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.

5 days ago

Bill Hightower endorsed by National Right to Life Committee

(B. Hightower/Facebook)

Former State Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) received the endorsement this month of the National Right to Life Committee, one of America’s oldest anti-abortion groups.

Hightower is currently in a runoff against Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl to be the Republican nominee in Alabama’s First Congressional District. U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) vacated the seat for an unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign.

The NRLC cited Hightower being “a leader in Alabama’s state senate on life issues” as a key reason for their endorsement.

207

“I am proud to be endorsed by the National Right to Life, America’s oldest and largest pro-life organization,” tweeted Hightower in response to the endorsement.

Carl placed ahead of Hightower by the narrowest of margins in the initial March 3 primary, but neither candidate reached the 50% of the vote necessary to secure the nomination.

Former State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) and Restauranteur Wes Lambert, the third and fourth place finishers in the March 3 open primary, both endorsed Carl, who has taken strong pro-life positions during his congressional bid.

Hightower has been endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and the family values advocates at the Eagle Forum.

The conservative group Club for Growth has also endorsed Hightower and spent heavily to try and make him the winner of the race.

During Hightower’s losing gubernatorial bid in 2018 and in his 2020 campaign for Congress, Hightower has been outspoken on abortion issues, frequently mentioning in ads and campaign appearance the pro-life bills he sponsored as a state senator.

“I will be a voice for the unborn in Congress,” Hightower has promised in several social media posts.

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

6 days ago

Aderholt endorsed by National Right to Life Committee — ‘A strong advocate’

(Robert Aderholt for Congress/Facebook, YHN)

Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) on Wednesday was endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in his Republican bid for reelection this November.

“I am truly humbled to have the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee,” Aderholt said in a statement.

“I have, and I always will, fight for those who are the most vulnerable among us. I cannot think of anyone more vulnerable than the unborn. The National Right to Life Committee is committed to this fight, and it is an honor to fight along side them. As I have said before, no argument on the Pro-Choice side can get around one fundamental fact, abortion stops a human heartbeat,” he continued.

158

The NRLC commended Aderholt as a staunch champion for life in a letter making the endorsement and outlining examples of his pro-life stances.

“You are a strong advocate for life,” the letter stated. “This endorsement reflects your commitment to strengthening a culture of life through our nation and in the U.S. House. We look forward to continuing our important work with you to protect the most vulnerable members of the human family – unborn children, the medically dependent, and person with disabilities, whose lives are threatened by abortion or euthanasia.”

The full letter can be read here.

Aderholt, the dean of Alabama’s U.S. House delegation, will face Democrat Rick Neighbors in the 2020 general election.

Alabama’s Fourth Congressional Delegation was President Donald J. Trump’s strongest district nationwide in the 2016 general election.

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

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

6 days ago

Byrne joins lawsuit against Pelosi that argues proxy voting is unconstitutional

(Bradley Byrne/Facebook, Nancy Pelosi/Flickr, YHN)

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) this week joined a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) after she and House Democrats recently adopted measures allowing members to cast “proxy” votes on behalf of one of their colleagues during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Byrne said he believes that all votes in the House should happen in person and he wants to change the longstanding practice of proxy voting.

“Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to allow Democrats to cast multiple ‘proxy’ votes for their colleagues is a blatant violation of the Constitution. Under rules adopted last week, as few as 22 Democrats could claim a quorum and win a vote against all 197 Republicans,” Byrne said in a statement.

196

The lawsuit is being spearheaded by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who blasted the Pelosi effort as a “brazen violation of the Constitution” and “a dereliction of our duty as elected officials.”

Byrne is the only member of Alabama’s congressional delegation listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, but Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) indicated his support for the effort in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Don’t show up to vote? Don’t accept pay!” Brooks quipped about his coworkers on the other side of the aisle.

Democrats maintain that the rules are an appropriate alteration of procedure amidst the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

McCarthy and Byrne both argued that the Constitution lays out, in McCarthy’s words, a “requirement of actual assembly” before votes can be cast.

“If Democrats won’t show up to vote, they should turn the speaker’s gavel over to Leader McCarthy and the Republicans who are actually willing to show up and work for the people they represent,” added Byrne.

McCarthy’s office put together an overview of the evidence in which his legal effort is grounded that can be viewed here.

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

7 days ago

Mo Brooks continues war of words with ALFA

(Mo Brooks/Facebook, Pixabay, YHN)

It looks like U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) will not be making nice any time soon after Brooks once again criticized their decision making in a Tuesday appearance on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show.”

Brooks was asked about ALFA’s decision to back former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville over long-time U.S. Senator and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the right to take on U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November.

The North Alabama congressman highlighted the differences he has had with ALFA and pointed to similar areas where ALFA might be at odds with Sessions.

185

Those areas of disagreement, per the congressman, are vast and include ALFA’s support for more employment-based immigration.

Brooks stated, “ALFA demands and expects from its politicians, huge taxpayer subsidies.”

He then credited ALFA as “successful at getting special privilege and special dispensations of monies from the United States Congress.”

On the latter issue, Brooks hit back at a particular request he believed drew ALFA into his primary race after he rebuffed attempts by ALFA to gain his support for taxpayer-funded capital improvement projects on private farmland.

My takeaway:

ALFA’s endorsement of Brooks’ 2020 primary opponent Chris Lewis sparked a war of words that continues to this day, and Brooks seems to believe he and Sessions’ similar records on key issues might be helping drive their decision to support Tuberville over Sessions in the race for the U.S. Senate (although it should be noted that FarmPAC endorsed Tuberville before Sessions even entered the race).

Listen:

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

1 week ago

Trump: ‘Jeff Sessions was a disaster as attorney general’ — ‘Not mentally qualified’

(Screenshot/YouTube)

The recent flare-up of the saga of President Donald Trump’s disdain for his former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, continued in an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting’s Sharyl Attkisson that aired on Sunday.

What began as a Twitter spat on Friday night and extended into Saturday between Trump and Sessions, who faces former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville in a July 14 runoff for the Republican Party’s nomination for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat up in November, continued in Trump’s interview.

