1 week ago

Ivey officially forms gaming/lottery study group, appoints members

Governor Kay Ivey on Friday formally signed Executive Order 719, which formed her “Study Group for Gambling Policy.”

The study group, first previewed during Ivey’s 2020 State of the State Address last week, will be tasked with gathering detailed information to allow the governor, the Alabama legislature and the citizens of the state to make an informed decision on gaming expansion, according to a release from the governor’s office.

“I am committed to, once and for all, getting the facts so that the people of Alabama can make an informed decision on what has been a hotly debated topic for many years,” Ivey said in a statement.

“Without a doubt, there will be ramifications if we eventually expand gaming options in our state just as there are costs associated with doing nothing,” she continued.

“Every so often, this issue resurfaces through a new form of legislation. By my estimation, we’ve had more than 180 bills regarding a lottery or expanded gaming since the late 1990s,” the governor added.

Ivey on Friday also announced the 12 members of the study group, all appointed by her. Former Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange will chair the group.

According to the governor’s office, all of the members have agreed to sign a pledge adhering to the Alabama Ethics Law and shall serve without compensation or reimbursement for their expenses in this role. They will formally sign said pledge at their first public meeting, which has yet to be announced.

The membership of the Study Group on Gambling Policy is as follows:

Todd Strange (chair) of Montgomery is the former mayor of Montgomery. Prior to his tenure as mayor, he served as chairman of the Montgomery County Commission, former president, CEO and co-owner of Blount Strange Automotive group and former director of the Alabama Development Office (the Alabama Department of Commerce).

A.R. “Rey” Almodóvar of Huntsville is the co-founder and Chief Executive officer of INTUITIVE®. Mr. Almodóvar is a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) and holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, M.S. in Engineering from the University of Arkansas, and M.S. in Business Administration from Texas A&M University. He is a graduate of Leadership Alabama Class XXVI.

Dr. Deborah Barnhart of Huntsville is the chief executive officer (CEO) emerita of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. Previously serving as the Center’s CEO and executive director, her career spans four decades of service in commercial industry, government, aerospace and defense. A retired Navy Captain, she was one of the first 10 women assigned to duty aboard ships and commanded five units in her 26-year career. She has received an undergraduate degree from University of Alabama at Huntsville and Master of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Sloan School of Management and the University of Maryland College Park as well as a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University.

Walter Bell of Mobile is the past chairman of Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurers. Prior to his time in the private sector, he served as the Alabama Commissioner of Insurance. He launched the Mobile County Urban League in 1978 and is a member of the Alabama Academy of Honor for his achievement in civil rights, civic leadership and business.

Dr. Regina Benjamin of Mobile is a physician who served as the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. Prior to her service to our country, she was the former president of the Alabama Medical Association and provided health care to a medically underserved community by founding the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic. She received a B.S. from Xavier University of Louisiana and a M.D. from the University of Alabama.

Young Boozer of Montgomery currently serves as the assistant superintendent of banking at the Alabama State Banking Department. He is the former treasurer for the state of Alabama and has extensive experience with numerous banking institutions such as Citibank, Crocker National Bank and Colonial Bank. Boozer received his B.S. in Economics from Stanford University and a M.S. in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sam Cochran of Mobile has been the Sheriff of Mobile County since 2006. He began his law enforcement career with the Mobile Police Department where he spent 31 years working his way through the ranks – serving his last 10 years as chief of police. Sheriff Cochran serves the community on numerous agency boards, including the Penelope House, Drug Education Council, Boy Scouts of America and the Child Advocacy Center.

Elizabeth “Liz” Huntley of Birmingham is a litigation attorney at Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC. After rising from an unimaginable childhood, she has become a nationally recognized child advocate and serves on numerous boards including the Alabama School Readiness Alliance, the Children’s Village Board of Directors and the Auburn University Board of Trustees.

