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2 weeks ago

Lawmakers must see the road ahead: Modernizing our transportation system benefits us all

Alabama’s manufacturing industry has always been at the heart of our state’s economy. Even today as Alabama’s economy is growing, the manufacturing sector is projected to have above-average growth according to a recent study from the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business.

As we look to continue this economic growth and expanded job base, Alabama must address several challenges, including those regarding our transportation and infrastructure systems. Alabama’s crumbling roads and bridges have garnered much-deserved attention, but there are other issues, too. For example, one of Manufacture Alabama’s primary focuses during the 2019 legislative session will be state funding for a critical port expansion project.

It is important to understand, especially when lawmakers are constantly at odds over how to allocate limited resources, that infrastructure investments are not the only remedy to alleviate stress and congestion on our bridges and roads. Adoption of certain policies – such as increasing the length of twin trailers from 28 feet to 33 feet – should also be considered as a way to modernize our transportation systems.

The length of twin trailers – that is, trucks that pull two connected trailers – is currently capped by a national standard at 28 feet per trailer. However, some states, like neighboring Florida, have passed modern state regulations that allow for 33-foot twin trailers, known as “twin 33s.” By allowing a trailer length increase of just five feet, these states have created an environment for manufacturers, shippers and distributors to transport goods safely and more efficiently.

Twin 33s are a win-win-win proposition. If adopted nationwide, twin 33-foot trailers would result in 3.1 billion fewer vehicle miles traveled each year. From a safety standpoint, this would eliminate an estimated 4,500 truck accidents per year. From an infrastructure standpoint, it would reduce trucks’ impact on roads and bridges, thus improving longevity. And from an efficiency standpoint, it would increase the capacity per delivery by more than 18 percent, even with the current federal total truck weight limit of 80,000 pounds.

The current federal regulations were put in place more than 35 years ago and do not align with the demands of our 21st-century marketplace. Allowing twin 33-foot trailers to operate in all 50 states is a commonsense solution that would improve our transportation and infrastructure systems at no expense to taxpayers. In a time of innovative growth in the business and manufacturing sectors, twin 33-foot trailers will modernize the delivery of products and goods to businesses and consumers across the country. It will allow carriers to move more goods without putting additional trucks on the road and already crowded highways.

As leaders in Washington consider the future of our nation’s economy and our transportation and infrastructure systems, modernizing trucking standards should be an important part of these policy discussions. Our local, state and national economies are on the rise; we must look at the road ahead and support policies to better foster future growth and success.

George Clark is the President of Manufacture Alabama. Manufacture Alabama is the only trade association in the state dedicated exclusively to the competitive, legislative, regulatory and operational interests and needs of manufacturers and their partner industries and businesses.  

14 hours ago

Assistant U.S. attorney to replace Hart in leading Special Prosecutions Division

Multiple sources have told Yellowhammer News that Anna “Clark” Morris, the first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, will take over the Special Prosecutions Division of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.

The announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday. Attorney General Steve Marshall accepted the resignation of Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart, who has led the division for years, on Monday morning.

Morris served as the acting U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s middle district last year, in between President Donald Trump firing former USA George Beck in March of 2017 and now-USA Louis Franklin being confirmed that September.

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Morris is an Alabama native and a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law.

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

14 hours ago

Blue Cross and Blue Shield adds Ted Hosp to its governmental affairs team

Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Alabama is adding one of the state’s top legal minds to its already first-class governmental affairs team.

On Monday, BCBS announced that Ted Hosp has been officially named as the company’s executive director of governmental affairs.

Hosp joins Blue Cross from Alabama-based Maynard, Cooper and Gale, where he most recently chaired the prominent law firm’s governmental and regulatory affairs practice group. Hosp is widely recognized as a leader in the areas of government ethics laws and the legislative process. He is a graduate of Brown University and received his law degree from Fordham University.

In a press release, Robin Stone, BCBS vice president of governmental affairs, lauded the impact that Hosp is expected to have.

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“Ted’s experience at Maynard working with our company on legislative and regulatory issues will enable him to bring immediate and long term value to our advocacy on behalf of our customers at the local, state and federal level,” Stone said.

Hosp currently chairs the Alabama Access to Justice Commission, established by the state Supreme Court in 2007. Additionally, he serves on the Alabama State Bar Committee on Volunteer Lawyers Programs and on the board of the Middle District of Alabama Federal Defender’s Program. Hosp has previously served on the boards of the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program and the Montgomery Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program.

He is married to Alison Wingate Hosp, who handles governmental affairs for the Alabama Retail Association as its vice president.

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

15 hours ago

EPA official resigns after indictment on Alabama ethics charges, replaced by Alabama native

Even with Trey Glenn leaving his post as the EPA’s Region Four administrator, Alabama will still have strong ties to the leader of that office.

According to The Hill, Mary Walker was named by EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler to fill the vacant role in an acting capacity after Glenn resigned on Monday following his indictment on ethics charges in Alabama.

Walker is a native of the Yellowhammer State and had been serving as Glenn’s deputy.

Before her service at the EPA, which included a previous stint as the region’s Water Protection Division director, she served as assistant director and COO for Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division.

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In his resignation letter to Wheeler, Glenn called the charges against him “unfounded” and vowed to fight them. He also stressed that he did not want to become a distraction for the Trump administration’s agenda.

