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2 months ago

Luther Strange calls on Jeff Sessions to run against Doug Jones in 2020

In a tweet on Wednesday, former Alabama Attorney General and United States Senator Luther Strange called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to run against Senator Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) in 2020.

Strange was appointed to Sessions’ former Senate seat after he became attorney general in February 2017. Jones currently occupies this senate seat after Strange was defeated by Roy Moore in the special election’s Republican primary runoff, and Moore then lost to Jones in the December 2017 general election.

Political observers in Washington, D.C. expect that Sessions will be fired by President Donald Trump now that the midterms have passed.

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

51 mins ago

Doug Jones votes against banning federal funding of abortions, Shelby votes to ban

On Thursday, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) joined his Democratic colleagues in blocking the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act,” and then potential Republican challengers to Jones’ reelection in 2020 slammed his pro-abortion vote.

The bill, which would permanently stop federal funding for abortions, was brought to the floor by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the day before the annual March for Life was set to take place in Washington, D.C. A vote to open debate on the bill failed 48-47, with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) breaking with their party to vote against the measure while Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted with Republicans.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is a cosponsor of the bill and voted “yes” on advancing to debate.

In a tweet, Shelby said he was “[p]roud to support” the bill.

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“Americans’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to fund abortions & this bill would permanently prohibit that. Let’s work together to pass legislation that protects & defends life,” Shelby added.

On the other hand, Jones voted with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), continuing his pro-abortion voting record in the Senate. With a tough reelection battle coming up, Jones was immediately faced with criticism over his latest move.

In a press release, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) said, “Today, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would permanently end taxpayer funding of abortion. I was especially disappointed that one of the votes against the pro-life bill came from Doug Jones, one of Alabama’s senators. Standing up for the unborn and opposing abortion is a core Alabama value, and today’s vote shows the urgent need for more pro-life Senators.”

“This vote was especially notable as thousands of people from across the country, including hundreds from Alabama, will march in the streets of Washington, D.C. tomorrow in support of life,” Byrne added. “As long as I am able to represent the people of Alabama, I will always fight for those who can’t fight for themselves and be a leader for pro-life policies.”

State Auditor Jim Zeigler released a statement saying that “the abortion vote shows again that Doug Jones does not represent the people of Alabama. Jones is for abortion up to the moment of birth. Alabama people are pro-life.”

The bill also would have banned Obamacare subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion and addressed subsidies to groups like Planned Parenthood indirectly supporting their abortion practices.

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

15 hours ago

Gordon mayor convicted of voter fraud, removed from office

The mayor of Gordon, Alabama, has been convicted of voter fraud and removed from office.

News outlets report Elbert Melton was convicted Wednesday of unlawfully falsifying ballots when he was elected in 2016.

He defeated challenger Priscilla Wilson by a 16-vote margin.

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This conviction strips him of his office. The Gordon Town Council will appoint an interim mayor to serve until an election is held.

Melton was charged in September with absentee ballot fraud and second-degree theft of property.

Arrest warrants say he knowingly obtained or exerted unauthorized control over $1,700 that belonged to the town.

Prosecutor Mark Johnson says the judge has released Melton on bond. Melton is set to be sentenced next month on the fraud charge.

He still is facing the theft charge.
 (Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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15 hours ago

Newly installed Alabama chief justice names a director of courts

Alabama’s chief justice on Wednesday announced that Rich Hobson will serve as his administrative director of courts, a position he held twice under former Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Hobson last year unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Martha Roby in the Republican congressional primary.

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He also managed Moore’s unsuccessful 2017 campaign for U.S. Senate, a race Moore lost after being accused of sexual misconduct — allegations he denied.

Chief Justice Tom Parker also worked for Moore before being elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2004 as an associate justice.

The director assists the chief justice, who oversees the state court system.

Parker was sworn in last week as the state’s new chief justice after winning the November election.

In a statement announcing the appointment, Parker praised Hobson both as an innovator and someone who will help keep “leftist influences” out of the state court system.

