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.

17 hours ago

‘Breaking record after record’: Alabama shattering employment milestones monthly

(Gov. Ivey/Flickr)

Alabama continues to set new jobs-related records and now boasts the largest over-the-year unemployment rate drop in the United States.

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington on Friday announced that the Yellowhammer State has yet again set a new record low unemployment rate, along with four additional milestones.

The state’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate was 3.1%, down from July’s then-historic rate of 3.3%, and well below August 2018’s rate of 3.9%.

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August’s rate represented 2,184,511 employed persons, also a new record high, measuring 68,033 more than last year’s count and 12,757 more than last month’s count.

In a statement, Governor Kay Ivey said, “Not only can we be proud of the fact that Alabama is breaking record after record; but we can also be proud that more of our good men and women are gaining employment.”

The Yellowhammer State has now matched or surpassed the national annual job growth rate for the past seven months.

“Alabama has made significant progress regarding our economy,” Ivey added. “Not only are we putting people to work, but their earnings are increasing, and our industries are growing. Even with all this headway, we realize we must continue exhausting our efforts to make sure that all Alabamians who want a job have a job, and we won’t stop until we achieve that goal.”

August’s historic numbers came after Alabama broke four records the month previous and five in June.

“Along with this brand-new record low unemployment rate, Alabama continues to break other records as well,” said Washington.

“More people are working in Alabama than ever before, a record we’ve broken every single month this year,” he continued. “More than 68,000 Alabamians are working today that weren’t last year, and that’s great news. Fewer people are unemployed in Alabama than ever before, and our workforce is larger than it’s ever been, with consecutive growth for the past eight months.”

August’s unemployment rate represents 70,652 unemployed persons, a new record low, down from 75,101 in July and down from 86,212 in 2018.

The civilian labor force increased in August to a record high 2,255,163, up 8,308 from July’s count and up 52,473 from August 2018.

“Additionally, our jobs count reached a record high for the fourth time this year, gaining more than 37,000 jobs over the year, representing a job growth percentage of 1.8%, which, yet again, surpassed the nation’s job growth – all while Alabamians are also seeing growth in their earnings,” concluded Washington.

Year over year, wage and salary employment grew by 37,300, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+9,900); the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,600); and the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+5,200), among others.

Wage and salary employment grew in August by 5,900. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+5,300); the professional and business services sector (+3,000); and the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+1,900), among others.

Average weekly earnings increased $27.05 since August 2018 and $8.97 since July.

The rising tide is lifting boats across Alabama, too.

All 67 counties saw their unemployment rates decrease over the year, and 66 of 67 counties saw their rates decrease or remain the same over the month.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates in August were Shelby County at 2.1%; Marshall and Madison Counties at 2.3%; and Morgan, Limestone and Elmore Counties at 2.4%.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 6.9%, Clarke County at 5.9% and Greene County at 5.8%.

While still the highest, Wilcox County’s unemployment rate is down 3.1% over-the-year.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were Vestavia Hills at 1.8%; Northport and Homewood at 1.9%; and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.0%.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Selma at 6.5%, Prichard at 5.5% and Anniston at 4.1%.

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

23 hours ago

Shelby warns military priorities ‘could be undermined’ by Senate Democrats

(Sen. Richard Shelby)

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the powerful chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, on Thursday warned that vital military and national security priorities “could be undermined” after Senate Democrats blocked consideration of the Fiscal Year 2020 defense appropriations bill the day prior.

Shelby’s remarks came during the committee’s markup of the FY 2020 bills for the appropriations subcommittees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD); Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; and Financial Services and General Government.

All three bills were subsequently reported favorably out of the committee via unanimous votes, with Shelby declaring that “these bills prioritize the needs of the people of Alabama and the nation.”

However, that came after Shelby used his lofty perch to stand up for American military interests, including the brave men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Shelby is also the chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee.

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“Yesterday on the floor, we tried to bring up the first package of appropriations bills sent over by the House,” he explained, per prepared remarks. “Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues would not allow us to do so.”

“Because we were not allowed to proceed, our military’s efforts to plan deliberately in countering Russian and Chinese influence could be undermined,” Shelby warned. “Because we were not allowed to proceed, our plans to provide soldiers with the largest pay increase in a decade will be delayed.”

He emphasized, “Funding our military in a timely manner should not just be a Republican priority; it should be an American priority.”

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

4 days ago

Dismukes pledges to join House Freedom Caucus if elected in AL-02

(Dismukes for Congress/Contributed)

State Representative Will Dismukes (R-Prattville) on Monday pledged that he will join the U.S. House Freedom Caucus if he wins election to Alabama’s 2nd congressional district in 2020.

The Freedom Caucus is generally considered the furthest-right caucus within the ranks of House Republicans. Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) was the organization’s first chair, and Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) is currently in the process of turning over leadership of the caucus to Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ).

There are approximately 30 members of the caucus. From Alabama, Congressmen Mo Brooks (AL-05) and Gary Palmer (AL-06) are Freedom Caucus members.

These are the types of colleagues Dismukes hopes to emulate if voters send him from Goat Hill to Capitol Hill.

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“I believe that the members of the Freedom Caucus are the strongest conservatives in Washington, and if that is true then that is where I belong,” Dismukes said in a statement to Yellowhammer News.

Dismukes currently represents District 88 in the Alabama House of Representatives. This includes portions of Autauga and Elmore counties.

“Freedom Caucus members like Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, and Alabama’s own Mo Brooks are the kind of representatives I want to emulate in Congress,” he stressed.

“The Freedom Caucus stands strong for limited government and reducing wasteful spending,” Dismukes continued. “They understand that the fight we’re having in this country right now over socialism is nothing less than a fight for the soul of this nation. The Freedom Caucus is on the right side of that fight, and I look forward to joining their ranks.”

He concluded, “I care more about standing up for conservative principles than I do currying favor with lobbyists and other DC interests. I think I will have that in common with the other members of the caucus. I am thrilled to see where new chairman Rep. Andy Biggs takes the group. He is a strong representative who I look forward to befriending.”

Alabama’s Second Congressional District seat is being vacated by the retirement of Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-AL).

Wiregrass business titan Jeff Coleman, former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and former Attorney General Troy King are among the candidates in this 2020 Republican primary, along with Dismukes.

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

5 days ago

Alabama Forestry Association endorses Brad Mendheim for state Supreme Court

(Office of Governor Kay Ivey)

The Alabama Forestry Association (AFA) on Monday announced its endorsement of Alabama Supreme Court Justice Brad Mendheim in the Republican primary for place two on the court.