Trump criticized both Sessions and former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats but gave Sessions the brunt of his most-scathing criticism, calling him a “disaster” and “not mentally qualified.”

340

“[T]hey didn’t do their job,” Trump said. “They didn’t do their job. Dan Coats should have never let that happen. Dan Coats sat there for two years, didn’t do his job. He then had a replacement. There was a nice gentleman from the military, but he was only there for a short period of time. But I’m so disappointed that Dan Coats didn’t do his job. Jeff Sessions was a disaster as attorney general. Should have never been attorney general, was not qualified. He’s not mentally qualified to be attorney general. He was the biggest problem. I mean, look Jeff Sessions put people in place that were a disaster. They took over. They’ve always had the Department of Justice, but they kept it under Jeff Sessions.”

“And the whole thing, the Russian thing is a total hoax,” he continued. “Think of it. They spent $40, $45 million investigating. We took two and a half years. They found nothing. No collusion. A friend of mine called a very smart, great businessman. He said you must be the most honest person in the world. You went through years and years. They interviewed people that I haven’t seen in many years, millions of phone calls, not one to Russia. Look, some of the people.”

“And I say this, I say it proudly. I came to Washington,” Trump added. “I was only here 17 times in my whole life. I came, the 18th time, I was President of the United States. I had a great life. I did really well. A lot of good things that happened. Now, what’s happened, but I didn’t know people in Washington and whether it’s Sessions, which was a mistake or Dan Coats was a big mistake, but Sessions was a big one. Coats, he sat there. He didn’t do anything.”

@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 Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

1 week ago

Trump: Sessions ‘should drop out of the race’ — ‘You had no courage, & ruined many lives’

(White House/Flickr, Jeff Sessions/Facebook, YHN)

For the second consecutive evening, President Donald Trump on Saturday took to Twitter to speak out against former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

On Friday, Trump and Sessions traded barbs on the social media outlet, with the president also encouraging Alabamians to vote for former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville against Sessions in the state’s July 14 Republican primary runoff.

Trump on Saturday moved to get in the last word on the matter.

212

“Jeff, you had your chance & you blew it,” the president tweeted, quoting Sessions’ tweet from the previous day. “Recused yourself ON DAY ONE (you never told me of a problem), and ran for the hills. You had no courage, & ruined many lives. The dirty cops, & others, got caught by better & stronger people than you. Hopefully this slime will pay a big…price. You should drop out of the race & pray that super liberal @DougJones, a weak & pathetic puppet for Crazy Nancy Pelosi & Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, gets beaten badly. He voted for impeachment based on ‘ZERO’. Disgraced Alabama. Coach @TTuberville will be a GREAT Senator!”

Sessions also fired back to the president’s Saturday remarks in a tweet of his own.

The winner of the GOP primary runoff will face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November.

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

1 week ago

Trump: ‘Do not trust Jeff Sessions’ — Sessions responds that Trump ‘damn fortunate’ he recused himself as AG

(Tommy for Senate/Facebook, Fox News, Jeff Sessions/YouTube, YHN)

In a Friday evening tweet, President Donald Trump urged Alabamians to vote for former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville in the state’s Republican primary runoff on July 14.

Tuberville is running against Trump’s first attorney general, former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions.

Trump endorsed Tuberville shortly after the primary election, and the president has recently ramped up his criticism of the former AG.

That continued to escalate on Friday, with Sessions responding in perhaps his most strident manner yet.

181

Trump tweeted, “3 years ago, after Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Fraudulent Mueller Scam began. Alabama, do not trust Jeff Sessions. He let our Country down. That’s why I endorsed Coach Tommy Tuberville… the true supporter of our #MAGA agenda!”

The president also shared a link to donate to Tuberville’s campaign, as well as a video ad released by the Tuberville campaign last week.

In a tweet responding to Trump’s latest remarks, Sessions asserted the president was “damn fortunate” that the then-attorney general recused himself.

An independent poll released earlier this week showed Tuberville leading Sessions by over 23 percentage points.

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

2 weeks ago

Marshall warns nursing home residents on Medicaid should get 100% of stimulus check; ANHA prepared to make sure that happens

(AG Steve Marshall/YouTube, YHN)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a warning Friday that all nursing home residents on Medicaid should receive their federal stimulus money in full. The Alabama Nursing Home Association (ANHA) responded that they had already taken steps to make sure that happened.

“We are now beginning to receive a few reports of concern that some Alabama nursing homes may be attempting to take stimulus checks from residents who are Medicaid recipients,” Marshall announced.

“At this time, we are unaware of any facility where such diversion is occurring. We encourage the Attorney General to contact us any time he has a concern about nursing homes or has information he wants to pass along to our members,” responded ANHA President Brandon Farmer.

336

The Federal Trade Commission first issued a warning about the practice on May 15.

There does not yet appear to be any solid evidence that the nefarious practice Marshall is warning about has occurred in an Alabama nursing home. There has not been a news report published about an incident of the type.

Notably, as part of normal procedure, a number of Medicaid recipients sign over certain resources to the nursing homes in which they live.

National reports indicate that some shady facilities have taken advantage over the ensuing financial interconnectedness of resident and facility to try and confiscate all or part of some senior citizens’ $1,200 stimulus check.

The stimulus check is the money each American adult under certain income thresholds is receiving as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress to deal with the economic effects of the pandemic.

Importantly, Congress classified the stimulus money as a tax credit.

“Under tax law, tax credits do not count as ‘resources’ for federal benefits programs,” explained Marshall as to why stimulus funds were ineligible for a theoretical seizure by a nursing home.

“Since the announcement of the stimulus payment through the Social Security Administration, we have advised our members that any stimulus payment deposited to the accounts of nursing home residents was not to be used to reimburse the facility and is the sole property of the residents,” assured Farmer.

Marshall’s warning stops short of making the reports his office has heard into allegations.

“If this is happening, it needs to stop now,” Marshall remarked about the reports that have gotten back to him.