Carl Jamison of Tuscaloosa is a third-generation shareholder in JamisonMoneyFarmerPC, one of the largest and oldest public accounting firms in the state of Alabama. He primarily works in the areas of tax planning and audit services to clients in the manufacturing, medical, retail, construction, and professional services industries. He received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Alabama and is a certified public accountant.

Justice James “Jim” Main of Montgomery is a former justice on the Supreme Court of Alabama as well as previously served as a judge on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Along with his 30+ year in private legal practice, he served as finance director and policy advisor to Governor Bob Riley as well as legal advisor to Governor Fob James.

Phillip “Phil” Rawls of Pike Road currently serves as a lecturer of journalism for Auburn University. His spent over 35 years working for The Associated Press. His respected career in journalism spanned every Alabama governor from George Wallace to Robert Bentley where he extensively covered government and politics.

Bishop B. Mike Watson of Birmingham is the bishop in residence at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham and is currently serving as the ecumenical officer of the Council of Bishops. He has served as a minister in Dothan and Mobile. In addition to his work in the ministry, he is a past president of the Mobile County School Board, which is the largest school system in Alabama. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and real estate from the University of Alabama, a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Vanderbilt University.

“I’m extremely grateful that some of our most distinguished citizens – from a diverse background including all regions of our state – have agreed to help gather this information,” Ivey remarked. “The specific data they gather will hopefully lead us all to making a better, more informed decision.”

The study group is mandated to submit a final report to the governor, the Legislature and the people of Alabama no later than December 31 of this year.

“Ultimately, I believe the final say belongs to the people of Alabama. As their governor, I want them to be fully informed of all the facts so that, together, we can make the best decision possible,” she concluded.

You can view a copy of Ivey’s executive order here.

CONTEXT:

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians have proposed a plan that would boost the state coffers by over a billion dollars initially and pave the way for a clean, state-run lottery to be instituted. In addition to the initial billion-dollar influx of money to the State coffers, the Poarch Creek plan would reportedly pay the State at least $350 million annually. That plan, along with an education lottery proposed by State Rep. Steve Clouse (R-Ozark), could still be on the legislature’s agenda for the ongoing 2020 regular session, the governor’s study group aside. Clouse estimates his lottery proposal would generate approximately $160 million per year for the State, completely separate from and in addition to the Poarch Creek gaming plan.

Polling has shown overwhelming support for a lottery in Alabama, as well as at least a plurality of support for other gaming expansion. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) on Thursday said it is “highly unlikely” a lottery can pass the legislature without a package deal that includes other gaming.

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

5 hours ago

ALFA urges Alabamians to vote ‘Yes’ on Amendment One

The Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA) is urging the citizens of Alabama to vote “Yes” on Amendment One when they go to the polls on March 3.

Amendment One would alter the governing body of Alabama’s public schools. The system Alabama has currently is a board of eight members that are elected by voters. Amendment One would create a board where each member is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the State Senate.

In the eyes of ALFA, “Amendment 1 provides voters a choice of keeping politicians in charge of the State School Board or replacing them with nine new commission members who are term limited.”

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As part of their support for the amendment, ALFA is joining other groups to fund the “Yes for the Best Education” campaign.

(ALFA/Contributed)

“Amendment 1 offers voters an opportunity to take the first step to improving public schools,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell, who is chairing the campaign.

He added, “Voters recognize that public K-12 schools are undeniably at the bottom of almost every national ranking. At the same time, instability has become the norm at the top of the Alabama State Department of Education, which has seen five state superintendents in the last four years.”

The push to move to an appointed school board was led in the Alabama Senate by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), with strong support from Governor Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia).

“Alabama is just one of seven states that still hold elections for State School Board. If Amendment 1 is approved by voters, local school boards will still control their districts and decision-making,” Parnell advised.

Recent polling from ALDailyNews showed Alabama voters are split on whether or not to approve Amendment One, with many still undecided.

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

6 hours ago

Mooney for Senate endorsed by 10 state legislators

State Rep. Arnold Mooney’s (R-Indian Springs) campaign for the U.S. Senate has received an endorsement from 10 of his colleagues in the state legislature with less than two weeks to go before the primary election.