Mendheim was first appointed to the state’s highest court by Governor Kay Ivey in 2018. He lost election to a full term to that office in the 2018 election cycle but was appointed to a different vacancy, place two, on the Supreme Court by Ivey earlier this year.

In a statement, AFA executive vice president Chris Isaacson said, “We are proud to support Justice Mendheim in his race for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court.”

“His conservative judicial philosophy along with a proven track record earned over 20 years make him the right person for the job,” he concluded.

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Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court by Ivey, Mendheim was a circuit judge for Houston and Henry counties from 2009- 2018.

Before his election to that office, he served as district judge of Houston County from 2001-2008 and as an assistant district attorney, making him uniquely qualified as a former prosecutor and trial judge.

“I am honored to receive the support of Forest PAC, a group which has a long reputation of supporting conservative leaders in the state of Alabama,” Mendheim emphasized.

He advised, “My judicial philosophy is simple: to follow the Constitution and rule with impartiality, and I pledge to continue that as long as I am privileged to serve. It is not our role on the Alabama Supreme Court to bring a political agenda to work, and I strongly believe that groups such as the Forestry Association recognize that all who come before our court deserve two things: a fair review of the facts and ultimately, for the rule of law to be upheld.”

During his judicial career, Mendheim has presided over more than 300 jury trials.

He graduated with a BA from Auburn University and went on to receive his JD from Cumberland School of Law. Mendheim and his wife, Michelle, have been married for over 24 years. They are the proud parents of three sons: Connor, Ryan and Carson. They are long time members of First Baptist Church of Dothan, where Brad is a Sunday school teacher and deacon.

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

5 days ago

Tuberville: Alabamians ‘trust football coaches a heck of a lot more than they trust politicians’

(Varney & Co./Twitter)

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, a 2020 Republican U.S. Senate candidate in the Yellowhammer State, on Monday appeared on Fox Business’ “Varney & Co.” to discuss his support of President Donald Trump and the state of the race to unseat Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

Tuberville reiterated his belief that “President Trump has saved this country.”

He said he was unsure who the president will support in Alabama’s GOP senatorial primary, if anyone, but emphasized Trump’s support “goes a long way in the state.”

Tuberville also reaffirmed that he will not take his salary if elected to the U.S. Senate.

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“[W]e’ve got to get away from the career politicians,” Tuberville remarked. “I’m not an establishment [candidate], I don’t owe anybody anything. I’m not taking a salary. I want to do it for the right reasons.”

The guest host then asked the former college football coach if his ties to Auburn might dissuade some Crimson Tide fans from voting for him.

“You know, before I decided to run, I did my due diligence,” Tuberville responded. “I went across the state talking to people about this.”

“And you know, at the end of the day, the people of Alabama — they trust football coaches a heck of a lot more than they trust politicians,” he continued. “So, I’m going to get as many (University of) Alabama votes. I’m going to get Auburn votes.”

“We need something strong, you know. We need people who make decisions for the right reasons. And they trust football coaches in this state, I promise you that,” Tuberville concluded.

Watch:

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

5 days ago

Jones called ‘faithful soldier for Chuck Schumer’ after opening door to Kavanaugh impeachment

(PBSNewsHour, Washington Post/YouTube)

This weekend, the New York Times published unsubstantiated accusations of sexual assault regarding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, only later admitting in an editor’s note that the alleged accuser does not actually recall the incident and would not even speak on record about it.

Facts aside, the New York Times and other coastal media outlets ran with the narrative that there are more “credible” allegations against Kavanaugh than what was investigated during his confirmation process in the U.S. Senate last year.

National Democrats, such as presidential candidates like Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have used the new “reporting” to call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment, ignoring the Times having to issue a correction.

This has drawn the ire of many Americans, including President Donald Trump.

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“DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT THESE HORRIBLE PEOPLE WILL DO OR SAY,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “They are looking to destroy, and influence his opinions – but played the game badly. They should be sued!”

In a statement, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) communications director Jesse Hunt commented, “This shameful attack – aided by a few members of the media – is nothing more than a blatant attempt to undermine the Supreme Court and the will of the people who voted for a conservative judiciary.”

“Every Democratic Senate candidate who sits in silence will be held accountable by voters in their respective states,” he added.

In Alabama, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has actually already gone on record about the latest supposed accusation, seemingly once again jumping at the chance to attack Kavanaugh. Jones opposed his confirmation in 2018, saying representing the majority of Alabamians is not “the be all to end all.”

Appearing Sunday on MSNBC, Jones said Kavanaugh “can be impeached.”

He also bragged that the movement for impeachment was always “inevitable” following the heated confirmation battle.

Jones previously emphasized he would endorse the eventual Democratic nominee, including either Warren or Harris, over Trump, no matter how radical that Democrat is.

Senate Leadership Fund communications director Jack Panel commented, “Doug Jones’ irrational hatred of President Trump has caused him to abandon all pretense and back this liberal media smear to impeach Justice Kavanaugh.”

“A lawyer should know better than to advance an argument without facts – but this demonstrates Jones is merely a faithful soldier for Chuck Schumer and national Democrats, not a Senator for the people of Alabama,” Pandol concluded.

Trump also stressed that this latest spectacle is merely another political maneuver ahead of 2020.

“This is all about the LameStream Media working with their partner, the Dems,” Trump tweeted.

RELATED: Watch: Doug Jones vows to oppose hypothetical future Trump Supreme Court nominee

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

Yellowhammer announces 2019 Power of Service celebration, featuring new ‘Yellowhammer 15’

(YHN)

Yellowhammer Multimedia on Friday announced that the 5th annual Power of Service event will take place Thursday, October 17, in Montgomery.

For the last eight years, Yellowhammer has released an annual list of the most powerful and influential people in Alabama business and politics. That tradition will live on this year in a new and improved format.

The 2019 Power & Influence 40 list will be released the week of September 30, recognizing the top individuals in government and politics who leverage their power and influence to better the Yellowhammer State.

However, this year will also see the addition of a separate list started for the first time: the Yellowhammer 15.

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The Yellowhammer 15 will be the preeminent honor for those in the private sector that are moving Alabama forward to better days.