“We urge Attorney General Steve Marshall to let us know if he has any reports of diversion of residents’ stimulus payments so that we may clarify any misunderstanding that may exist,” commented Farmer.

“As we have done throughout this pandemic, we stand ready to work with local, state and federal leaders to support Alabama’s nursing home residents and employees,” Farmer concluded.

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

2 weeks ago

Mike Rogers praises Trump’s new plan for China

(Congressman Mike D. Rogers/Facebook, White House/Flickr, YHN)

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Saks) praised President Donald Trump’s newly unveiled strategic approach to China on Thursday.

Rogers as the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee has an outsized role in policies dealing with the security and stability of the United States on the world stage.

“I am proud that President Trump has laid out this strategy to combat the Chinese Communist Party’s strategic ambitions and defend democratic interests around the world,” said Rogers Thursday.

322

According to the document released this week by the White House, the Trump administration has “adopted a competitive approach to the PRC, based on a clear-eyed assessment of the CCP’s intentions and actions, a reappraisal of the United States’ many strategic advantages and shortfalls, and a tolerance of greater bilateral friction.”

The PRC is the People’s Republic of China, the official name for the Chinese government. The CCP is the Chinese Communist Party, the ruling political party to which all Chinese government leaders belong.

Trump’s plan does allow for “cooperation where our interests align,” and assures the world that the “United States has a deep and abiding respect for the Chinese people.”

However, the document details that the underlying assumption of America’s last 40 years of Chinese policy — that diplomacy and economic interconnectedness would make China freer and more fair — is now regarded as thoroughly incorrect.

A variety of stronger stances with respect to supply lines in manufacturing and foreign policy stances on issues like Taiwan are detailed in the new Trump approach.

A foreign affairs columnist for the Washington Post says that the document was being drafted before the coronavirus pandemic hit, and was sped up as the virus came to dominate the global discourse.

Rogers had tough words for China amid his praise of America’s new, harsher stance.

“The Chinese Communist Party represents an existential threat to democratic values across the globe. Their totalitarian rule crushes human rights, undermines democratic institutions, and threatens our way of life,” said Rogers in a statement.

He believes the Chinese government “will continue to present a challenge that the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and other federal agencies will combat for the foreseeable future.”

“I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address these threats to American freedom,” concluded Rogers.

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

2 weeks ago

Mo Brooks named ‘Taxpayer Super Hero’

(Congressman Mo Brooks/Flickr)

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) on Thursday released its 2019 congressional ratings, with Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) being named as only one of 27 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to earn a perfect score and the coveted “Taxpayer Super Hero” title.

CCAGW is a leading American grassroots group that promotes fiscally responsible government.

The congressional ratings evaluate key tax, spending, transparency and accountability votes.

166

In a statement, Brooks said, “The CCAGW is one of America’s leading nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots advocacy organizations focused on eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. I’m honored the group named me, one of only 27 House members to receive the honor, a 2019 ‘Taxpayer Super Hero’ for my 100% financially responsible voting record.”

“America’s national debt blew through $23 trillion in November, $24 trillion in April, and $25 trillion in May,” he continued. “In April, the federal government set a new record for the largest ever monthly deficit increase at $738 billion. With Socialists in Washington clamoring to bankrupt America, destroy America, and reshape America into a Socialist country, financial responsibility is more important now than ever. The Socialists cannot win! I’ll continue fighting for financial responsibility and voting to avoid a disastrous American insolvency and bankruptcy. I’m glad to have CCAGW as an ally in the fight.”

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

2 weeks ago

Independent poll: Tuberville leads Sessions by over 23 points

(Jeff Sessions, Tommy Tuberville/Facebook, YHN)

A recent poll conducted independently of either campaign showed that former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville has a major lead over former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Alabama’s U.S. Senate Republican primary runoff race.

Cygnal, a Montgomery-based, nationally respected polling firm, conducted a survey from May 7-10 among 607 likely GOP primary voters. The survey was paid for by Cygnal, which is not involved in the race for either candidate or any outside group. The margin of error was ±3.98%, utilizing a multi-mode methodology of live phones, text messages and email.

Yellowhammer News on Tuesday obtained the topline results from the survey.

229

On the all-important ballot test (when respondents were asked who they would vote for if the election were held today), Sessions garnered 31.8%, with 19.4% total specifying they would definitely vote for Sessions.

Tuberville, meanwhile, garnered 55.1% of respondents, with 36.5% total saying they would definitely vote for Tuberville.

President Donald J. Trump’s opinion of his former attorney general is expected to be a key factor in the runoff, with the president having endorsed Tuberville shortly after the primary.

Sessions’ recusal as attorney general from matters related to Russia has been a constant talking point, even as of late. Sessions has utilized op-eds and interviews to defend his actions, while Trump and Tuberville have continued to slam him for it.

Cygnal’s survey showed that Tuberville led Sessions 56%-31% among GOP primary voters with a favorable opinion of the president. Among men, 62% chose Tuberville, compared to 29% for Sessions.

Sessions’ best voter group in the survey was those age 70+; however, he was still losing that demographic with 38% compared to Tuberville’s 49%.

A Cygnal survey, previously reported by Yellowhammer News, that was conducted March 6-8 showed Tuberville at 52% and Sessions at 40%.

The U.S. Senate runoff will be held July 14. The Republican nominee will face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November.

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

2 weeks ago

Tuberville begins first TV advertising of runoff — ‘Jeff Sessions quit on the president’

(Tuberville Campaign/Youtube/Screenshot)

Tommy Tuberville’s campaign for Senate went up on television Monday with its first television advertising campaign of the runoff.

The former Auburn coach’s spots will be airing for the next 10 days exclusively on Fox News in Alabama. The ad being aired will hit former Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his relationship with President Donald Trump.

“Three years ago this [past] Sunday Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Mueller probe,” Tuberville campaign manager Paul Shashy told Yellowhammer News about the timing.

217

The ad buy was first reported by the company Medium Buying’s Twitter account on Friday.

The Tuberville campaign tells Yellowhammer the primary ad being played will be a spot Team Tuberville first premiered on March 31 that is named “Disaster.”

