Alabama bond sale for mega prisons falls $200 million short
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — (AP) — Alabama officials said Thursday that they will move forward with plans to build two supersize prisons despite a bond sale falling more than $200 million short amid a volatile market and pressure from activists. The Alabama Corrections Institution Finance Authority hoped to sell $725 million in bonds for the construction project, but was only able to sell $509 million. He said the outcome would not impact the construction and the state still anticipated opening the prisons in 2026. While state officials blamed the result on a volatile market, a group of activists and impact investors had urged buyers to stay away from the the bond offering. Dana Sweeney, a statewide organizer for Alabama Appleseed, said he was surprised to hear the state isn't changing plans despite being $200 million short of the amount needed.wftv.com
2022 midterms: What to watch in Georgia, Texas, elsewhere
Election 2022 What to Watch FILE - Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during an interview on Oct. 28, 2021, in Atlanta. In Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor. In the Atlanta area, an unfavorable new district led Rep. McBath to jump into a Democratic primary against fellow Rep. Bourdeaux. Former state Rep. Brad Finstad has the backing of several Minnesota GOP officeholders. He has reminded voters he was Trump’s Minnesota director for USDA Rural Development.wftv.com
2022 midterms: What to watch in Georgia, Texas, elsewhere
Election 2022 What to Watch FILE - Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., departs the House chamber at the end of votes, at the Capitol in Washington, May 12, 2022. Greene is testing Republican voters' tolerance for controversy in the May 24, 2022, Republican primary. In Arkansas, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is a front-runner for the Republican nomination for governor. In the Atlanta area, an unfavorable new district led Rep. McBath to jump into a Democratic primary against fellow Rep. Bourdeaux. He has reminded voters he was Trump’s Minnesota director for USDA Rural Development.wftv.com
Ivey, challengers race to right in Alabama GOP primary
Election 2022 Alabama Governor FILE - Lindy Blanchard announces her campaign for governor of Alabama in Wetumpka, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. (Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File) (Jake Crandall)In a pair of campaign ads this GOP primary season, Alabama Gov. Alabama’s Republican primary has become a race to the right, with candidates staking out extreme positions on abortion, immigration and LGBTQ issues. Ivey faces a total of eight primary challengers, including Blanchard, businessman Tim James — the son of former Gov. Trump has not weighed in on the Alabama race.wftv.com
EXPLAINER: What do new Alabama laws say on transgender kids?
Transgender Laws-Alabama-Lawsuit FILE - Alabama Gov. Critics have derided the limitation on such discussions as the "Don't Say Gay" law. Critics say the politicians are interfering with medical decisions that belong with families and their doctors. Doctors, families and advocacy organizations say politicians are inserting themselves into decisions that belong with families and medical teams. Doctors say the Alabama law is contrary to peer-reviewed research and applies a criminal label to standard medical care.wftv.com
Families, doctors contest Alabama transgender treatment ban
Transgender Youth Politics FILE - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey waves as she arrives to deliver her State of the State address at the State Capitol Building in Montgomery, Ala., Jan. 11, 2022. It also prohibits gender transition surgeries, although doctors told lawmakers those are not performed on minors in Alabama. Ivey signed the legislation Friday, a day after it was approved by the Alabama Legislature. Similar measures have been pushed in other states, but the Alabama legislation is the first to lay out criminal penalties for doctors.wftv.com
Transgender treatment ban challenged by lawsuit in Alabama
US Transgender Youth Robert, Jeff, Lisa and Harleigh Walker are shown in this undated photo provided by Jeff Walker. The family is fighting Alabama legislation that would ban gender-affirming medications for trans youth under 19 and another bill that would prohibit trans students to use K-12 bathrooms that correspond with their original birth certificate and not their gender identity. The lawsuit was filed in federal court three days after Republican Gov. The plaintiffs are known as Roe and Doe in the court filing to protect the children's identities. Ivey signed the legislation on Friday, a day after it was approved by the Alabama Legislature.wftv.com
Trans kids fear Alabama laws targeting medicine, bathrooms
US Transgender Youth In a photo provided by Jeff Walker, 15-year-old Harleigh Walker of Auburn, Ala., is seen during a family vacation. The measures have prompted swift backlash from medical experts, Democratic President Joe Biden's administration, the U.S. Department of Justice and the families of trans youth. He said bills to block such treatments are harming, not protecting trans youth. What these bills really are doing is putting trans youth lives at risk because these suicide rates will spike exponentially. Trans youth in many red states say they feel attacked, angry, betrayed and scared by the wave of legislation aimed at them.wftv.com
Alabama governor signs law banning transgender medication
US Transgender Youth In a photo provided by Jeff Walker, he and his daughter Harleigh of Auburn, Ala., stand outside the White House on March 31, 2022, where they were guests for Transgender Day of Visibility. The family is fighting legislation in Alabama that would outlaw puberty blockers and hormone treatments for trans youth under 19. Kay Ivey enacted a sweeping law Friday that bans gender-affirming medication for transgender youth and includes criminal penalties for doctors who prescribe it. But opponents say transgender health is being used as a deliberate political wedge issue to motivate a voting base — in the same way they say bills about critical race theory have been employed. The measures involving trans youth have prompted swift backlash from medical experts, Democratic President Joe Biden's administration, the U.S. Department of Justice and the families of trans youth.wftv.com