Through job creation, economic impact, community involvement and philanthropic endeavors, these exemplary leaders in their professional fields make our great state a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Unlike the Power & Influence 40 list, a person can be recognized in the Yellowhammer 15 only once in a lifetime. And, not only will this honor be exclusive, the accumulation of inductees over time will compile a “hall of fame” type list synonymous with the pinnacle of professional and civic achievement.

Upon the release of the Yellowhammer 15 list on September 30, Yellowhammer Multimedia will announce its plans to facilitate and encourage these legendary Alabamians to do even more for those who are most in need across the state.

Then, from October 1-4, the Power & Influence list will be released in groups of 10.

Unlike last year, the 2019 edition of this list will be ranked 1-40. 31-40 will be released first, with the top of the list being released last.

This all leads up to the main event, with both the Yellowhammer 15 and the Power & Influence 40 being celebrated through 2019’s Power of Service.

And, just as the lists themselves will be different than years past, so will Power of Service itself.

In previous years, the event has attracted a who’s who of Alabama political and business leaders, including the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house, pro tem of the Senate, numerous members of Congress, dozens of state legislators and many of the state’s top executives, lobbyists, opinion leaders and political activists.

This will not change, but this year’s event will trade in the traditional “business reception” atmosphere for that of a true merriment.

You can buy tickets starting today. Hurry, because every previous Power of Service has sold out.

For ticket registration, detailed celebration information and sponsorship opportunities, click here.

1 week ago

Tuberville slams ‘the politically correct crowd’ after Opelika City Schools bans pregame prayers

(Tommy Tuberville/Facebook)

Opelika High School is scrapping student-led prayer before its football games.

Per The Associated Press, Opelika City Schools Superintendent Mark Neighbors announced this week that the high school will instead hold a moment of silence.

As reported by WTVM, members of the local community are not pleased with the decision.

“First of all, I don’t like it,” Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller told the TV station.

The mayor is certainly not alone. In a Facebook post and follow-up statement to Yellowhammer News, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville expressed his dismay that the local school district in Lee County backed down to “the politically correct crowd.”

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“Bureaucrats are ruining our country,” Tuberville, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, emphasized. “Rather than stand up for the people they are appointed to represent, they give in to the politically correct crowd.”

“Left in control, the career politicians will ruin this country. Prayer is an important part of sports!” he concluded.

Locals seem to agree with students being able to voluntarily lead prayer at games — even non-Christians.

Brian Hawkins, the rabbi at an Opelika synagogue, told WTVM that having a Christian prayer before football games does not bother him.

“I’m a Messianic Jew, and I don’t oppose Christian praying at all,” Hawkins remarked. “I think everyone has a freedom in this country to be able to pray.”

However, the infamous out-of-state Freedom From Religion Foundation has gotten involved, which led to Neighbors’ decision.

The foundation claimed a parent complained about a pregame prayer delivered over a loudspeaker before Opelika’s game on August 22.

“I understand that Dr. Neighbors and the Opelika City School Board have no choice in the matter because of how the Supreme Court has ruled,” Fuller added.

A social media movement is reportedly underway encouraging fans to recite the Lord’s Prayer during Friday’s moment of silence when Opelika High School hosts Wetumpka at 7:00 p.m.

‘God and prayer are the cornerstone of our nation’

This is certainly not the first time recently that Tuberville has bashed political correctness or what he perceives as bias against Christians in modern America.

“One thing I will not be is be politically correct,” Tuberville has said. “I’m tired of that. They’ve lost their mind, folks.”

One humorous way he has been emphasizing this point on the campaign trail lately is mocking the newfound federal policy of miniature horses being allowed on commercial airline flights as service animals.

Tuberville has decried taking prayer out of schools, saying he will immediately introduce a constitutional amendment to allow prayer in public schools if elected to the U.S. Senate.

“God and prayer are the cornerstone of our nation,” Tuberville has stressed.

As someone who has been involved with education for 40 years, Tuberville previously advised that he has witnessed America’s public education system “slowly disintegrate.”

“We took prayer out of the schools in the mid-60s. [Since] we did that, it’s really gone down hill,” he lamented.

He has pointed to what he views as unfair treatment of Christians in public schools.

“Let me give y’all a little stat. There’s 10 states, Texas being one of them, that there’s another religion that can have five prayers a day in the school. If we say the Lord’s Prayer, our kids get sent home. Wrong,” Tuberville has said. “There’s a double standard in this country, and if we don’t stand up and start speaking out for God, prayer and the values that we need to get back, we’re not going to be a country anymore.”

On Friday, Tuberville also commended a newly enacted Alabama law passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Kay Ivey during this year’s regular session.

The law allows public schools to voluntarily offer history classes on the Bible as an elective to students in grades 6-12.

“I believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture,” Tuberville concluded. “I commend the legislature for putting the Bible back in schools. We’ve got to continue to fight back against the politically correct crowd!”

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

1 week ago

‘They are all crazy’: Alabama Republicans react to latest Democratic presidential debate

(The Hill/Twitter)

The latest 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate was televised nationally Thursday night on ABC, with Alabama Republicans coming away confident in President Donald Trump’s chances at reelection.

In perhaps the most succinct reaction to the three-hour spectacle, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth tweeted, “My analysis of the Democratic Debate, they are all crazy!!!! Unreal how far to the left the party has gone.”

This came after a debate in which the leading Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, said, “Nobody should be in jail for a non-violent crime.”

This was far from the only radical statement made on the night.

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Candidates advocated for socialism, reparations, ending private and employer-based health insurance, mandatory gun “buy-backs,” decreasing support of the U.S. military and using “climate change” as the issue that will supposedly bring bad actors, terrorists and rogue nations to the table, amongst other eyebrow raising back-and-forths.

“We have systemic racism that is eroding our nation,” former Congressman Robert O’Rourke said, touting his policy proposal for creating a White House office that would target “white supremacy.”

“It’s nice to go back to slavery, but we have more African Americans who are under government supervision today than all the slaves in 1850,” O’Rourke added.

Reacting to the debate, former Auburn University head football coach and current U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville said in a statement to Yellowhammer News, “I saw the ‘highlights’ of the #demdebate… these people want to take our guns, raise our taxes, and spread socialism; this is not what America is about.”

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) commented, “Tonight’s debate further solidified the importance of re-electing President Trump and fighting for his pro-life, pro-wall, pro-worker agenda.”

“Many of the ideas expressed on stage tonight are totally out of touch with the values that have made America great,” Byrne, also a U.S. Senate candidate, continued. “I’m shocked we’ve gotten to the point where these are the people the Democrats believe should be president. The good news is we can reject this radical socialist agenda by re-electing President Trump.”