The endorsers include many of the most conservative members in the Alabama statehouse, like State Rep. Mike Holmes from the Montgomery area and State Rep. Tommy Hanes from Northeast Alabama.

The state-level endorsements fall in line with the prominent national conservatives who have endorsed Mooney previously. Conservative Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY), along with conservative television host Mark Levin, and Alabama’s own Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05) are among those who have thrown their support behind Mooney.

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The full list of state legislators, as follows:

  • Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals)
  • Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens)
  • Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R-Owens Cross Roads)
  • Rep. Tommy Hanes (R-Bryant)
  • Rep. Mike Holmes (R-Wetumpka)
  • Rep. Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa)
  • Rep. Will Dismukes (R-Prattville)
  • Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Florence)
  • Sen. Dan Roberts (R-Birmingham)
  • Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road)

In addition to those legislators, Mooney has gotten the personal endorsement of Eunie Smith, the president of the Eagle Forum. The Eagle Forum is a deeply conservative group with a strong presence in Alabama.

Many of Mooney’s coworkers in the state legislature called him a “friend” in their statements. They praised Mooney’s passion for conservative values, his commitment to pro-life policies and Christian values. The group of legislators that endorsed Mooney on Friday is viewed by many as having similarities to members of the Freedom Caucus in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Dan Roberts said in a statement, “Arnold Mooney is a true conservative and has the record to prove it. Over the years, I have witnessed Arnold stand up to the establishment in Montgomery, fight for the life of the unborn, and ensure that the voice of the people he represents are heard. Arnold is a family man, a true conservative, and a strong Christian. Alabama needs him in Washington.”

“Representative Arnold Mooney is a tremendous friend and colleague who is well suited and very capable of representing Alabama as a United States Senator. He is the true conservative in the race and has the record to prove it,” Rep. Andrew Sorrell advised.

Mooney’s supporters will be hoping the endorsements generate enthusiasm for a campaign that has lagged in recent polls.

Yellowhammer reported earlier Friday that Mooney has $350,626 cash on hand for the remainder of the election. Fundraising is one area where the Mooney campaign’s success has surprised many political observers. The candidate has consistently been able to pull in funds at a level that outpaces his relative standing in public polls, seemingly from small grassroots donations.

(FEC) Totals from the entire race up to Feb 12, 2020.

Mooney will compete at the ballot box on March 3 with former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore.

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

7 hours ago

Dale Jackson: Sessions is punching in all directions — that shows the status of the U.S. Senate race

The race for the United States Senate seat from Alabama has gotten pretty contentious this past week. The knives are out, and it’s about time.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made his presence felt by going after both Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville.

Sessions joined WVNN on Thursday to highlight his concerns with the other major contenders for his old Senate seat.

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Sessions hit Byrne for abandoning the president only weeks before the general election against Hillary Clinton.

Sessions explained on “The Dale Jackson Show,” “Well it’s a huge mistake. It would have guaranteed the election to Hillary Clinton.”

Sessions wants voters to know that he was on stage with now-President Donald Trump wearing a red MAGA hat while “my own Congressman was saying he was unfit to be president and should resign.”

“That would have split the party and been a disaster of monumental proportions, so it is a big deal, I just have to say,” he added.

The attacks pointed towards Tuberville are far more pointed.

Sessions hammered him on his Florida residency, pointing out that Tuberville claimed his homestead exemption in Florida and has never voted in Alabama. He also pointed out that Tuberville did not donate a cent to the Trump campaign, while millions of average Americans did.

“He filed for homestead in Florida in 2018, and he hasn’t voted in Alabama. He voted in Florida in 2018, it appears. I’m not sure he even voted for President Trump, I’m not sure, he certainly didn’t give a contribution to the Trump campaign, he never once spoke out in favor of the Trump campaign. So, now he waltzes in tourist-like, I think it’s a fair word, to say now I want to be Alabama’s senator, and go up there and defend Alabama’s values.”

