegally.

More parents in desperate circumstances in Central American countries will pay human smugglers to drop their children off at the border because the prospect and promise of sanctuary just got brighter.

The ultimate source of law in America – the Constitution – provides Congress with the power of the purse.

Congress over the past few years has provided billions of dollars to the Department of Homeland Security for further construction of a border wall system, which includes functional gates and essential technology.

Yet the Biden Administration has blatantly ignored the will of the people to secure the border as expressed in duly enacted laws.

The rule of law must be restored for the good of this country.

It must govern whether we are talking about domestic violent extremism or illegal immigration.

It cannot come down in full force on one group of bad actors while giving a pass to others. And officials tasked with enforcing it cannot pick and choose which laws they will follow based on political considerations.

If those things happen, the rule of law will lose its meaning and force in America. And we as a nation will be in serious trouble.

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

2 days ago

Tuberville introduces bill to better empower state, local law enforcement to enforce immigration law

(Senator Tommy Tuberville/YouTube)

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Wednesday, joined by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), introduced the Empowering Law Enforcement Act to combat the Biden administration’s nullification of U.S. immigration laws.

The legislation would grant state and local law enforcement inherent immigration enforcement authority to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain or transfer a migrant that has entered the United States illegally. Additionally, this legislation would provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary flexibility on how long a criminal alien may be detained, extending the 180-day period to ensure violent criminals are not released back into communities.

This comes as Tuberville continues to vocally call out actions taken by the Biden administration to limit ICE’s enforcement of immigration laws, despite a record number of illegal border crossings, and the impact of this executive overreach on law enforcement and the safety and security of our nation. With federal law enforcement officers having their hands tied by the administration, Tuberville is attempting to allow state and local law enforcement to help combat the crisis.

“If the Biden Administration is insistent on taking away ICE’s ability to enforce our immigration laws, then we should make sure our state and local law enforcement has the authority to respond to the influx of illegal migrants in our communities,” stated Tuberville.

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“The Empowering Law Enforcement Act takes a twofold approach to addressing the intentional enforcement gap created by President Biden’s open border policies: first, by giving state and local officers the ability to enforce immigration laws when federal offices are prohibited from doing so, and second, by extending the detention period for dangerous criminal aliens while their removals are processed,” he advised. “The Biden Administration has failed our law enforcement at the expense of American communities, and this bill will remedy that moving forward.”

Specifically, the legislation would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to do the following:

· Delegate immigration enforcement authority to state and local law enforcement entities, including the ability to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer an alien into Federal custody.
· Permit the Secretary of Homeland Security to extend the detention of criminal aliens until removal from the U.S.
· Ensure that illegal migrants are detained in federal custody upon state or local law enforcement request.
· Reimburse state or local authorities for related incarceration and transportation costs.
· Promote immigration information sharing between DHS and the FBI for the benefit of state and local law enforcement.

Tuberville also discussed the legislation during his weekly press call on Wednesday morning.

WATCH:

RELATED: Tuberville cosponsors Stopping Border Surges Act — ‘Prevents the exploitation of our immigration laws’

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

3 days ago

U.S. Rep. Rogers on Liz Cheney ouster: ‘We’ve got to be fighting today’s fights and tomorrow’s fights, and not the fight of yesterday’

(House Homeland Security Committee Republicans/YouTube)

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is expected to be voted out of her position as House Republican Conference chairwoman, the third-ranking member of the House Republican caucus, and be replaced with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

The move by Republicans has drawn very vocal reactions from the media and other Democrats, who allege that Cheney’s removal is a product of the GOP’s blind allegiance to former President Donald Trump. Cheney had been a frequent critic of the 45th president and remained so beyond his presidency.

During an interview that aired on Tuesday’s broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks), the ranking Republican on the House Armed Service Committee, called Cheney “a close friend,” but acknowledged her comments about the January 6 incident on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. had a lot to do with her ouster. He argued Cheney should have had a more forward-looking focus in her leadership role.