In tweets, the National Republican Senatorial Committee reminded Alabamians that Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has vowed to back any of these candidates against President Donald Trump, no matter how radically far-left the eventual Democratic nominee is.

This article may be updated as more reactions come in.

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

1 week ago

Rogers: ‘Growing threat’ of domestic terrorists radicalized by ‘right-wing or left-wing groups’

(M. Rogers/Facebook)

Representative Mike Rogers (AL-03) on Wednesday appeared on CNN’s “Cuomo Primetime” to discuss the current state of homeland security.

Speaking on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, Rogers gave his perspective as ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee. Rogers has been on the committee, now a standing one, since it was formed in the summer of 2002 as a select committee.

Speaking on where national security currently stands, Rogers told host Chris Cuomo, “I feel proud we’ve made great strides. … We have a great intelligence apparatus now. … We’ve done a great job of training and equipping our first responders. It’s been demonstrated repeatedly.”

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“We’ve got, though, a very dangerous world out there, not just domestically but internationally, with more threats than we had 18 years ago, so that’s pretty sobering,” he added.

Rogers also spoke about emerging homeland security threats, identifying domestic terrorism as “growing.”

“While we have to keep our eye on these foreign threats, the growing threat [of domestic terrorism] here at home is disturbing,” the East Alabama congressman emphasized.

“These [groups] are starting to use recruitment techniques that foreign terrorists used to use internationally, now these people are using to radicalize here in this country,” Rogers advised. “We had a report from the FBI in May that they currently have over 1,000 cases open on people on our soil that are terrorists; [people] that may be radicalized by foreign terrorist organizations or from right-wing or left-wing groups here in the country.”

Asked specifically by Cuomo whether he was concerned about “the danger within” and “the rise of extremist, right-wing violence in this country,” Rogers responded, “I sure do.”

Rogers also stressed how important it is to keep the handling of national security bipartisan.

The interview followed Tuesday’s hearing on current threats to the American homeland.

“I’ve been on the [Homeland Security] Committee since it was established, when it was still a select committee. We generally aren’t very partisan. In yesterday’s hearing, there was no partisanship. We took … a very sober approach and at the end of the hearing both the chairman and I made the comment this was one of the best hearings we ever had,” Rogers added.

Watch:

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

1 week ago

McCutcheon appoints State Rep. Chip Brown to House Rules Committee

(State Representative Chip Brown District 105/Facebook)

Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) on Thursday announced that he has appointed State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Mobile) to a seat on the powerful House Rules Committee.

This committee, led by State Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia) as chair and State Rep. Connie Rowe (R-Jasper) as vice chair, is tasked with setting the House’s agenda for each work day and determining which bills will be debated upon the chamber floor.

In a statement, McCutcheon praised Brown, a freshman legislator who completed his first regular session this spring.

“Since becoming a member of the House, Rep. Brown has proven himself as a leader and trusted colleague among his fellow House members,” McCutcheon said.

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“The members of the Rules Committee are given great responsibility because they determine which bills will or will not come up for a vote, but I know that Chip will fulfill this assignment with his trademark wisdom, fairness, and integrity,” the speaker added.

Brown stated that he looks forward to playing a role in determining the House’s daily working agenda.

“The Rules Committee sets the priorities for the House, and because the bills we debate on the floor have a direct impact on millions of Alabama citizens, its decisions carry an importance that I recognize and respect,” Brown commented.

He added, “I’ll use my seat on the committee to promote bills and measures that protect the public’s safety, improve our public education, create needed jobs, and embrace the conservative beliefs and principles that so many of our fellow Alabamians share.”

Employed as the owner of a public relations firm, Brown also holds seats on the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee, the House Urban and Rural Development Committee, the House Insurance Committee and the Mobile County Legislation Committee.

The Alabama legislature will convene in Montgomery for the 2020 regular session on Tuesday, February 4.

Brown is taking over the committee assignment vacated by the late State Rep. Jimmy Martin (R-Clanton), who passed away in May.

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

1 week ago

Tax tribunal voids $75 million+ Greenetrack assessment, State of Alabama weighs appeal

(Greenetrack/Facebook)

Alabama Tax Tribunal Judge Jeff Patterson recently overturned a tax assessment of over $75 million by the Alabama Department of Revenue against Greenetrack, Inc.

The assessment stemmed from a March 31, 2009 audit report by Revenue examiners and covered January 2004 – December 2008.

Following the conclusion of the audit, Revenue entered a final assessment of $75,511,338.17 in unpaid sales tax and $746,292.01 in unpaid consumer’s use tax. Both amounts included interest accrued.

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At Greenetrack’s facility in Greene County, there has been pari-mutuel wagering on horse and dog racing conducted over the years.

By statute, these activities are exempt from paying sales and consumer use tax.

Instead, Act 1975-376 imposed various license fees and taxes under the jurisdiction of the Greene County Racing Commission, which governs the race wagering at Greenetrack. § 16 of that act stated, “[T]he license fees, commissions, and excise taxes imposed herein shall be in lieu of all license, excise, and occupational taxes to the State of Alabama …”

However, Greenetrack has also been known to conduct bingo gaming at its facility.

Amendment 743, passed in 2003, governs the legality of bingo in Greene County, including the relevant rules concerning licensing and operation.

In its audit report, Revenue examiners essentially contended that the tax exemption created previously was only meant to cover legal racing activities at Greenetrack. Revenue also argued that Greenetrack was breaking the law when it came to how it was running bingo operations.

About the facility’s bingo operations, examiners wrote, “[I]t is evident that the nonprofit organizations have illegally entered into contracts with Greenetrack, Inc., a for-profit corporation, to operate the bingo facility. The nonprofit organizations receive only a token amount of the immense revenues generated by the bingo operation. Since the bingo operation at Greenetrack is not being operated in compliance with Amendment 743, the gross receipts derived from the bingo operation are subject to sales tax.”

“The basis for the assessment of tax due, results from an illegal operation of bingo at the Greenetrack facility. Greenetrack, Inc. owes sales tax on the total wagers derived from the bingo operation,” the audit concluded.

Greenetrack subsequently appealed this assessment, arguing it was exempt for all revenues, not just pari-mutuel wagering on racing.

Oral arguments before the Alabama Tax Tribunal were held September 20, 2018.