The piece hits Sessions over his actions as attorney general during the first year of the Trump presidency when he recused himself from an investigation into the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia.

Featured heavily in the spot is a clip of Trump saying that appointing Jeff Sessions to be attorney general is the one thing he would most like to change about his presidency so far.

“Jeff Sessions quit on the president, and he failed Alabama,” Tuberville says in the ad. “I’ll always have President Trump’s back. We’ll drain the swamp, build a wall, no amnesty ever.”

Sessions has maintained his recusal was ethically necessary because he played a prominent role in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“We want to remind voters that Coach Tuberville is a strong supporter of the President—unlike Jeff Sessions, who let down Trump and the state of Alabama,” added Shashy.

Details on the amount of money being put behind the advertising push were not available.

The Republican primary runoff is July 14.

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

2 weeks ago

Sessions earned $108K for speeches after leaving the Trump administration, including $24K from Scaramucci conference

(Jeff Poor/YHN)

A disclosure filed Monday shows former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions earned $108,000 for giving speeches in the months after he left the Trump administration.

The largest fee, $24,000, was paid by Skybridge Capital, an investment firm owned by former Trump communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

The largest single source of payments came from Young America’s Foundation (YAF), a conservative group that often books conservative media stars like Ben Shapiro and Liz Wheeler.

YAF paid Sessions $76,000 for five appearances between February and November of 2019.

495

The presence of Sessions’ disclosure was first disseminated to the public by POLITICO’s Playbook PM newsletter.

Paid speeches are a hallmark of many political figures who are not currently in elected office. Figures like former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Trump campaign official Donald Trump, Jr. have collected high fees, as have former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

One of Sessions’ speeches drew liberal protesters so disruptive that the administrators of Northwestern University were forced to issue citations.

Sessions’ opponent in the 2020 Republican primary runoff, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, has not yet filed his disclosure for income earned in the later months of 2019.

Tuberville’s most recent available disclosure shows he directed nearly all his speaking fees to charity, while reporting income from an RSA pension plan and sports channels like ESPN and the Backroads Sports Network. Tuberville’s lifetime earnings as a college football coach totaled in the millions.

Anthony Scaramucci, whose investment firm paid Sessions $24,000 for an appearance at the company’s SALT conference, served for 10 days as White House communications director.

Though Scaramucci became a Trump critic later in the year, he was still adamant in his support of the president when Sessions took money for the appearance in May 2019.

The SALT conference was founded in 2009 and regularly books important political figures on a bipartisan basis. Past speakers have included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson as well as former Vice President Al Gore.

A seventh speech, for which Sessions was paid $8,000, was made to a consortium of municipally owned electric utility companies.

Yellowhammer News asked the Sessions campaign for comment on the news of the financial disclosure.

A spokesman for the campaign, John Rogers, emailed this statement:

Jeff Sessions is a nationally recognized conservative leader. That’s why he has been endorsed by everyone from the National Rifle Association to the Family Research Council in the race for U.S. Senate. After an incredibly successful tenure as Attorney General, where he led the fight to protect religious liberty and crack down on illegal immigration, as a private citizen Mr. Sessions was honored in 2019 to address conservative student groups at multiple college campuses, a national business conference, and an Alabama-based municipal association. The groups Senator Sessions addressed included a business conference organized by Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump’s former communications director; the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative political youth organization; and the Electric Cities of Alabama association. Senator Sessions especially enjoyed his multiple speeches to young conservatives on college campuses like Northwestern, where radical leftists too often attempt to dictate who speaks and what they can say.

Jeff Sessions is the proven fighter that Alabama and national conservatives trust, and we need him back in the Senate fighting for Alabama.

The Republican primary runoff election is July 14.

RELATED: Absentee balloting still an option for runoff voters concerned about coronavirus

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

2 weeks ago

Ivey sets HD-49 election dates to replace former State Rep. April Weaver

(ARMY/Contributed, YHN)

Governor Kay Ivey announced Monday the special election dates for the contest to replace former State Rep. April Weaver (R-Brierfield), who resigned from her job representing Alabama House District 49 to join the Trump administration.

The deadline to qualify with the two major political parties is Tuesday, June 2 at 5:00 p.m.

The special primary election will be Tuesday, August 4. If that contest does not yield nominees with more than 50% of their party’s vote, a runoff will be held Tuesday, September 1.

The general election date for the special will be November 17.

217

“We are living in uncertain times, and it is critical that every Alabama citizen has their voice represented in the Alabama Legislature. For this reason, we are moving forward in calling a special election to fill the seat in House District 49,” Ivey stated in remarks accompanying the announcement of the dates.

House District 49 encompasses part of Bibb, Chilton and Shelby counties.

(Census Bureau/Screenshot)

Details on Weaver’s position with the Trump administration are not yet available.

HD-49 is a heavily Republican district. The Democratic Party has not contested the seat in the last two cycles.

An independent candidate who wishes to qualify for the general election ballot must file their paperwork with the secretary of state by Tuesday, August 4 at 5:00 p.m.

Ivey added, “I encourage the good men and women in Bibb, Chilton and Shelby counties to participate in the election, and we will continue to ensure all necessary health and safety protocols are practiced at the polls.”

“We also congratulate Rep. Weaver on this next step and are proud to see her continue her role in service to President Trump. I know she will continue representing Alabama well,” concluded the governor.

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

3 weeks ago

Ivey intends to sign FY21 General Fund, ETF budgets — Offers executive amendment on SB 161

(Hal Yeager/Governor's Office)

MONTGOMERY — Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday afternoon announced that she intends to sign both the Fiscal Year 2021 General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets, however she has returned SB 161 — with an executive amendment tacked on — to the Senate.

The executive amendment deals with federal coronavirus relief funds allocated to the State via the CARES Act.

The legislature had proposed allowing the Ivey administration to spend up to $200 million of the approximately $1.8 billion in relevant federal funds available to the State of Alabama. The rest of the sum would be appropriated by the legislature in its normal appropriations process during a special session later this year. This methodology is overwhelmingly favored by Alabama Republicans, according to a recent survey obtained by Yellowhammer News.