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“Everybody sees it coming,” he said. “Liz is a close friend of mine, but she has made a decision that she is going to use her position as conference chairman not to just promote the position and point out the shortcomings of the Democrat majority and the Biden administration, but rather continue to relitigate what happened on January 6. It is not the job of conference chairman. It is to be the voice of our conference in talking about why we ought to be in the majority and why this majority is wrongheaded, the administration is not doing what the country needs. She has made this conscious choice. You know, we had a vote on this back. I think it was in February. And she survived. And everybody told her then, ‘We don’t care how you vote on the impeachment or any of that. That’s all behind us. You need to be talking about the conference goals and agenda.'”

“That’s what that position is all about,” Rogers added. “She has chosen not to do that. I fully expect [tomorrow] she is going to be recalled, and Elise Stefanik is going to be put in that position because we’ve got to be fighting today’s fights and tomorrow’s fights, and not the fight of yesterday. She just won’t turn loose of it. Now at this point, because she’s my buddy, and I hate that she’s taking this course of action — but she’s a very smart lady, and this is a conscious decision on her part.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

3 days ago

How the Regions Tradition led to Alabama’s star-studded vaccine PSAs

(Kyle Parmley, Regions Tradition/Facebook, YHN)

You already know the Regions Tradition’s reputation for competition. It’s the first major on the PGA TOUR Champions schedule in 2021, and it produces millions for charities.

But it’s also the place where things get done. And this year’s focus was intended to save lives.

The Bruno Event Team, which manages the Tradition, and the Alabama Department of Public Health used the annual Celebrity Pro-Am tournament as a stage to create a public awareness campaign encouraging Alabamians to get the COVID vaccine ASAP.

The idea, the pitch and the execution all came together in a week. And when approached, the centerpiece of the project agreed to participate without hesitation.

The centerpiece?

Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

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RELATED: College football’s biggest names turn out for 2021 Regions Tradition Celebrity Pro-Am

“Research told us you don’t use national celebrities,” said Gene Hallman of the Bruno Event Team, which produced the spots. “You use local doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Or you use local celebrities. And in this state, no one is better known than Coach Saban.”

In fact, according to a Montgomery pollster the Bruno team consulted, there’s no one more respected throughout the state than Saban. John Anzalone told the Wall Street Journal that Saban’s favorability rating is the highest in the state – 77 percent. That means that even Auburn fans who root against him each week still respect him.

Or, as Anzalone told the Wall Street Journal, “He is a God.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health reached out to the Bruno team to create a marketing campaign for the state’s underserved population, intending for the spots to motivate Black, Latino and tribal populations to get the vaccines. The public awareness videos will run on television and radio stations statewide, as well as on social media.

But as the campaign expanded, the goalpost moved. With federal and state grants provided for that specific reason, “we’re going to try to reach a very broad audience – the entire state,” Hallman said. “We’re not hammering people. We just want to provide an education on the science of the vaccine, so people can make an informed decision.”

And, since it’s Alabama, there’s also another lure: the opportunity to pack college football stadiums at 100% capacity next fall if enough people get vaccinated.

It’s not the first time the tournament known as the Regions Tradition proved to be a catalyst for change.

When the Champions Tour first came to Birmingham in 1992, Hallman’s group was called in to help with a very hush-hush operation. They were told an unnamed group of visitors from Europe, interested in bringing business to the U.S., would be coming to town to see what Alabama had to offer. No other information was provided, but they were to be shown a good time.

Only one problem.

The first tournament was held in August, a notoriously bad time for southern hospitality – at least for people used to cooler weather than the notorious sticky, 100-degree days. But, as luck would have it, an unusual cold front swept in at the start of the tournament, providing record low temperatures that created perfect temps for the visitors.

So, the secret entourage spent a week at the tournament, got to meet popular Champions Tour legend Chi Chi Rodriguez, and spent a day touring a large plot of land outside Tuscaloosa, less than an hour away …  land that would eventually become the site of Alabama’s first automotive manufacturing plant.

As for the vaccine spots, once Saban came on board others followed. The list includes an NBA legend, a college conference commissioner, a U.S. Senator and other coaches. All recorded their parts while participating in the Regions Tradition Pro-Am.

“We asked and they answered in two seconds,” Hallman said. “There was no hesitation. We got them all on camera that day.”

