August 2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

Aug 5

Alabama school encourages students to ‘be the nice kid,’ and people love the message.

August 2018 Group Watch: Chief Justice Candidate at White House

Alabama Supreme Court Justice (and GOP candidate for Chief Justice) Tom Parker recently traveled to Washington, D.C. with a group of local leaders from Alabama to meet with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and key members of President Trump’s staff in order to discuss issues critical to the future of our state and nation. Among the issues discussed were infrastructure investment and the growing opioid epidemic, as well as local issues throughout the state of Alabama. Parker faces an extremely well-financed Democratic challenger in Birmingham, Circuit Judge Robert Vance Jr.

August 2018 Group Watch: Ethics Commission Rules on Speaker’s Chief of Staff

Retiring Republican Rep. Mark Tuggle is in line for the position of Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon. A recently released opinion from the state Ethics Commission concluded that Tuggle’s duties as Chief of Staff would not violate the state’s revolving door provision, which prohibits elected officials from lobbying their former office for two years. The Commission voted 4-0 in favor of the opinion.

July 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The primary runoff elections earlier this week yielded some interesting results.
  • Attorney General: Appointed incumbent Steve Marshall won the Republican nomination for attorney general and now faces Democrat Joseph Siegelman in the November general election.
  • Commissioner of Agriculture: Small-town mayor and farmer Rick Pate defeated longtime state Senator Gerald Dial for the Republican nomination for Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Industries.
  • 2nd Congressional District: Congresswoman Martha Roby defeated former Montgomery mayor and Congressman Bobby Bright to win the Republican primary runoff for her seat. Roby faces a Democratic challenger in the November general elections.
  • Lt. Governor: State Representative Will Ainsworth defeated Public Service President Twinkle Cavanaugh in the Republican runoff for Alabama Lt. Governor.

July 2018 Group Watch: Gov Ivey Receives Distinguished Service Award

Governor Kay Ivey was awarded a Distinguished Service Award from the Alabama Agribusiness Council during its annual meeting. Ivey, who was born on a cattle farm in rural Wilcox County, said in her acceptance remarks that farming is a part of her heritage and part of who she is. She went on to comment that agribusiness is a driving force for the economy and expressed gratitude to the people who make farming a thriving industry.

July 2018 Group Watch: AL Food Stamp Error Rate Low

Alabama’s error rate for food stamps is lower than almost any other state in the country, according to federal data. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released new figures related to improper payments associated with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. The data reflect improper payments due to unintentional errors by agency personnel and clients. Nationally, the error rate 6.3 percent. Alabama’s error rate was 4.19 percent. Only eight states reported lower error rates.

July 2018 Group Watch: AL to Collect Online Sales Tax

Alabama will start collecting online sales taxes on October 1, 2018. The change comes in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that allows sales tax assessments on businesses that aren’t located in a state. According to the Alabama Department of Revenue, remote retailers with in-state sales of more than $250,000 must register with the Alabama Simplified Sellers use tax Program and begin collecting no later than October 1. There are currently more than 230 out-of-state online participants in the program. Under the program merchants pay a flat 8 percent sales tax, of which, 4 percent goes to the state, and 2 percent each to the affected county and city.

July 2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Month

July 19
I’ll miss Alvin Holmes in the legislature. Alvin’s humor at the microphone was a welcome relief on many long filibuster filled days. #alpolitics

June 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Last week’s primary elections are headlining the state’s current political news by leaving a lot undecided and pushing several races to a runoff on July 17.
  • Gov. Ivey Faces Maddox: Governor Kay Ivey and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox will face each other in the general election in November. Ivey clinched the Republican nomination for governor without a runoff, after beating back a field of GOP challengers. Maddox defeated former Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb for the Democratic nomination. Ivey received more votes than the combined Democratic field. Alabama hasn’t elected a Democrat to the governor’s office since 1998.
  • Runoff for Lt. Governor: After a close race, Twinkle Cavanaugh and Will Ainsworth will face each other once more in a runoff for lieutenant governor. Cavanaugh, president of the Public Service Commission, currently has a slight lead over Representative Ainsworth, R-Guntersville. Cavanaugh and Ainsworth will be vying for the vacant seat of lieutenant governor, which serves as the backup to the Alabama governor. The last lieutenant governor, Kay Ivey, was sworn in as governor following the resignation of former Governor Robert Bentley.
  • Runoff for Attorney General: Current Attorney General Steve Marshall and former Attorney General Troy King will meet in a runoff for the GOP nomination for attorney general following a spirited primary campaign. Marshall’s campaign tied Donald Trump with his own work on shortening death penalty appeals and joining lawsuits over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, designed to extend legal status to those brought to this country as children. King’s campaign focused mostly on fighting crime.
  • Runoff for AL’s 2nd District: U.S. Representative Martha Roby will face former Democratic Congressman turned Republican Bobby Bright in a runoff for Alabama’s conservative 2nddistrict. Roby, who is a four-term incumbent, emphasized her record and working relationship with the White House. Bright is a former mayor of Montgomery and represented the district as a Democrat for two years before losing to Roby in 2010.

June 2018 Group Watch: Parker Wins Republican Nomination

Associate Justice Tom Parker won the primary election for Alabama Chief Justice, beating out colleague and incumbent Chief Justice Lyn Stuart in a close fight for the Republican nomination. Parker will face Jefferson County Circuit Judge Bob Vance, the unopposed Democratic candidate. Parker’s position in the campaign was largely focused against social issues, like same-sex marriage and abortion. He also campaigned on the priority of increasing funding for the judicial system.

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