Ivey’s executive amendment would make all of the federal funds available to her finance director to be spent. The amendment outlines various categories of ways the money could be spent by the Ivey administration, however, specific projects are not included.

539

The amendment backtracks on Ivey’s pledge to allow the legislature to spend every cent of the federal funding. “I will not call the Legislature back into a Special Session unless and until they provide the people of Alabama – in advance – a full, detailed and public list of how the money will be spent in exact amounts, down to the penny,” she had warned.

This comes after the Goat Hill rumor bill had been abuzz with the prospect of an Ivey veto or executive amendment to the GF budget package.

In a statement released on Thursday, Ivey expressed willingness to repair the bridges she has burned in recent days with members of the legislature.

Ivey’s full statement as follows:

Unlike other emergency relief bills that have been passed by Congress during recent disasters, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by President Trump on March 27th with the clear intent of reimbursing only those expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, this obligation is for a period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020, meaning if this money isn’t spent, not just allocated, by the end of this year, it goes back to the U.S. Treasury.

Alabama’s total share of the CARES Act funds is a little over $1.9 billion. That’s a lot of money for sure, and if spent wisely, it could very well help us pay for many legitimate expenses incurred by cities, counties and the state, nursing homes and hospitals, schools and colleges — and other worthy expenditures – that are directly connected to COVID-19.

This afternoon, I sent a letter to each member of the Legislature to inform them I intend to sign both the FY 2021 General Fund Budget and the FY 2021 Education Trust Fund Budget. Additionally, I will be proposing an Executive Amendment to SB161 to ensure that the CARES Act money is immediately put to use for the purposes Congress and President Trump intended.

I have known many in the legislature for a long time and have built many lasting, true friendships. Like any working relationship, you will have occasional disagreements. Tension can be a good thing if you allow it to birth good ideas; we must not allow ego or personal agendas to outweigh the public good. My firm opinion remains that most members of the Legislature want to do the right thing while making certain this money helps the people of Alabama who have been harmed by this disease.

There are over 10,700 people who have currently tested positive and 450 have died in the last two months from this disease. Also, over 450,000 people have filed for unemployment compensation, which is more than the last two years combined. While no one could have predicted COVID-19, it is easy to conclude this pandemic has touched every aspect of our daily lives.

I look forward to working with the Legislature on Monday and in the days ahead.

Ivey also penned a letter to the legislature explaining her latest moves. That letter can be read here.

The legislature will return May 18 for the final day of the 2020 regular session.

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

3 weeks ago

Ted Cruz endorses Bill Hightower for Congress

(Bill Hightower for Alabama, Senator Ted Cruz/Facebook, YHN)

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) endorsed former State Senator Bill Hightower’s (R-Mobile) campaign for Congress on Thursday.

Cruz announced the endorsement via tweet, saying, “I’m proud to support and endorse [Bill Hightower] for Congress in #AL01”

Widely thought of as one of the most conservative members of Congress, Cruz placed second in the 2016 Republican presidential primary and is beloved by conservative activists across the United States.

375

“I am honored to have his support for our campaign for Congress,” Hightower said of Cruz.

The former state senator added, “Senator Cruz has been a trusted conservative fighter who has earned the reputation as a powerful advocate for the unborn, religious liberty, and the conservative values that make us the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

Cruz often seeks out candidates in Republican primaries he feels are more conservative than their opponents, and he appears to have made that decision about Hightower.

“I am proud to endorse Bill Hightower for Congress in Alabama’s 1st congressional district. Bill is a trusted leader who has fought for the unborn, for protecting our religious liberties, and for fiscal responsibility in Alabama,” said Cruz in a statement provided by Hightower’s campaign

“I’m confident Bill will fight alongside me in Washington as we combat the radical left that is trying to move our nation away from the free market to socialism. I urge you to join me in supporting Bill Hightower for Congress,” added Cruz.

Endorsements made by Cruz are often based on a candidate’s conservative bona fides more than any other factor. Cruz endorsed Kevin Stitt to become governor of Oklahoma and Stitt won that race, but Cruz endorsed Patrick Colbeck to become governor of Michigan before Colbeck placed third in the Republican primary.

Hightower is currently in a primary runoff election against Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl to represent the First Congressional District.

In the initial March 3 open primary Hightower placed second to Carl by the narrowest of margins. Carl received 1,226 more votes than Hightower out of over 99,000 ballots returned.

Since the March 3 primary, Carl has received the endorsements of third and fourth place finishers Chris Pringle and Wes Lambert, respectively.

Hightower has been endorsed by former Pennsylvania Governor Rick Santorum and the conservative group Eagle Forum.

Hightower also continues to be actively backed by the conservative organization Club for Growth, which has spent over $900,000 with the goal of Hightower winning the primary.

The primary runoff election will be held on July 14.

RELATED: Merrill: Absentee balloting still an option for runoff voters concerned about coronavirus

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

3 weeks ago

AL-02 candidate Barry Moore releases video comparing his perjury trial to Michael Flynn’s legal battles

(Barry Moore Campaign/YouTube)

Former State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) released a video on Tuesday evening comparing his 2014 prosecution for perjury to the legal treatment received by Lt. General Michael Flynn.

Moore is currently in a runoff against Wiregrass businessman Jeff Coleman to be the Republican nominee in the race to represent Alabama’s Second Congressional District.

In 2014, Moore was prosecuted for perjury after it was alleged he lied to a grand jury during a corruption investigation of then-House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). Moore was acquitted on all counts by a Lee County jury.

The video, titled “Not Guilty,” lasts almost six minutes and rehashes from the perspective of Moore’s family what it was like to go through the trial.

366

In remarks at the beginning of the video and in a release from Moore’s campaign, the candidate ties his experience fighting a perjury trial to Flynn’s recent legal battles.

After a distinguished career in the Army, including service as President Barack Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn was chosen by President Donald Trump in 2017 to be the current administration’s first national security advisor.