(Courtesy of Regions Bank)

3 days ago

Governor Ivey urges Alabamians not to panic-buy gas

(Pixabay, Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday spoke with the U.S. Department of Energy on a call regarding the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, which has caused a shutdown of the pipeline operations.

The pipeline, which is the largest system for refined oil products in the United States, is 5,500 miles long and can carry 3 million barrels of fuel per day between Texas and New York. It is operated by Colonial Pipeline Company, which is headquartered in Georgia.

The pipeline runs through Alabama, as people may remember from a Shelby County leak in 2016 that caused gas shortages in the region. The county is home to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm.

However, Ivey wants to assure Alabamians that the temporary pipeline shutdown should be resolved in the coming days and that any potential gas shortages have not reached the Yellowhammer State.

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“Please do not fill up your car unless you need to and do not fill multiple containers. Overreacting creates more of a shortage. Please use common sense and patience!” Ivey said in a social media post.

The governor’s spokesperson reiterated Ivey’s message.

“She was assured that the pipeline should be operational in a few days,” said Gina Maiola. “She is urging Alabamians and others to not panic and to use good judgement. A shortage has not reached Alabama at this time, and she reminds us that an overreaction would only lead to that. Be courteous, only fill up if you need to, and do not fill up multiple containers. Governor Ivey urges patience and common sense.”

Public Service Commissioner Jeremy Oden echoed Ivey’s words.

“While the state of Alabama is fortunate to this point to not be suffering from gas shortages, there have still been reports of panic-buying and gas price increases,” he said in a statement. “I echo Governor Ivey’s request that Alabama residents refrain from panic-buying, which would only cause more anxiety in the market. As Colonial has stated publicly they are working vigorously to reestablish service.”

The Colonial Pipeline shutdown comes as the average price of gas in the U.S. has risen from $2.112 per gallon before President Joe Biden was elected to $2.985 per gallon this week.

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

3 days ago

Vocational center for construction, electric vehicle, aviation technology fields coming to DeKalb County

(Sten Rademaker, Spencer Davis, Scott Blake/Unsplash, YHN)

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced a $1 million grant to help the Fort Payne Board of Education construct a new vocational center aimed at training students in careers that include construction, electric vehicle and aviation technologies.

The funds come from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.

The new DeKalb County vocation center will prepare Fort Payne high school students and adults for the future while helping to meet the needs of Alabama’s workforce in several career fields.

“Alabama is sounding the call for a skilled workforce and the Fort Payne Board of Education is responding to that demand,” Ivey said in a statement. “This program will ensure that students graduating from high school will be ready for rewarding and high-paying jobs, and that employers will be hiring a qualified workforce to move our state forward.”

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RELATED: Guest: Electric vehicles important for Alabama’s automotive industry

The new Building, Electric and Aviation Technology Center will provide students with a rigorous training program in a workplace environment to ready them for careers.

“The path to rewarding careers does not always go through colleges and universities,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell added. “I applaud the Fort Payne Board of Education for offering other options for students who have the same dreams for successful careers but choose a different path to get there.”

The project is supported by Sen. Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro), who chairs the Alabama Space Authority and the legislature’s Aerospace and Defense Caucus.

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

3 days ago

Alabama State Senator Andrew Jones running for reelection

(Andrew Jones/Facebook)

State Senator Andrew Jones (R-Centre) on Tuesday announced he will seek reelection to a second term in the 2022 election cycle.

As a freshman member of the legislature’s upper chamber, Jones currently serves as chair of the Children, Youth, and Human Services Committee.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in the last 2 ½ years,” he stated. “I ran for the State Senate because I had seen first-hand as a business owner and farmer how government impacts hardworking Alabamians. I have worked hard to be the people’s voice in the Alabama Senate and bring much-needed resources back to the people of Etowah, Cherokee, and DeKalb.”

Jones will kickoff his reelection campaign at respective events in Etowah and Cherokee Counties on May 25 and June 3.

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Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) offered his support for Jones’ reelection bid.

“Senator Jones has quickly learned to navigate the ins and outs of the Alabama Senate. He is known by his colleagues as a capable and effective Senator who will do whatever it takes to fight for his district. Andrew is not afraid to take bold, decisive action to meet the challenges our state faces,” Reed said.

Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) echoed Reed’s comments.

“Andrew has been a key voice in our Republican caucus for conservatives policies to improve the lives of everyday Alabamians,” Scofield commented. “Senator Jones is a champion for his local folks, but at the same time he has also won the respect of his colleagues. He has the full support of our caucus in his reelection effort.”

Elected in 2018 in his first run for public office, Jones campaigned on economic development, infrastructure, education and protecting Alabama values. Progress has been made, he now says, on all of those fronts.

“During my campaign, I talked about three infrastructure projects in my district. The U.S. 411 expansion project between Etowah and Cherokee Counties is currently underway, which is a $43 million project. We also recently secured $2 million for the engineering design of the I-759 Eastern Connector, and we are working with local leaders on multiple applications for funding for the Southside Bridge project. Last year, that same application made it to the final round,” Jones advised.

The freshman senator also touted a $2.7 million investment at the Etowah County Little Canoe Creek Megasite through the Growing Alabama Tax Credit Program, an investment which was made possible through an amendment that Jones negotiated to prioritize megasite properties over 1000 acres. He has also supported broadband expansion, incentives for small businesses and workforce training efforts in the Senate, as well as education initiatives to expand pre-K, provide teacher raises, and recruit math and science teachers. Additionally, Jones has backed pro-life legislation, election security measures and Second Amendment protection bills.

In the Senate, Jones has also authored legislation to support the military, incentivize adoptions, promote small farm wineries and repeal the grocery tax, among various other causes. Locally, the Republican has led an effort to repeal occupational taxes in five Etowah County municipalities. In 2020, voters approved a local constitutional amendment sponsored by Jones to designate surplus prison food funds for law enforcement purposes, including school resource officers.

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

3 days ago

NFIB survey: Record number of employers have job openings

(YHN/Pixabay)

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) on Tuesday announced that its Small Business Optimism Index rose to 99.8 in April, an increase of 1.6 points from March. While this index has now increased 4.8 points this year, a record 44% of employers reported job openings that could not be filled in the latest month’s survey.

Additionally, 8% cited labor costs as their top business problem and 24% said that labor quality was their top business problem, unchanged from March as the top overall concern.

A net 31% (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation in April, while a net 20% plan to raise compensation in the next three months. Increased compensation is being passed on to customers through higher prices, per NFIB.

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This is backed up by the net percent of owners raising average selling prices increasing 10 points to a net 36% (seasonally adjusted), the highest reading since April 1981 when it was 43%. Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (62% higher, 3% lower) and retail (46% higher, 6% lower). Seasonally adjusted, a net 36% plan price hikes, the highest reading since July 2008.

“Small business owners are seeing a growth in sales but are stunted by not having enough workers,” stated NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Finding qualified employees remains the biggest challenge for small businesses and is slowing economic growth. Owners are raising compensation, offering bonuses and benefits to attract the right employees.”

Alabama currently has the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast and one of the lowest in the nation.

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB state director for Alabama Rosemary Elebash said, “Today in Alabama, there are more job postings than there are job applicants, but hopefully Governor Ivey’s decision to end federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits will encourage people to return to the workforce.”

RELATED: Aderholt, Palmer praise Ivey’s decision to opt-out of $300 federal unemployment supplemental

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

4 days ago

Ivey urges Biden administration to ‘secure our southern border,’ end ‘humanitarian crisis’

(Customs and Border Patrol/Flickr, Hal Yeager/Governor's Office, YHN)

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced she has signed on to a letter with 19 other governors calling on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to immediately take action to address the crisis at the southern border.

The coalition of governors wrote, “Contrary to statements from your Administration, the border is neither closed nor secure. In fact, the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reports a staggering surge in recent crossings: 172,000 encounters in March, the highest number in nearly 20 years, as well as 18,890 unaccompanied children, the largest monthly number in history.”

“The crisis is too big to ignore and is now spilling over the border states into all of our states,” they warned.

The governors outlined that the Biden administration is directly to blame for the current situation.