The opinion and final order by the tribunal judge, issued August 30, 2019, stated, “The Revenue Department argues that the legislature intended for the exemption to apply only to the Taxpayer’s dog-racing activities and not to its subsequent bingo operations.”

“The Taxpayer (Greenetrack) argues that the exemption is limited only by the words used by the legislature in § 16 and in subsequent legislative enactments,” the opinion said.

Revenue further argued, “To rule with the taxpayer would in essence state that the intent of the legislature was to allow for operations such as Greenetrack to conduct a multi-million (if not billion) dollar operation completely tax-free even if it does not serve the charitable purpose for which [the] legislature created it. Had the taxpayer felt this result was so clear under statutory law, surely it would not have waited almost 10 years through several legal proceedings before making this outlandish argument when a simple exemption argument could have put the matter to rest years ago.”

However, in the end, the judge did indeed side with Greenetrack.

“The legislature exempted the Taxpayer from the taxes at issue. Thus, the final assessments are void,” Judge Patterson ruled.

The judge also said  that “if the outcome in this appeal seems ‘outlandish,’ the remedy rests with the legislative branch that enacted the law upon which this ruling is based.”

Read the full opinion and final order here.

What’s next?

The State of Alabama has 30 days from the issuance of this tribunal final order to appeal to circuit court.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Department of Revenue spokesperson Amanda Collier advised, “The department is reviewing the decision and evaluating options.”

Yellowhammer News was informed this week that the attorney general’s office has been involved in this review and evaluation process.

This case could have significant ramifications when it comes to potentially lost tax revenues for the state.

A new radio ad playing in the Montgomery market also contends that exempting Greenetrack from sales tax but not doing the same for other non-racing bingo facilities in the same county essentially means the government is picking winners (or one winner) and losers.

It was not immediately clear who is behind this radio ad, as no disclaimer accompanies the spot.

Listen:

Bingo background:

Greenetrack, on its actively utilized Facebook page, self-identifies itself as a “casino” and “bingo hall.”

A more in-depth description identifies that “gaming machines” are being operated at the facility.

The description reads, “Searching for the best place for a fun night in Eutaw? Greenetrack Inc is a gaming complex in Eutaw, offering the best in entertainment and gaming. Come enjoy all of the different games, amenities and prizes we have to offer at our complex. You can bet on different greyhound and thoroughbred horse races, play some gaming machines or just enjoy the full bar and grill! You’ll have a wonderful time with your friends and family at Greenetrack. Race on down to our gaming complex today and start getting paid to have fun.”

Greenetrack’s Facebook cover photo appears to show examples of “gaming machines” at the facility.

(Greenetrack/Facebook)

As of 1:00 a.m. Wednesday, Greenetrack’s most recent post, made approximately one hour prior, congratulated “another lucky jackpot winner.”

Videos and other pictures posted on Greenetrack’s Facebook page detail other types of gaming conducted at the facility, including on “WhiteSands gaming machines.”

Electronic bingo operations have been ruled to be illegal in the state by the Alabama Supreme Court.

The attorney general’s office is still currently embroiled in a civil lawsuit filed in 2017 against Greenetrack and other Greene County operators allegedly conducting illegal electronic bingo activities.

Attorney General Steve Marshall has said the ultimate goal of the lawsuit, specifically relating to Greenetrack, is to shut the facility’s electronic bingo operations down permanently.

“It is the responsibility of the Attorney General to ensure that Alabama’s laws are enforced, including those laws that prohibit illegal gambling,” Marshall explained at the time of the lawsuit being filed. “Through multiple rulings in recent years, the Alabama Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that electronic bingo and the use of slot machines are illegal in all Alabama counties.”

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

2 weeks ago

ALGOP’s Lathan on Doug Jones’ ‘One Alabama’ slogan: ‘The only one he’s listening to is himself’

(T. Lathan, D. Jones/ Facebook)

After Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) unveiled his new “One Alabama” reelection slogan during his campaign kickoff event on Sunday, reaction poured in from conservatives saying that Jones had proven himself to be anything but a moderate during his short stint in the U.S. Senate.

This included Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan, who reminded voters of Jones’ declaration made twice previously that representing the majority of Alabamians is not “the be all to end all.”

“Senator Doug Jones claims to be for ‘One Alabama’ but during his short tenure he’s proven the only one he’s listening to is himself,” Lathan said.

“Time and again he keeps ignoring the will of the majority of Alabamians – who overwhelmingly support President Trump and the administration’s agenda – by defiantly voting NO on the President’s nominees and policies,” she continued.

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The ALGOP chair then provided a list of high-profile examples of Jones opposing President Donald Trump’s “nominees and policies:”

“Senator Jones should rename his motto ‘One and Done for Alabama’. We are confident the voters of our great state will reset this seat with a Republican on November 3, 2020,” Lathan concluded.

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

2 weeks ago

Watch live: Doug Jones delivers remarks at campaign kickoff

(Doug Jones for Senate/Facebook)

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) is set to address the crowd at his campaign kickoff at approximately 3:40 p.m. CST on Sunday.

The kickoff event is being held in Birmingham at B&A Warehouse.

You can watch Jones speak via the live stream below:

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Jones is expected to win the Democratic nomination for re-election easily after his war chest, built mostly from out-of-state funds, scared potential challengers like State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) away from the race.

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, Congressman Bradley Byrne (Al-01), Secretary of State John Merrill, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) are the leading Republican candidates to face Jones in the 2020 general election.

RELATED: Billboard at Jones’ campaign kickoff reminds voters of his pledge to back socialist Dem candidates

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

2 weeks ago

Billboard at Jones’ campaign kickoff reminds voters of his pledge to back socialist Dem candidates

(NRSC/Contributed)

A new billboard-on-wheels by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has been circling Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) campaign kickoff event Sunday in Birmingham.

The mobile billboard features Jones alongside two of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate’s Democratic Caucus: presidential candidates Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The billboard is meant to remind Alabamians that Jones pledged to support whoever the Democrats nominate for president, no matter how radical that individual is.

Jones, who has positioned himself as an anti-Trump Democrat, told a crowd earlier this year that “whatever we’re going to do, we will end up supporting the (Democratic) nominee.”

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In a statement, NRSC spokesperson Nathan Brand said, “Anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones puts the interests of the most liberal and socialist members of his party ahead of his constituents.”

“Rather than standing for the principles and priorities of Alabama families, Jones has pledged his support to the extreme candidates in his party running for president,” he decried.