After 24 days in the administration Flynn resigned at Trump’s request after admitting to deceiving Vice President Mike Pence about conversations Flynn had with Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak.

It was later revealed through media reports that Flynn was the subject of numerous investigations due to his connections with foreign officials in Turkey and Russia. Most of the investigations originated during the Obama administration but were continued during the early part of the Trump administration.

During one investigation, Flynn made comments to members of the FBI that constituted lies in the mind of then-special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Mueller decided to charge Flynn with lying to a federal agent, Flynn subsequently plead guilty to the charges.

In recent weeks, notes taken by some of those who investigated Flynn were unsealed by a judge. It has been alleged the notes point to overaggressive and/or unethical tactics by the prosecutors and investigators.

Many conservative politicians, such as former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have called the documents evidence of a “perjury trap.”

Bill Barr, the current attorney general in the Trump administration, dropped the charges against Flynn in the past few days, a move that caused some controversy in the legal community.

Pence said this week he would be happy to see Flynn back in the Trump administration.

“My heart goes out to General Flynn and his family. Having gone through this same kind of fire, I know just how hard it is on you and your family,” said Moore in a statement.

Moore added that he had to face a “perjury trap that was the same kind of politically-motivated witch hunt” that, in Moore’s view, was experienced by Flynn.

“In both our cases, the truth was finally revealed and justice prevailed,” asserted Moore.

Watch:

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

3 weeks ago

Jones calls on Trump, Pence, Republican senators to wear masks in public

(Sen. Jones/Twitter)

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) scolded certain Republicans on the federal level for appearing in public during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic while not wearing masks. Jones also gave a hat tip to Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) for her administration’s recent approach to the crisis.

Speaking to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Jones bemoaned what he views as Republicans not setting a good example for the American public.

“I was waiting to get on the [internal Capitol] subway yesterday, and a group of Republican senators got off,” Jones lamented. “Not a single one of them or their staffs were wearing masks.”

“I think that sends a wrong message,” Alabama’s junior senator continued. “I would like to see the administration — the president, the vice president — whenever they are out, they need to be wearing a mask.”

350

“I think we have to set an example. I’ve been trying to do that in my home state for the last six weeks or seven weeks. Set an example,” he added. “Try to tell people, ‘It’s OK. It’s not a cultural shock to wear a mask out in public these days, because I want to protect your health. And I want you to protect mine.’”

Jones stressed this point in a clip from the interview posted to his official office Twitter account.

Jones told CNN that he is “absolutely” nervous about Alabama reopening its economy.

“I think the governor has done a pretty good job of trying to thread that needle,” he added. “She has got a lot of pressure. Every state around us is trying to open back up. People are getting antsy — they want to get out, they want to do some things. But even the governor in her press conference [last Friday] stressed the need to do the social distancing, stressed the need to wear masks.”

“I think part of this is going to depend on not just the opening, but it’s going to depend on the American public. Look, we’re in a — what is amounting to a — moving into a post-9/11 world where we need to wear the masks, we need to do the social distancing,” Jones said. “If we can do those things and open up slowly and work with folks, I think people will have more confidence. But they need to do the social distancing. They need to wear those masks.”

RELATED: Doug Jones warned town hall audience not to listen to Trump about coronavirus

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

3 weeks ago

Poll: Alabama Republicans support legislature, not Ivey, appropriating COVID-19 relief funds

(Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)

MONTGOMERY — Yellowhammer News on Tuesday obtained polling that shows an overwhelming majority of Alabama Republicans support the state legislature appropriating federal COVID-19 relief funds rather than Governor Kay Ivey.

In the wake of a much-publicized row over how the state will handle appropriating federal CARES Act dollars, the Alabama Senate and House Republican Caucuses commissioned a survey by Cygnal, a Montgomery-based, nationally respected polling firm.

Cygnal founder and CEO Brent Buchanan spearheaded Ivey’s campaign in 2018.

The survey featured a wide range of questions, including favorability tests for both Ivey and the Republican members of the legislature in general.

305

Asked their overall opinion of Ivey, 69.5% responded favorably compared to 26.2% unfavorably.

Republicans in the state legislature actually received higher marks on the same question, with 70.3% responding favorably compared to just 16.1% unfavorably.

The survey also specifically asked respondents about whether they support Ivey’s handling of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. To this question, 66% indicated that they approve of her job performance while 26.9% do not approve.

Perhaps the most pressing question received the most clear-cut result.

The survey asked, “Do you believe Governor Ivey should have sole discretion over how to spend any federal stimulus money coming to Alabama, or should the money be appropriated through the normal legislative process allowing for public input?”

Responding to this prompt, 67.5% answered that the legislature should appropriate the money, compared to only 17.8% saying Ivey should have sole discretion.

The Fiscal Year 2021 General Fund budget package passed by the legislature last week would allow Ivey to spend up to $200 million of the approximately $1.8 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds afforded to the state by the CARES Act. The legislature believes this would allow Ivey enough funds to make emergency purchases and timely reimbursements, while the rest of the total sum could be appropriated in a special session, allowing input from each district in the state and a fully transparent process through committees and floor debate.

However, Ivey has indicated, according to House Ways and Means General Fund Chairman Steve Clouse (R-Ozark), that she may veto the General Fund over the CARES Act funding issue. The governor’s office in a statement told Yellowhammer News, “All options are on the table.”

Cygnal’s poll was in the field from May 7-10 and surveyed 607 respondents. The margin of error was ±3.98.

A polling memo is available here.

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

3 weeks ago

Alabama State Rep. Weaver resigns to join Trump administration

(A. Weaver/Contributed)

State Rep. April Weaver (R-Brierfield) on Tuesday announced that she has resigned effective immediately to join the administration of President Donald J. Trump.

She was first elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in November 2010 and was in her third term.

A release from Weaver did not disclose what her new role will be in the Trump administration, however, an announcement from the White House about her appointment is expected soon.

