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June 2017 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Summer is in full swing, but work is ongoing on Alabama’s political front, with several new appointments and titles headlining the news.

  • Mike Jones named Alabama House Rules Chair: House Judiciary Committee chair Mike Jones of Andalusia moved over to chair the House Rules Committee. Jones succeeds Representative Alan Boothe of Troy who announced he would not seek re-election in 2018 and planned to step down as Rules chair. Jones, a two-term representative, oversaw the Judiciary Committee’s probe into former Governor Robert Bentley’s possible impeachment, helping the committee create a process almost from scratch. The Rules Committee decides agendas of bills for the House, and the chair plays a major role in determining the flow of legislation.
  • Jim Hill named Alabama House Judiciary Chair: Representative Jim Hill of Moody, a retired circuit judge, will chair the House Judiciary Committee. Hill had served as vice chair and has a reputation of fairness and impartiality. He served as a district court and circuit court judge in St. Clair County from 1994 until his retirement in 2013. He is now in a private law practice. He is completing his first term in the Alabama Legislature.
  • Governor Ivey names Acting Conservation Commissioner: Governor Kay Ivey named Christopher Blankenship acting commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He replaces Gunter Guy, whose resignation was accepted by the governor. A spokesperson for the governor said, “She wishes Gunter Guy well, but it was a business decision and not a personal one.” The governor’s office said she would seek a permanent commissioner for the job. Blankenship, a 23-year veteran of the department, was Deputy Commissioner of the department and before that, served as director of the Marine Resources Division. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources gets no money from the state’s General Fund, relying instead on self-generated funds from hunting and fishing license sales and federal funding.

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