“There is no one in Alabama who knows and understands the court system better than Rich Hobson. He is an effective, efficient, and competent administrator who has hit the ground running,” Parker said.

“Like me, Rich is a strong constitutional conservative who shares my philosophy and will help me keep leftist influences out of our court system,” Parker said.

Hobson has three decades of experience in the court system.

He held a variety of jobs before becoming the director of the court system, including court referral officer and managing the judicial volunteer program and the family preservation court improvement project.

Moore twice named Hobson as his administrative director of courts.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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15 hours ago

State Sen. Shay Shelnutt: ‘Maxine Waters needs to leave Alabama banks alone’

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have taken over the House Financial Services Committee, and one Alabama state senator is already pushing back on their agenda.

Sen. Shay Shelnutt (R-Trussville) is the incoming chairman of the Alabama Senate’s Banking and Insurance Committee, and he told Yellowhammer News that he fears the approach Waters and Ocasio-Cortez take could end up harming the Alabama banking community and the consumers who depend on it.

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“Maxine Waters and Ocasio-Cortez have no idea what it takes to build a business and take care of customers day in and day out,” said Shelnutt. “They are going to try to take sound bites that sound good to their liberal base and turn that into policy. The only thing that will end up doing is hurting our hometown banks and the families and small businesses that depend on them.”

Shelnutt sees the measures taken by President Donald Trump to loosen burdensome regulations as a good thing for Alabama’s economy.

“Our banks and small businesses finally got some relief from Trump when he got in there and cut a lot of the red tape Obama left behind,” he continued. “Now the Democrats in Congress are taking over, and they want to put the Obama restrictions back in place and maybe even worse.”

As a first-year chairman of his chamber’s banking committee, Shelnutt thinks his committee can play an important role in maintaining a sound environment for Alabama businesses.

“We have an outstanding group of senators on Banking and Insurance,” noted Shelnutt. “I feel confident we can do some things, from a policy-making standpoint, that will really help our state. We’re committed to helping consumers and small businesses, and we can do that by making sure we have healthy financial institutions.”

Shelnutt thinks there is a lot at stake and said he will continue to closely monitor what happens in Washington.

“There are banks in small communities all across Alabama that are depending on us,” he added. “I hope this is nothing more than posturing by Washington politicians. Bottom line: Maxine Waters needs to leave Alabama banks alone.”

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

16 hours ago

Brooks is right — Trump could do the State of the Union in the Senate chamber, but there’s a better location

Shutdown politics are far uglier than normal Washington politics. We have seen veterans locked out of memorials by President Barack Obama, we have seen workers miss paychecks and now we have Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi revoking the president of the United States’ invitation to give his State of the Union address in the House chamber.

None of these were necessary, but President Donald Trump has options to circumvent her ploy to embarrass him. He can’t let her do that.

Her goal is obvious: keep the American people from hearing him speak, remove his ability to take his message directly to the people without her allies in the media filtering it. He has to give a speech.

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Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) has suggested the president deliver the address on the floor of the United States Senate. This is all well and good as it would send the appropriate message and would show the president will not be cowed by San Francisco’s congresswoman, but it doesn’t go far enough.

If Trump wants to push back against this “hyper-partisan and shameless” move, as Brooks called it, he should deliver this speech from the United States border.

He should not be in an arena with cheering and chanting fans, he should not be wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and he should not be playing to a raucous crowd with insults and barbs. He should stand at a podium at the Texas desert border wall, with an audience of families who lost loves ones to illegal immigration, border patrol agents and federal employees.

Trump should make a speech laying out the dangers of illegal immigration and explain how Democrats will not negotiate to reopen the border.

He should give a speech that the fact-checkers cannot debunk and the tone-police cannot destroy.

Polling indicates that Americans mostly blame President Trump and Republicans for the shutdown, and after all of the media’s coverage of the shutdown, no one is surprised by this.

More worrisome to the president — a recent poll indicates that only 30 percent of respondents would “definitely” vote for him while 57 percent “definitely would not” vote for him.

Granted it is early 2019, but this has to turn around for him to be re-elected. A “presidential” presidential address during a crisis could start that turn.

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