Category: Government

Gov. Kay Ivey to Undergo Treatment for Lung Cancer

Gov. Kay Ivey, 74, announced Thursday she has lung cancer. This comes after her doctor recently found a spot on her lung during a routine visit.

Ivey says additional tests confirmed it was “a tiny, isolated malignancy.” On Friday, Ivey heads to the University of Alabama at Birmingham for an outpatient procedure. She’ll begin a series of specialized radiation treatments soon. Ivey says she’s been reassured by her doctors that the treatment plan she’s on has a very high success rate.

Ivey says it’ll have “a minimal impact” on her schedule and says “none of this will prevent me from continuing to serve as your governor and doing the work you elected me to do.” Read more.

Immigrant Rights Workers Released on Bond From ICE Detention

Two migrant workers arrested by immigration officers in Homewood last month were released on bond Wednesday following fund-raising and petition drives by Adelante Alabama Worker Center.

Marcos Baltazar, a member of the Adelante board of directors, and his son, Juan, 18, spent the month in detention facilities at the Etowah County Jail in Gadsden and in Jena, La.

Both facilities have been cited by human rights groups for their inhumane treatment of detainees, said Reysha Swanson of Adelante, a non-profit organization based in Hoover that unites migrant workers and their families. Read more.

Read BirminghamWatch’s coverage on the Etowah Detention Center and immigration:

Alabama Site for Detained Immigrants Has History of Abuse Charges, Efforts to Close It

Man Without a Country’ Describes Conditions at Gadsden Detention Center

Lawyers: Major Changes Happening in How Law Is Applied to Immigrants

Immigration Rights Worker and Son Detained by ICE

Transit Board Approves Fare Increase and Service Cuts

Bus riders in Birmingham and Jefferson County will see an increase in their fares and reduced service times beginning this November.

After weeks of debate, the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority approved its $34 million budget Wednesday. This includes setting one-way fares at $1.50 — an increase of 25 cents. And some MAX bus routes that run late into the evening will now end at 7 p.m. Read more.

Drilling Bans Greet Representatives as They Return From Break

Key Votes Ahead
The House this week will take up a bill to eliminate mandatory arbitration in employment, consumer and civil rights litigation, while the Senate will debate judicial and executive-branch nominations.

WASHINGTON — In the legislative week ending Sept. 13, members of the U.S. House passed a bill (HR 205) that would permanently prohibit the federal government from awarding leases for oil and gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
The bill, which passed 248 for and 180 against, would replace a temporary moratorium slated to expire June 30, 2022. The protected waters extend at least 125 miles from the Florida coastline and include a 122,000-square-mile military testing range stretching from the Florida Panhandle to the Florida Keys. Read more.

Transit Authority Chief Seeks Compromise to Pass Budget

The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority recently rejected a proposed budget that would have increased bus fares from $1.25 to $1.50. It would’ve also cut some bus service. Executive Director Frank Martin recently signed a contract to lead the transit authority. Some say he has a tough road ahead. The bus system is plagued with problems around efficiency and revenue. Martin, in part, blames the transit board, saying they’ve been unwilling to compromise. He tells WBHM’s Janae Pierre riders aren’t paying enough into the system, and neither is the city of Birmingham.

Birmingham Public Library’s Central Building to Close Monday for New Staircase

The Birmingham Public Library’s central building will close Monday as construction begins on a long-awaited staircase.

“I think we can all agree that today has been a long time coming,” Mayor Randall Woodfin said Tuesday during a press conference, drawing laughter from a crowd comprised mostly of BPL staffers and board members. “I thank each and every one of you for your patience. It’s been overwhelmingly tested.”

The stairs will replace a pair of escalators that extend from the building’s lobby to the fourth floor. Both escalators have been defunct — and roped off to prevent injuries — since December 2014.
Read more.

JeffCo Commissioner Wants Stadium Update, Questions Lack of Civil Rights Info in Bicentennial Video

Commissioner Lashunda Scales today asked for an update on Protective Stadium, which is being built near the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

Jefferson County invested $30 million in the project.

Scales said she had been told by someone on the stadium design committee that VIP seats are being added that would lower the total number of seats in the venue.

Also, commissioners saw a presentation from Helen Hays, the county’s director of public information, concerning efforts to promote the 200th anniversary of Jefferson County, including a pair of videos.

While the presentation appeared to be well received from most in the board room, Scales was less than satisfied, saying that the county’s story was not being fully told. She cited a Sloss Furnaces event on Monday that memorialized two men who were lynched in the 1890s. Read more.

City Gives Negro Southern League Museum More Money to Finish Off Construction, Surprising Councilors Who Thought It Was Done

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to allocate an additional $290,274.39 toward construction on the city’s Negro Southern League Museum. But many councilors, including those who voted in favor of the funding, weren’t happy about it.

“There are so many things that I vote on that I have to hold my nose while voting,” said council President Valerie Abbott. “Sometimes you have to vote for things that you don’t really want to vote for, but we need to complete this project.”

The Negro Southern League Museum, which first opened in 2015, is part of a downtown development that includes the adjacent Regions Field. But much of that building has remained unfinished since then, representatives from the city’s planning, engineering and permits (PEP) department told the council. With a new restaurant slated to move into the building, extra funding to complete construction was needed. Read more.