The Birmingham City Council appointed two new members to the city’s Library Board by unanimous vote this week, including a replacement for the board’s longest-serving member. Read more.
Where was Ivey?
That was the question of the night during a Thursday debate with three of the four Republican candidates for governor.
Evangelist Scott Dawson, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and state Sen. Bill Hightower participated in a debate broadcast live on WVTM. Gov. Kay Ivey declined the invitation, citing prior commitments. Instead she was in Birmingham a few miles away from the debate, throwing out the first pitch at the opening night for the Birmingham Barons at Regions Field.
Ivey’s absence at the debate — and on the campaign trail— seemed to bond the three men against a common foe. When given the opportunity to ask the other candidate a question, each man questioned the other on Ivey’s absence. Read more.
The top three candidates for the Democratic nomination for governor found more to agree on than disagree on during a debate Wednesday night.
Sue Bell Cobb, James Fields and Walt Maddox all favor expanding Medicaid, bolstering workforce development and adopting a lottery, for instance. They each support legalizing medical marijuana, funding improvements to roads and bridges, and providing a quality education to all the state’s children.
They all said they believe this is the year a Democrat can win the highest office in this crimson red state. Read more.
Area Farmers Concerned About Impact of China Tariffs (Decatur Daily)
Underwater Inspections Keep Bridges Safe (TimesDaily)
Gov. Kay Ivey Says No Special Legislative Session Planned (AL.com)
What Drives the Black-White Wealth Gap? (CityLab)
Alabama to Observe Confederate Memorial Day (Associated Press)
State Rep. Jack Williams, Lobbyist Marty Connors and California Health Care Provider Indicted on Public Corruption Charges
Updated – State Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills, and lobbyist Martin J. “Marty” Connors of Alabaster have been indicted on public-corruption charges, U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. of Montgomery announced Tuesday.
The two, along with G. Ford Gilbert of Carmichael, California, are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and honest services fraud. Gilbert also is charged with wire fraud, health care fraud and interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
The alleged scheme involved efforts to require Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama to cover medical services provided by a company owned by Gilbert, Franklin said.
Williams in a statement released Tuesday said he had done nothing wrong and expected to be found innocent. He said he would continue to run for a seat on the Jefferson County Commission. Efforts to reach Connors for comment were unsuccessful. Read more.
Issues That Matter
The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama has launched Alabama Priorities, an initiative to identify and address the most important issues to Alabama voters.
PARCA surveyed voters, asking them to rank issues affecting the state this year. The council intends to publish a series of policy briefs on each of the top 10 issues, according to a PARCA statement. See the top 10 issues selected here.
NewsMatch 2017 raised more than $4.8 million from individual donors and a coalition of foundations to support more than 100 local and investigative nonprofit news organizations, including Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism, which publishes BirminghamWatch.
According to a report from the Institute for Nonprofit News, this makes NewsMatch 2017 the largest-ever grassroots fundraising campaign to support local nonprofit and investigative news.
More than 80 individual donors supported AIIJ/BirminghamWatch during the October-December campaign, the highest number in the organization’s two-year history. These local contributors gave more than $20,000 that is being matched by national foundations to support the organization’s mission of public service journalism on the environment, education, the economy and government for Birmingham and Alabama. Read more.
The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama has found that Alabama high schools are sending more graduates out into the world and they are sending more students to college, but some of those students are taking a little bit of time out in the world before they head to campus.
In 2016, 63 percent of high school graduates enrolled in college in the year after they graduated from high school, according to PARCA. In 2014, that portion was 65 percent
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Electionland Wins Online Journalism Award
ProPublica and the Electionland coalition won an Online Journalism Award for planned news/events, announced at the Online News Association Conference and Awards Banquet on Saturday.
A collaboration with a coalition of organizations, Electionland tracked voter experiences in the November 2016 election in real time, across thousands of polling sites.
BirminghamWatch participated in the project, monitoring and reporting on local polling places. Read more.
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