The mobile billboard has been circling B&A Warehouse in Birmingham where Jones is holding his campaign kickoff at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Picture of the mobile billboard outside of Jones’ campaign kickoff venue

This comes after the NRSC put up two billboards in August highlighting Jones’ support for any of the most extreme and socialist candidates for president. Additionally, the NRSC in July released a new video titled “Clowns,” reminding Alabama voters that Jones is willing to support any and all of the candidates on the Democratic presidential debate stage.

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

2 weeks ago

Byrne stands by Brees after NFL legend attacked for Christian faith — ‘Have to keep fighting’

(Bring Your Bible/YouTube, B. Byrne/Facebook)

New Orleans Saints quarterback and future NFL Hall of Fame inductee Drew Brees is under fire from Democrats and members of the national media after encouraging students to “live out” their faith and “share God’s love with friends.”

This comes after a video was released Thursday featuring Brees supporting “Bring Your Bible to School Day,” which will occur on October 3 this year.

Watch:

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This day is student-led and completely voluntary, which aligns with the tenets of religious freedom in the U.S. Constitution.

Despite Brees’ succinct, seemingly uncontroversial message, he was immediately attacked.

Because Focus on the Family sponsors the day and has opposed policies like gay marriage in the past, critics essentially tried to say that Brees must support everything that this “anti-LGBTQ group” does.

Responding to one of these articles specifically, Brees released a follow-up video clarifying his original message of faith and love.

Watch:

Brees has been supported through the controversy by a diverse group of colleagues and celebrities, including former University of Alabama star running back Mark Ingram.

Now, you can add Brees’ fellow Gulf Coast resident, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), to his list of backers.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Byrne said, “These attacks on Drew Brees are pathetic.”

“I’ve always admired Brees as an outstanding football player who has never forgotten his family values and his roots,” the Republican U.S. Senate candidate continued. “No one should face criticism for simply encouraging a ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day.'”

“Our country is a far cry from the days when you were at Church every Sunday and kneeled by your bed to pray every night, and we have to return to moral foundation. We have to keep fighting for our Christian values that have made our country so strong,” Byrne concluded.

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

2 weeks ago

Ala. Bureau of Pardons and Paroles cancels meeting after ‘hot mess’ left by prior leadership

(Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles/Facebook, PIxabay)

The Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles on Friday announced that it has been forced to cancel over 100 hearings set for next week because the prior administration allegedly failed to perform due diligence to meet requirements set forth under a new state law passed in May regarding notifications to victims and witnesses.

Bureau Director Charlie Graddick, who just took leadership of the reformed board on Monday, said neither he, the three-member board nor his legal staff were informed of the apparent failure until noon on Thursday.

In a statement, Graddick, emphasized this type of incident is more proof that change was badly needed for the pardons and paroles leadership.

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“I’m afraid this hot mess is indicative of what the state has suffered for some time,” he said.

Graddick is the former two-term attorney general of Alabama and a longtime fixture in the state judicial system.

“This is the classic failure to communicate,” Graddick commented further. “The previous administration had May, June, July and August to address these new guidelines and did nothing. Yesterday, our legal team received requests for clarification of new notification rules, questions that leave doubts whether proper notifications have been made.”

This comes in the wake of Graddick’s first action as director, which was to place three bureau officials on mandatory leave pending investigation into allegations of “malfeasance,” per Friday’s press release. This included his predecessor, former Board of Pardons and Paroles Director Eddie Cook.

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

2 weeks ago

State Rep. April Weaver nominated for vice chair of national Energy Council

(A. Weaver/Contributed)

State Rep. April Weaver (R-Pelham) has been nominated by her Alabama legislative colleagues to serve as national vice chair of the prestigious, Dallas-based Energy Council.

The Energy Council is an association of 13 energy-producing American states and two Canadian provinces that collectively influence energy and environmental policies across North America.

State Sens. Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia) and Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) and Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan), all of whom serve on the executive committee of the Alabama Energy Council, notified the national organization of their support for Weaver, who also sits on the group’s state executive committee.

In a statement, Weaver said she was deeply appreciative of the support being extended to her and noted the Yellowhammer State’s importance in providing energy resources on both a national and international level.

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“When you consider the energy produced by Alabama’s off-shore oil deposits, natural gas reserves, coal stockpiles, and other resources, it becomes clear that our state is a major player and provider on a global level,” Weaver said.

“As national vice chair of the Energy Council, I will work hard to highlight Alabama’s prominence in the energy field and push for policies and recommendations that help our state grow, thrive, prosper, and create even more jobs and opportunities,” she emphasized.

Ward explained that he and his colleagues nominated Weaver because of her ability to work collaboratively with individuals of all backgrounds, beliefs and political philosophies and because of her impressive past efforts as a member of the Alabama Energy Council.

“Since first being appointed as a member of the Alabama Energy Council, Rep. Weaver has amassed a great deal of knowledge about the energy industry in our state and the important role it plays in our economy,” Ward outlined. “Rep. Weaver’s knowledge and expertise about the industry and her proven abilities to bring people from all walks of life together in a cooperative and productive manner obviously make her the ideal candidate to serve as national vice chair of the Energy Council.”

The states comprising the Energy Council are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. The two included Canadian provinces are Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Weaver is a 2018 graduate of the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute, where she received an executive certificate in Energy Policy Planning from the University of Idaho. She is currently the only serving Alabama legislator who holds this certificate.

RELATED: State Sen. Cam Ward reelected chair of Alabama legislature’s energy policy committee

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

2 weeks ago

Doug Jones needs to talk to his party about their gun control plans

(Face the Nation/YouTube, B. O'Rouke, E. Warren, P. Buttigieg, C. Booker/Facebook, YHN)

Monday evening in Elkmont, Alabama, five family members were killed by a 14-year-old with a history of concerns that are being raised after the fact.

Alabama’s junior U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) has responded to the terrible tragedy by pointing out during a town hall in Rainesville that the crime could have been prevented, stating, “This one was clearly one that I believe was preventable somehow, some way.”

Bold statement, but how was it preventable?

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Jones thinks a background check could have prevented this, arguing, “Universal background checks. We need to have some very narrow parameters on universal background checks.”

But, the father, a victim in this crime, possessed the murder weapon illegally because he was a felon.

That seems to be the end of the suggestions from Jones except for the common liberal trope about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that he shared: “What we need to do is study it and we can fund the CDC to do that.”

A study surely wouldn’t have prevented this, nor would a blue-ribbon committee or even an investigative committee.