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“This Administration has enticed a rush of migrants to our border and incentivized an influx of illegal crossings by using irresponsible rhetoric and reversing a slew of policies—from halting border wall construction to eliminating asylum agreements to refusing to enforce immigration laws,” they advised. “The cause of the border crisis is entirely due to reckless federal policy reversals executed within your first 100 days in office. The rhetoric of the Biden Administration and the rollback of critical agreements with our allies have led to the inhumane treatment of tens of thousands of children and undermined a fragile immigration system. While the most direct victims of the policy changes will be the children exploited and trafficked by gangs and cartels, the disastrous impact of your polices on America’s recovery will be far-reaching.”

The governors then explained that the “the situation on the ground is heartbreaking” at the border.

“After a dangerous journey, many children are living in overcrowded conditions with uncertain futures and without parents or loved ones to care for them,” they said. “Beyond the humanitarian crisis, the lack of border security is a criminal one, threatening the safety of American citizens. The CBP reports a 233% increase in the seizure of fentanyl compared to January last year, exacerbating the nation’s opioid epidemic. Law enforcement officials are recovering drugs, illegal narcotics, and weapons being smuggled across the border by cartels—the same cartels that are also trafficking men, women, and children and jeopardizing their lives. At a time when our country is trying to recover from a once-in-a-generation pandemic, the last thing we need is a self-created crisis that exploits families, undermines public safety, and threatens our national security. We urge you to take action to end the humanitarian crisis and secure our southern border immediately.”

Governor Ivey also released an individual statement regarding the letter.

“When we have an unsecured and open southern border, Alabama is impacted, which is why I have joined 19 of my fellow governors in calling on President Biden and Vice President Harris to take action immediately,” she stated. “In the first 100 days of the new administration, we have seen a surge in illegal crossings, and as a result, we run the risk of overly burdening state and local resources. Overwhelming authorities on the federal, state or local levels is not the answer. We not only need to take action for our own security, but also for those who are seeking a path to this country. I urge President Biden and Vice President Harris to take action to end this humanitarian crisis and secure our southern border.”

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

4 days ago

State Sen. Albritton: House failure to give Senate gambling bill an up-or-down vote on the floor ‘disrespectful’

(Screenshot/APTV)

Alabama’s struggle to find a solution to its long-standing gambling dilemma will likely have to wait at least another year after legislation failed to make it to the floor of the House of Representatives for an up-or-down vote last week on the second-to-last day of the 2021 legislative session.

According to State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), the chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee, it was incredibly frustrating for the Senate given it passed legislation and sent it to the House.

That legislation was deemed something “that just would not work” by House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) on the House floor late Thursday. However, during an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” Albritton said the failure to formally consider the bill raised questions about the seriousness within the House of Representatives to find a fix to gaming.

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“[H]ow serious were they in taking it or not taking it?” he said. “You know, it would have been a lot easier and less time consuming if they had just said, ‘Look guys, we’re not going to take this up. Don’t bother sending us anything. We’re not going to hear it.’ That would have been a lot easier to handle.”

The Escambia County Republican lawmaker pointed to the extraordinary effort given by the Senate throughout the legislative session and argued for the House to run out of time was “disrespectful.”

“[T]his should have been handled,” Albritton added. “This is a major matter for the state and it needs to be resolved. In the Senate, we took two votes. We had to have two separate things. In fact, we debated significantly about three separate different bills — not to mention, all the different parts. That was on the floor. That was in caucus. That was in public. That was completely discussed and debated, and had the time to do all of that and took two full votes. And then to have the House not even take a vote, it is disrespectful.”

Friday, during an appearance on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) hinted at the possbility of the beginning of the 2022 session being the time for legislative action on gambling. Albritton indicated he was unsure about those prospects but said he agreed with McCutcheon on a comprehensive approach.

“One thing I noticed on the speaker is he came around at least the point that a comprehensive [approach] is what we need,” Albritton said. “The Governor has come around on that, too. She is also on board with a comprehensive bill. I think that’s the proper way we have to approach this. You can’t do anything piecemeal because there are too many hands and too many obstacles. It has to be done in one swoop and whether you like it or not, that’s the way it is going to have to be.”

“We have found a path there — the Senate had found the proper balance we think there,” he continued. “It’s just we can’t seem to get the House to vote on it.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.