314

During her time in the House, Weaver also served in numerous national and state legislative leadership roles. In 2015, she became the first woman in Alabama history to be appointed as chairman of the House Health Committee. In addition to serving as Health chair for five legislative sessions, she also served as chair of the Shelby County House Delegation, as well as a member of the Rules, Internal Affairs and State Government committees. Weaver served in the national roles of vice chair of the Health and Human Services Committee for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and vice chair of the Energy Council.

She has also served on numerous healthcare-related boards and task forces, including the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council. A registered nurse who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, Weaver has over 23 years of leadership and management experience working in urban, suburban and rural hospitals. She has been recognized across the state for her healthcare leadership.

“Serving in the Alabama House of Representatives has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Weaver said in a statement.

“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to represent the people of House District 49 for the past ten years. I am forever grateful for the trust and confidence they have placed in me as their Representative and I am deeply honored to have been chosen to join the Trump Administration. I am excited to be able to use my skills and experience at a national level during this unprecedented time and I look forward to supporting President Trump’s initiatives and serving the people of our nation,” she continued.

Weaver’s House District 49 includes parts of Shelby, Bibb and Chilton Counties. A special election will be necessary to fill the seat until the 2022 cycle.

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

3 weeks ago

Bills about helping military families, medical marijuana, police officer protections, yoga delayed by COVID-19

(ABC News/YouTube, Pixabay, National Military Family Association, YHN)

Add the plans of Alabama legislators to the many facets of life disrupted by the coronavirus.

After a pandemic-induced six-week break from mid-March until early May, state leaders agreed that upon resumption of session, only local bills and the budgets would be voted upon because the statehouse had to be closed to the public as a health precaution.

That decision meant dozens of bills, which earlier in the session had passed out of one chamber or the other, will not soon see the light of day.

Among the notable pieces of legislation stymied by COVID-19 is a bill to further protect police officers, a bill to allow for medical marijuana, a bill to allow yoga in schools, a package of bills making Alabama more military friendly and a bill to make Dauphin Island Sea Lab the official Aquarium of Alabama.

797

State Representative Rex Reynolds’ (R-Huntsville) bill to that would make law enforcement officers a class of individuals protected by hate crime statutes was the subject of many headlines in February when it was introduced. The legislation passed the House 93-0 but was left languishing in the Senate at the end of the coronavirus-shortened session.

State Senator Tim Melson’s (R-Florence) initiative to allow doctors in Alabama to prescribe medical marijuana is among the most notable pieces of legislation left out in the cold.

The bill saw some of the longest, most intense discussion on the floor of the Senate and in the end passed with 11 republicans voting nay.

The medical marijuana discussion in the House was poised to be one of the most fraught of the session before COVID-19 put the whole issue on the back burner.

Legislation from State Rep. Alan Baker (R-Brewton) and House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) dealing with retirement for teachers and judges respectively were set to be hot topics of discussion before the rest of the session evaporated.

Though its ultimate fate was uncertain, a prominent lottery bill was introduced by State Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) and had dozens of co-sponsors, including House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia).

Even as Governor Kay Ivey attempted to head off gaming talk with the formation of a group in January that was designed to study the issue, a lottery discussion was likely to occur in the House if COVID-19 had not arrived in Alabama.

One of Ledbetter’s priorities for the session was an upgrade to the state’s mental health offerings.

As part of the appropriations process, Ledbetter was able to secure a $5 million investment in mental health service coordinators for school systems, but many other parts of his project were upended by the coronavirus shortening the session.

Two pieces of legislation under Ledbetter’s mental health umbrella were stalled out due to COVID-19; A bill from Rep. Rex Reynolds that would require 16 hours of crisis intervention training for police officers; and a bill from Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy) that would allow officers of the law to take people experiencing mental health episodes into protective custody.

Most observers widely expect at least one special session of the legislature to be called by Ivey later this year, and many feel the mental health bills would likely see passage at that point.

Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth put together a package of bills aimed at making Alabama a more friendly state to those service in America’s armed forces.

Bills that would make it easier on spouses and children of active duty service members to obtain jobs and schooling were sponsored by State Senators Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road) and Donnie Chesteen (R-Geneva)

Though not directly part of Ainsworth’s package, in the House, State Reps. Rhett Marques (R-Enterprise) and David Standridge (R-Hayden) sponsored similar pro-military bills that would exempt veterans and/or active-duty members from certain state fees.

None of those bills were able to make it through due to COVID-19, but they all have strong support from both sides of the aisle, making them likely to see passage at some point in the future.

Violent offenders on work release will go another year with unencumbered ankles because of COVID-19. State Rep. Matt Simpson’s (R-Daphne) bill to require prisoners convicted of violent offenses to wear ankle monitors while on work release passed the House but did not have time for consideration by the Senate because of the coronavirus.

A statehouse insider tells Yellowhammer that in addition to those bills that had passed out of one of the chambers, several bills that had not yet reached that stage were likely to be important topics of discussion.

A two-bill package termed the Jobs Act that dealt in part with tax credit renewal, and a bill on the simplified sellers use tax (SSUT), had not yet been fully introduced, but were priorities for leadership that will have to wait until a future meeting of the legislature.

Smaller affairs that are still the duty of government also slipped by the wayside due to the coronavirus.

State Rep. Jeremy Gray’s (D-Opelika) bill to allow yoga to be taught in schools will have to wait for a new session. Alabama will remain the only state in the union that prevents yoga instruction.

It cleared the House of Representatives by a vote of 84-17, but because of COVID-19, students in Alabama’s public schools will have to keep their mats at home for another year.

Alabama is currently without an official state aquarium, and it looks to stay that way for another year.

State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollingers Island) passed a bill through the House that would designate Dauphin Island Sea Lab as the official Aquarium of Alabama but that legislation, like so many others, will have to wait.

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

3 weeks ago

AG Marshall signs on to letter asking Congress to investigate China’s role in COVID-19 outbreak

(Steve Marshall Campaign)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, alongside 16 other state attorneys general, has signed on to a letter asking Congress to investigate China’s role in the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter is dated May 9, and was primarily authored by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.

“[W]e are writing to ask for Congressional Hearings into the communist Chinese Government and its role in the COVID-19 pandemic,” begins the letter, which is addressed to the leadership of both chambers in the U.S. Congress.