Jones and I agree on one aspect of this: mental health. He told WAAY-31 that we need to focus on mental health concerns.

This killer was clearly mentally disturbed. Reports from his family members indicate he had gone off the rails in the last year after learning he was not the biological son of the person he viewed as his mother, he was acting erratically and killing animals.

But Jones’ fellow Democrats disagree with him. In fact, they think tying this issue of gun violence to mental illness is wrong. And their voters agree.

They also disagree with taking people’s guns.

Jones says that’s not the answer and that gun owners should not worry.

“Law-abiding citizens should not have any concern about reasonable restrictions that would save lives,” he advised.

For this to be true, Jones needs to lay out some plans of his own and describe what they would do.

His fellow Democrats have plans of gun confiscation.

Gun owners should worry about this a lot.

Excerpt from NBC:

In addition to the mandatory buybacks O’Rourke is championing, other 2020 Democratic candidates have sought proposals to make themselves stand out. This week, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for a threefold and fourfold tax increase on guns and ammunition, respectively. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, meanwhile, has made requiring a federal license to buy firearms a centerpiece of his campaign, and others, like O’Rourke, Warren, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have adopted similar plans.

“You have 20 Democratic presidential candidates each trying to look more anti-gun rights than the other for their base, so they have to have different proposals,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the pro-gun Second Amendment Foundation, said. “It’s more heated. It’s more in-your-face.”

If this is where Jones stands, he better talk to his colleagues because they are heading in the other direction quickly and voters will notice.

Watch WAAY-31’s report:

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

2 weeks ago

Election observers authorized for Montgomery mayoral runoff as voter fraud investigations continue

(S. Ross/YHN)

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill on Thursday held a press conference announcing that 12 individual instances of alleged fraudulent voting activity have been introduced to his office following last Tuesday’s Montgomery municipal election.

With a mayoral runoff for the city upcoming, these dozen cases all currently remain under investigation by the secretary of state’s office and no alleged voter fraud has yet been confirmed or refuted regarding Montgomery’s municipal election.

However, this is not to say that there is no cause for concern.

Speaking to the press, Merrill explained that a lot of consternation from constituents arose over the delayed reporting of results on election night.

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While there is not at this time evidence of impropriety in the administration of that election, Merrill said “human error” definitely occurred, as election workers did not follow standard operating procedure or best practices at times, which led to the increased public scrutiny.

Merrill, citing several constituent concerns and the ultimate goal of upholding the integrity of the voting process in the state, announced that 10 election observers will personally monitor the upcoming October 8 runoff.

These election observers, broken into five teams of two, will be staff members of the secretary of state’s office. These individuals have been properly trained on election procedures and best practices. They will travel to all 46 polling locations in the Montgomery municipal race during runoff voting and will also observe the election reporting process after polls close at 7:00 p.m.

This action, Merrill advised, is not unique to Montgomery’s current election. During his tenure as secretary of state, he has authorized election observers in seven previous municipal elections across the state.

Merrill outlined that the Montgomery Election Center administers the City of Montgomery’s elections per a contractual agreement.

The Montgomery Election Center is a division of Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed’s office. Reed was the leading vote-getter in the city’s mayoral election and will face businessman David Woods in the runoff.

Merrill talked with Reed and Woods before Thursday’s announcement, as well as meeting with all election administrators in Montgomery, including the city clerk. Merrill also spoke with Mayor Todd Strange the day after the election.

“We met with him in the office of the secretary of state, we talked with him about what we had observed [at the Montgomery Election Center on the night of the election], what he had observed. At that time, a formal request was made by him and by the City for us to evaluate and examine what had occurred,” Merrill said. “And then, we reached the conclusion that it was incumbent upon us to have the election observers [for the runoff].”

During last week’s election, Merrill advised that standard pre-election testing of voting equipment apparently did not occur. This concern, along with other examples like poll workers prematurely removing the USB drive from voting machines (causing errors) and the printout of results not being physically posted outside certain precincts, is a focus to be fixed for the runoff, Merrill said. He stressed these things can be avoided if workers follow proper training and operating practices.

Merrill even provided the media with a handout that included some of these proper procedures, which can be read here.

It should be noted that according to the information currently available to his office, Merrill said he was “comfortable” with the accuracy of the reported election results from last week.

At this time, the secretary of state emphasized that they are not indicating that anyone did “anything wrong” besides simple human error from election workers.

“What we do know is that there were some things that happened that made people feel uncomfortable about the way that things were reported,” Merrill explained. “And we want to make sure that everybody that’s involved in the elections process follows the proper and appropriate training that they have had introduced to them. And if they follow those standard operating procedures, there should be no questions about the process or the results.”

“[W]e want to do everything we can to ensure the integrity and credibility of the elections process,” he remarked.

Merrill added that the City of Montgomery has had a contractual relationship with the county to administer its municipal elections since 2000.

“This is not a new agreement or a new arrangement. However, it is the first time that they have been interested in having someone from outside to come in and observe exactly what the process has been,” Merrill stated. “Our singular goal in this entire instance is to ensure that it’s easy for the citizens of Montgomery to be able to vote and difficult for anyone to be able to cheat.”

Why won’t Reed recuse himself?

Long before last week’s Montgomery municipal election, almost a full year ago actually, former Congressman Artur Davis called on Reed to recuse himself from being the lead election official in Montgomery County while running for the mayoral office at the same time. Davis was also a candidate in the mayoral contest.

Davis at that time expressed his worry that some type of opportunity for “impropriety,” or at least “the appearance of impropriety,” would be present.

Now that concerns about the election have materialized, people are again questioning why Reed did not indeed recuse himself — or at least take steps to bring in neutral observers to eliminate any and all appearances of conflict.

“As great as Nick Saban is, he doesn’t get to referee the games he plays in,” Davis outlined. “And that’s really what this comes down to here. If Nick Saban doesn’t get to referee games he plays in, then why should a candidate, in effect, get to referee the game he’s playing in?”

At this time, Reed has not recused himself from the runoff election either.

“What this comes down to for me and, I think, a lot of voters and people in this community, can you trust a player in the game to be the referee?” Davis added.

RELATED: Merrill rebuts SPLC claim that voter fraud is ‘non-existent’ — Cites six recent Alabama convictions

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

2 weeks ago

Will Anderson: Ivey right to stand firm against NAACP call to resign

(NAACP/Facebook, K. Ivey/Contributed)

The head of the Alabama NAACP and two state legislators want Kay Ivey to resign for dressing up in blackface in a college skit 50 or so years ago.