“As you know, unfounded charges have been levied against me that I must and will fight,” Glenn wrote.

He added, “Stepping down now, I hope removes any distraction from you and all the great people who work at EPA as you carry out the agency’s mission.”

Glenn also noted that he intended “to focus on [his] family, fight these unfounded accusations and ultimately clear [his] name.”

Appointed by President Donald Trump, Glenn oversaw the agency’s Region Four, which includes Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky.

After being indicted, Glenn turned himself in last week to be arrested. He almost immediately was released on bond, along with former Alabama Environmental Management Commissioner Scott Phillips, who was indicted on related charges.

Both Glenn and Phillips have denied any wrongdoing.

The charges were brought by the Alabama Ethics Commission, with investigative assistance from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office. Copies of the indictments have still yet to be made public as of Monday.

It is still unclear why the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division was not involved in the investigation, as they specialize in these types of cases. The division’s chief, Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart, also resigned on Monday.

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

15 hours ago

Another day, another political contest where the media wants a Southern state to replicate Alabama’s Doug Jones mistake

When now-Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) was elected in December 2017, people around the globe pretended it was the beginning of something new for Democrats in the South. It was not.

Jones’ election was a one-off event, a blip not a trend. It was an event that happened in spite of rather than because of Jones, his political views and the massive turnout effort of Alabama Democrats.

The national media and their Democrats keep attempting to create the firestorm so they can get their next Doug Jones moment.

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They tried to stop now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by calling him a gang rapist. They failed.

They tried to stop Governor-elect Ron Desantis in Florida by pretending he was racist. They failed.

They tried to bring Stacey Abrams across the finish line in Georgia by claiming her opponent was running a massive voter suppression machine. They failed.

Now, with Mississippi moving into a run-off election for a United State Senate seat where they want to deal the president of the United States another loss on top of his loss of 30+ House seats.

See Sunday’s “State of the Union” on CNN where Jake Tapper leads a “discussion” about the Mississippi Senate race that devolves into a denouncement of “lynching,” which their target Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith never mentioned, as well as a strategizing session about reaching out to black women like Doug Jones did to win in Alabama.

Karine Jean-Pierre on State of the Union – 11-18-18

Democrats want to make every seat in the South into the next Doug Jones.They tried racism in Florida and Georgia, now they are trying it in Mississippi.Oddly, they keep mentioning how Sen. Doug Jones won and pretending it was because he focused on black women.That's just not true, Jones won because Republicans stayed home. The math is simple:President Donald Trump's election in 2016:Donald Trump (R) – 62.08% – 1,318,255Hillary Clinton (D) – 34.36% – 729,547Sen. Doug Jones’ election in 2017:Roy Moore (R) – 48.4% – 649,240Doug Jones (D) – 49.9% – 670,551Gov. Kay Ivey’s election in 2018:Kay Ivey (R) – 59.6% – 1,014,821Walt Maddox (D) – 40.4% – 686,774

Posted by Dale Jackson on Sunday, November 18, 2018

The problem with this is clip is pretty obvious. Jones didn’t win because he energized black women. The only reason Jones won is that Republicans were convinced to stay home in large numbers because they were told their candidate was probably a child molester.

Jones won because Republicans stayed home.

President Donald Trump’s election in 2016:
Donald Trump (R) – 62.08% – 1,318,255
Hillary Clinton (D) – 34.36% – 729,547

Sen. Doug Jones’ election in 2017:
Roy Moore (R) – 48.4% – 649,240
Doug Jones (D) – 49.9% – 670,551

Gov. Kay Ivey’s election in 2018:
Kay Ivey (R) – 59.6% – 1,014,821
Walt Maddox (D) – 40.4% – 686,774

The Democratic turnout in Alabama’s 2017 U.S. Senate race was about one thing and one thing only — liberal hatred of President Donald Trump. The same can be said for the turnout of Democrats in Alabama in 2016 and 2018.

Democrats have plenty of reason to be excited about recent elections – even in the South. They won a race in Alabama that shouldn’t have even been competitive, but the repeated notion that Jones was some trendsetter who fired up a sleeping Democratic base is just a lie.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

16 hours ago

Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine coming to Birmingham in 2019

The Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine,” a magical prom night experience for people with special needs, is coming to Birmingham.

Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church will serve as one of the nearly 500 churches around the world to host Night to Shine on February 8, 2019.

Night to Shine is an event for people 14 and older with special needs to receive royal treatment. Guests will enter the event on a red carpet filled with a crowd and paparazzi. Once they make it into the building, guests will be able to choose from an array of activities to partake in including hair and makeup stations, shoe shining areas and limousine rides. They can also choose their corsages and boutonnieres.

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The event also includes each guest being crowned as king or queen of the prom.

According to the official press release, the purpose of Night to Shine is to “demonstrate to people with special needs that God loves them and that they are worthy.”

Night to Shine launched in 2015, when 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers worked together to honor more than 7,000 kings and queens of the prom. In February 2018, host churches and 175,000 volunteers celebrated 90,000 honored guests with special needs. The next Night to Shine is expected to take place in over 700 locations this coming February.

In addition to several business partnerships, this event will need around 150 youth and adult volunteers.

For more information, or to find out how you can volunteer for this great cause or register for the event, visit here.

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