Category: Government

Birmingham Councilors Replace Municipal Judge Despite Frustration on Both Sides

The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to replace Municipal Court Judge Cathy E. Daniel with attorney Jermeria Moore, a move that Council President Valerie Abbott said might “politicize the court.”

Daniel’s term as judge expired in January, but the council’s decision to replace her was unusual.
“This council has never replaced a sitting judge in municipal court before,” Abbott said. “We have always allowed them to either retire, to move to another position if they get elected to another judgeship, or unfortunately, some of them pass away.” Read more.

‘John-Shaming’ Bill Pocket Vetoed by Governor

MONTGOMERY— Gov. Kay Ivey did not sign a human trafficking bill meant to deter individuals from soliciting prostitutes because of a drafting error that could have weakened its intent, supporters said Tuesday.

House Bill 262 would have prohibited without a court order the publishing of photos of those charged with prostitution, while allowing publication of photos of those charged with soliciting or procuring prostitution.
Ivey’s office said the bill as passed by lawmakers was not the sponsors’ intended legislation. Read more.

Ivey Signs Chemical Castration Law, Process Details Still Pending

MONTGOMERY — Court-ordered chemical castration of child molesters as a condition of their parole will soon be required in Alabama, but exactly how the treatments will be administered is still being determined.

The law, signed by Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday, goes into effect in three months. It requires the Alabama Department of Public Health to administer the treatment.

“We’re still reviewing (the law) to understand exactly how our role will work,” Public Health Officer Scott Harris said this week. “We’ve done some work looking at other states, trying to get an idea of how it works.” Read more.

From Buses to Libraries, 2020 Education Has More for K-12 Schools

MONTGOMERY — An additional $318 million for K-12 schools is in Alabama’s 2020 education budget, and lawmakers and education leaders say that money will make tangible differences in local schools.

Gov. Kay Ivey signed the record-setting education budget into law Thursday.

“This budget represents significantly more resources for education,” Senate education budget committee chairman Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said.

Here’s what some of the new money will mean to K-12 schools.

There’s nearly $190 million more for the K-12 Foundation Program that supports schools’ basic functions. The 2020 total is $3.9 billion. There’s also an additional $27.8 million for transportation. Read more.

New Incentives Law Targets Rural and Struggling Urban Areas

MONTGOMERY — A recently-passed bill aimed to spur job growth in rural and urban areas of the state has been signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey.

Sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, House Bill 540, dubbed the Alabama Incentives Modernization Act, is a set of tax incentives designed to enhance development in counties that are experiencing slow economic conditions and to help bring new technology companies to the state. Proponents of the legislation say it enhances current incentives, encourages investments in designated opportunity zones and offers a capital gains tax cut for tech companies moving to Alabama. Read more.

Universities See Significant Increases; ‘Peer-Gap’ Formula to Continue

Alabama’s public four-year universities will receive funding increases of between about 6% and more than 12% under the 2020 education budget recently approved by lawmakers.

“I think all of higher education is happy with where we ended up,” Alabama Commission on Higher Education Executive Director Jim Purcell said Wednesday.

During the budgeting process, some university officials and lawmakers expressed frustration over this year’s proposed budget including additional money for a few institutions that had previously been underfunded. Purcell said ACHE was attempting to fix “egregious inequities in funding.” Read more.

Legislature Approves Sunday Alcohol Sales Bill, Says No to Home Delivery of Wine

MONTGOMERY — Alabamians won’t be able to get wine delivered to their homes anytime soon, but wet counties and municipalities can now have Sunday sales without going through the Legislature.

There were several alcohol-related bills in the 2019 legislative session that ended last month. See what passed and what didn’t.

JeffCo Seeks People With the Right Stuff for Wastewater Apprentices

The deadline to apply to be a water reclamation facility operator apprentice has been extended to Friday. Already 90 persons have tossed their hats in the ring for 20 positions.

Michelle C. Rodrigues, Jefferson County’s director of human resources, told commissioners at their committee meeting this morning that positions as water reclamation facility operators have been difficult to recruit. As a result, the county is developing its own pipeline of workers through its apprenticeship program.