For some, the argument goes something like this: If you think Virginia Governor Ralph Northam should’ve resigned for his blackface infractions while in med school, you must think Governor Ivey should resign now as well or you’re being a hypocrite.

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Remember, though, that Northam is Virginia’s governor and, by extension, Virginia’s problem. Alabamians shouldn’t waste time assessing his character and fitness for office (For the record, I think he should’ve resigned when he calmly, coldly and confidently explained and defended infanticide.).

Here at home, Benard Simelton, the president of the Alabama NAACP, said in a press release that “During Governor Ivey’s administration, she refused to Expand Medicaid, did not support Birmingham increase in minimum wage…”

Mike Cason at Alabama Media Group added, “Democratic lawmakers have called for Medicaid expansion since it became available under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Ivey has not supported expansion, nor has the Republican-controlled Legislature.”

That may be true. And it may be a good or a bad thing. The glaring question, though, is what does it have to do with wearing blackface?

The answer is a mix of identity politics, cultural appropriation and other left-wing blather, to wit: If you are against expanding Medicaid or raising the minimum wage, you’re a likely sicko who finds amusement in blackface.

Democrats from Montgomery to The New York Times have picked up on the Kay Ivey story as another chance to tie conservatism to racism. The governor and the president get along quite well, after all; Ivey is quick at times to tout Trump‘s policies which must – because he’s a Republican and, well, he’s Donald Trump – be a sign of racism.

It’s straight out of the liberal playbook and applied to the current moment: Kay Ivey, as far as the press is concerned, is Alabama’s Donald Trump, at least until election day.

So the question lingers, should the governor resign?

Absolutely not. This is the moment, however unlikely, where she could draw a line in the sand, stand resolutely on one side, and say, “Political correctness stops here.” The nation would love her for it.

And so would we. At some point, our politics must return to governance and away from ridiculously excessive character assaults.

Will Anderson hosts “The Will Anderson Show” weekdays 5:00-7:00 a.m. on north Alabama’s WVNN.

2 weeks ago

WATCH: Ala. Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed stuns crowd with rendition of ‘My God Is Real’

(Tammi Noelle Taylor/Facebook, WH/Flickr)

Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) is already known as one of the state’s greatest orators and most accomplished conservative statesmen. However, judging from a Tuesday performance, Reed might also be the leading contender if there was ever an “American Idol” or “The Voice” style singing competition among Yellowhammer State elected officials.

Per a Facebook video posted by Republican grassroots activist Tammi Noelle Taylor, Reed attended a civic meeting in the town of West Jefferson at which he sang “My God Is Real,” which was made famous by the likes of Don Gibson, Johnny Cash and Mahalia Jackson.

Reed, in a powerful rendition, certainly did these music legends justice.

Watch:

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Additionally, Alabama political observers may be interested in this fun fact: Reed actually previously recorded his own album entitled, “Classic Revival.”

Picture of Reed’s “Classic Revival” cover. (Photo: Tammi Noelle Taylor)

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

3 weeks ago

VIDEO: Ivey’s blackface past, toll bridge dies, ALGOP calls for Omar’s expulsion and more on Guerrilla Politics …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dexter Strong take you through this week’s biggest political stories, including:

— Should Governor Kay Ivey resign over wearing blackface?

— What is next for ALDOT and south Alabama after the death of the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project?

— Was it wise for the ALGOP to target U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN)?

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Jackson and Strong are joined by FM Talk 106.5’s Sean Sullivan to talk about the impact to south Alabama of the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project’s death.

Jackson closes the show with a “parting shot” where he argues that maybe this toll bridge proposal was never meant to succeed.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

3 weeks ago

Roy Moore: ‘I support’ Ilhan Omar’s expulsion — ‘If they take an oath to the Koran – no, they should not serve in Congress’

(R. Moore/YouTube, L. Shaull/Flickr, YHN)

Last week at its summer meeting in Auburn, the Alabama Republican Party passed a resolution encouraging the state’s congressional delegation to call for the expulsion of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the U.S. Congress.

When the resolution attracted national media attention, Omar responded on social media and said if the Alabama Republican Party wanted to clean up politics, it should have reconsidered nominating “an accused child molester” as its U.S. Senate candidate, apparently referring to former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, the GOP nominee for the 2017 U.S. Senate special election.

Moore entered the fray by calling on Omar to “go back to Somalia from whence she came.”

During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Friday, Moore elaborated on his statement regarding Omar and said he supported her expulsion.

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“She brought up my name,” Moore said. “I wasn’t at the resolution. I do support the resolution, and there’s a reason for that under Article I, Section 5 of the United States Constitution. But I did not bring up her name. She brought up mine for no reason. The actions she has done in Congress – she deserves expelling by the Congress on a two-thirds vote of the House. I just responded in kind. She criticized me for supposed-sexual impropriety. In Congress, she has actually been the center of sexual impropriety. And in fact, there’s an action filed in Washington, D.C. as I understand it where she is alleged to have had extramarital affairs with another person while she was in Congress.”

“So her actions, her anti-Israel stand, her criticism of the American military – this touches me deeply because I am from a military background,” Moore continued. “I graduated from West Point. I was fighting in Vietnam before she was even born – 10 years. And for her to criticize me for sexual impropriety – I’ve been married since she was three-years-old. So, this lady just had to cover herself some way, and that’s what she did.”

According to the former state high court chief justice, an oath on the Koran contradicts the U.S. Constitution’s provisions for religious liberty.

“I have a right to respond, and I did,” he said. “It’s a shame that we’ve got people in Congress that don’t even support American values and support Muslim theology, which is directly contrary to the United States Constitution. If they take an oath on the Koran, they take an oath on an instrument that violates religious freedom. They don’t recognize the God who gave religious freedom under our Constitution. And I think that’s a very big criticism of what they’re doing in Congress. They don’t care for religious liberty because their government just violates it.”

Based on that reasoning, Moore said an oath on the Koran should exclude an individual from serving in the U.S. Congress.

“If you swear on the Koran, which does not allow religious liberty, does not support the Constitution of the United States – if you swear on the Koran, that contradicts the religious liberty given under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It was founded on the God of the Holy Scriptures. And we recognize historically that it was that God who gave religious freedom. That’s why you have religious freedom in our country, because that is outside of government interference, except under the Koran.”

“So, I would say if they take an oath to the Koran – no, they should not serve in Congress,” Moore added.

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