298

The attorneys general are alarmed about reports which “suggest that the communist Chinese government willfully and knowingly concealed information about the severity of the virus while simultaneously stockpiling personal protective equipment.”

Many Republican leaders have taken tough stances on China in recent weeks as consensus has grown around the nation’s communist government having a role in covering up the initial coronavirus outbreak.

Marshall himself was urged by Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl to sue China for damages caused by COVID-19.

Carl is in a runoff for the Republican nomination in the race to represent Alabama’s First Congressional District. His opponent, former State Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile), has sent supporters messages urging them to “Stand up to Communist China.”

The Alabama politician most vocal on China has been former Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who has released a multi-part plan to counter what he sees as “China’s cold blooded drive for power.”

Sessions served as Alabama Attorney General in the 1990s and served as the first U.S. Attorney General under President Donald Trump. He is currently seeking his old Senate seat.

President of the Alabama Public Service Commission Twinkle Cavanaugh told Yellowhammer News, “We’ve reached zero hour for action against China.”

One of the attorneys general in Marshall’s letter has already filed a lawsuit against China for damages caused by COVID-19. The letter says that “many of us are considering similar legal actions.”

“Congressional hearings are critical to our Nation’s understanding of the origins of COVID- 19 and efforts by the communist Chinese government to deceive the international community. We appreciate your consideration of our request and we all stand ready to support and participate in any hearings you choose to conduct,” the letter concludes.

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

3 weeks ago

Doug Jones: Kavanaugh, Biden sexual assault allegations like ‘apples and oranges’

(NY Post/Twitter)

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has doubled down on supporting his longtime friend, former Vice President Joe Biden, as the 2020 presidential hopeful faces allegations from a former staffer that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993.

Jones in a Wednesday Huffington Post article broke his silence on the allegations by attacking the “credibility” of the accuser, Tara Reade.

“The more that comes out, the more and more it, to me, does not have the indicia of credibility that I would be looking to at all,” Jones said of Reade’s account.

However, in an article posted Friday by Politico, Jones pivoted from defending Biden directly to accusing Republicans of being “the pot calling the kettle black.”

370

This came after new evidence emerged showing Reade’s ex-husband had in 1996 court proceedings referenced her being sexually harassed when she worked for Biden’s Senate office.

Jones’ comments to Politico came in the context of his vote against confirming Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

In announcing his vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Jones tweeted, “Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford was credible and courageous and I am concerned about the message our vote will be sending to our sons and daughters, as well as victims of sexual assault. I will be voting no.”

Jones, who in January 2018 was escorted by Biden to the Senate floor to be sworn in, told Politico the respective allegations against Kavanaugh and Biden are like “apples and oranges.”

“It wasn’t just about who you believed, it was about the whole nature of the Kavanaugh hearings, the lack of investigation,” Jones told the outlet, before turning his ire to President Donald J. Trump.

“I mean we got a president of the United States who simply said, ‘I didn’t do it,’ and they’re OK with all of that? As we say in the South, that’s kind of the pot calling the kettle black. I don’t think they want to start really opening up allegations of misconduct like that,” Jones added.

Alabama’s junior senator was an early backer of Biden’s 2020 presidential bid, vowing to back whomever the Democrats ultimately nominated against Trump, no matter how radical that individual was.

“Anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones will always put Washington Democrats ahead of being honest with the men and women of Alabama,” NRSC spokesperson Nathan Brand said in a statement.

Overall, Jones has been quick to come to Biden’s defense this election cycle.

The Democratic senator pushed back on Congressman Bradley Byrne’s (AL-01) call for an investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings and how Joe Biden was involved.

Jones also defended Biden last year when he came under fire for remarks about former segregationist Democratic senators, as well as deeming past sexual misconduct allegations against Joe Biden as distractions from beating Trump in 2020.

RELATED: Doug Jones: Biden does not have ‘senior moments’ — Just ‘Joe Biden moments’

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

4 weeks ago

House General Fund chair: Ivey could veto budget over COVID-19 relief funds

(Screenshot/APTV)

MONTGOMERY — State Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark) on Friday released a statement saying that Governor Kay Ivey has “indicated” that she will veto the Fiscal Year 2021 General Fund budget that passed the Alabama legislature on Thursday.

Clouse is the House Ways and Means General Fund committee chairman.

His statement follows Ivey on Thursday announcing that she was relinquishing spending control over all of the approximately $1.8 billion in coronavirus relief funds made available to the State by the federal government through the CARES Act.

The General Fund budget package passed by the legislature allowed Ivey to spend up to $200 million of that total amount in order for emergency purchases and reimbursements to be immediately made whenever necessary.

287

Funds appropriated by the legislature would have to come through a special session later in the year, so legislators have explained that some of the monies would best be controlled by the executive branch in order to ensure timely, responsive spending for healthcare-related expenses.

However, Clouse’s statement asserted that Ivey would veto the budget because she does not want control over the $200 million in CARES Act funds.

“Governor Ivey has indicated she will veto the budget we sent to her yesterday as she plans to cede full authority over COVID-19 funds to the Alabama Legislature,” Clouse stated.

Yellowhammer News’ request to the governor’s office for comment was not immediately returned.

Clouse called on the governor “to reconsider her decision to relinquish all responsibility over COVID-19 funding.”

“Just like it would be too easy for us to defer to the Governor completely, it is counterproductive for her to shift all responsibility to us,” he added. “We do not have the luxury of a power tug-of-war or political games — too much is at stake. Alabamians deserve leaders who can work together and it’s time for us to step up.”

The General Fund budget passed the House by a vote of 75-1. The Senate then quickly voted 30-0 to concur with the House-passed version of the budget bill. A simple majority of each chamber would be needed to override an Ivey veto, should that occur.

UPDATE 4:50 p.m.

Asked for comment on Clouse’s statement that the governor has indicated she will veto the General Fund budget, Ivey’s spokesperson responded, “All options are on the table.”

This story is breaking news and may be updated.

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