Sessions in the interview also hit Tuberville on immigration, vets and trade.

My takeaway:

These are all fair arguments. Tuberville filed his homestead exemption, which you file on your primary residence in Florida in 2018. He paid his taxes there. He lived there and admitted to me that he moved here to run for U.S. Senate because he knew his name ID in the state would work.

Tuberville did talk about amnesty for illegals.

Tuberville did say he was blaming Trump for veterans’ health care.

Tuberville did say Trump was putting a noose around the neck of farmers.

The attacks show that Sessions knows he is in a dogfight for his former seat. He is not walking away with this like many thought he would. Polls indicate he is in first or second, so as this race continues to heat up, look for more attacks on his opponents’ records from Jeff Sessions.

Listen:

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

8 hours ago

Mo Brooks, colleagues introduce bill to protect travelers with firearms

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), along with 13 original cosponsors, introduced the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act on Friday.

According to a press release, the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act would “expand the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) ‘transport’ definition to include ‘staying in temporary lodging, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, or any other activity incidental to the transport.'”

In addition, the bill clarifies that the ability to transport a firearm also applies to  ammunition and  detachable magazines, which are essential to the function and purpose of a firearm.

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“‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’ means that Americans do not relinquish their Second Amendment Rights by simply traveling across state lines,” Brooks said. “All Americans have the constitutional right to self-defense whether they are at home or traveling.”

He added, “My bill, the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act, would bar freedom-hating, anti-Second Amendment states and localities from prosecuting firearm-transporting travelers who are passing through on the way to their destination who engage in travel-related activities.”

The press release also noted that FOPA currently prohibits state prosecution of “persons traveling from one place to another for any state firearms offense if the traveler is merely passing through on the way to their destination as long as the firearm is transported in a locked container other than the vehicle glove compartment or console.”

“Despite FOPA protections, a disturbing trend has emerged wherein anti-Second Amendment states and localities increasingly seek to criminalize the possession of a firearm or ammunition,” the release stated. ” These freedom-hating jurisdictions continue to seek ways to prosecute travelers merely for the possession of an otherwise lawful firearm. This bill seeks to safeguard otherwise law-abiding gun owners traveling the country from overcriminalization by anti-Second Amendment states and localities.”

“Malicious state laws  unconstitutionally  criminalize  what would otherwise be considered  law-abiding activity  for the explicit purposes of making gun ownership, possession, and transportation more difficult,” said Aidan Johnston, GOA’s director of Federal Affairs. “The Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act complements the Second Amendment in its mission to protect Americans from governmental infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.”

Johnston added, “I hope every member of Congress supports this simple legislation that protects gun owners while they travel.”

Original cosponsors of the bill include Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36), Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02), Congressman Steve King (IA-04), Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-AL), Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-03), Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10), Congressman Ralph Norman (SC-05) and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).

Follow Kyle on Twitter @RealKyleMorris and Facebook.

9 hours ago

Auburn University announces A-Day kickoff time, ticket sales

Auburn University announced Thursday that its popular A-Day game, presented by Golden Flake, will kick-off at 1:00 p.m. CST at Jordan-Hare Stadium on April 11.

Tickets for the annual spring football game are on sale now through the Auburn Ticket Office for $5 to the general public and free for AU students who have an Auburn Ignited Card.

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Tickets for the event can be purchased here or in-person at the Auburn Ticket Office located at Auburn Arena from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

A press release for the event said a pre-game “Auburn Legends” flag football game will be held in Jordan-Hare Stadium with participating players being announced at a later date. A post-game autograph session will also be held after A-Day. Fans will be limited to one item per person.

A-Day Weekend will also feature the softball and men’s tennis teams competing at home. The softball team will host Ole Miss at Jane B. Moore Field on Friday, April 10 at 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday, April 11 at 4:00 p.m. In addition to the other events occurring, the Auburn men’s tennis team will host Arkansas on Friday, April 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.