Trans kids, parents fight wave of legislation in red states
The family is fighting legislation in Alabama that would outlaw puberty blockers and hormone treatments for trans youth under 19. The measures involving trans youth have prompted swift backlash from medical experts, Democratic President Joe Biden's administration, the U.S. Department of Justice and the families of trans youth. He said the family is now scrambling to find another state where it can continue Harleigh's medical care. What these bills really are doing is putting trans youth lives at risk because these suicide rates will spike exponentially. Trans youth in many red states say they feel attacked, angry, betrayed and scared by the wave of legislation aimed at them.wftv.com
Trans youth medication ban passed by Alabama lawmakers
Kay Ivey for her signature as Alabama becomes the latest red state to promote legislation and policies aimed at trans youth. Rep. Chris England, who serves as chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, said the measure targets already vulnerable children and essentially tells them they are not welcome in Alabama. Advocacy groups in Alabama have vowed to quickly challenge the measure if Ivey signs it into law. The Alabama Senate advanced separate legislation Thursday related to public school bathrooms and discussions of gender and sexual identity in early grades. The Alabama language would “prohibit classroom instruction or discussion on sexual orientation or gender identity" for students in kindergarten through the fifth grade.wftv.com
Alabama joins Georgia, 20 other states in getting rid of conceal carry permits
Alabama residents will no longer be required to hold a permit to conceal and carry a handgun in the state after Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Thursday signed a bill effectuating the change into law.The bill, which was passed along party lines with major Republican support and Democrat opposition, takes effect in January of next year, according to a press release from the governor's office.Ivey said she was defending Second Amendment rights in her state."...news.yahoo.com
Former Books-A-Million CEO to run against Alabama governor
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — (AP) — Former Books-A-Million CEO Lew Burdette, who now heads a nonprofit that provides shelters and group homes for abused women and children, announced Tuesday that he is running for governor of Alabama against fellow Republican Gov. Burdette filed qualifying papers Wednesday after making his announcement Tuesday at the main campus of the King's Home nonprofit in Chelsea, outside Birmingham. In 2002, he became the president of King’s Home, a Christian-based nonprofit organization which operates 21 residential group homes. The King’s Ranch serves neglected and abused children while Hannah Home serves women and children fleeing domestic violence. “I’ve seen countless lives transformed, given hope and opportunity, and our precious children deserve more than they’re getting in Alabama.wftv.com
Former Trump ambassador to run against Alabama governor
WETUMPKA, Ala. — (AP) — An Alabama businesswoman who served as former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Slovenia on Tuesday became the third Republican candidate to announce a run against Alabama Gov. According to Federal Election Commission reports, she contributed more than $400,000 to the Trump Victory Fund in 2018 and 2019. It is unclear if Trump will weigh in on the Alabama race, however, as he did in Georgia’s on Monday when he announced that he was backing former U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s challenge to Georgia Gov. Trump encouraged Perdue to run after lashing out at Kemp, claiming he did not do enough to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Georgia. “I’ll probably endorse people, various people at Alabama,” Trump said, noting he has already endorsed U.S. Mo Brooks in the U.S. Senate race.wftv.com
Alabama governor honors state's first Black poet laureate
Alabama-Black Poet Laureate Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey presents a commendation to the state's first Black poet laureate, Ashley M. Jones, during a ceremony at the Capitol in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Jones, a creative writing teacher from Birmingham, delves into the pain and difficulty of being Black in America. Kay Ivey recognized the state's first Black poet laureate, a creative writing teacher who delves into inequality and the difficulty of being Black in America, on Wednesday in the same building where Southern delegates voted to form the Confederacy 160 years ago. As poet laureate, Jones will advocate for poetry and writing in general during lectures and appearances at schools, libraries and other institutions.wftv.com
The Latest: Alabama Gov. Ivey extends help for hospitals
Mayor London Breed announced the Majestic Princess will sail into the port of San Francisco on Monday. The Majestic Princess will sail from Los Angeles for a weeklong California coast voyage that will include an overnight stop in San Francisco. The port of San Francisco expects to welcome 21 cruise ships through the remainder of the year. The deputy prime minister says 47.8 million Russians, or 33% of the population, have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. ___NEW YORK — A panel of vaccine experts will meet in early November to consider whether to recommend the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 12.wftv.com
Prisons, border wall: How GOP is looking to use COVID money
But now that GOP governors and local leaders have the money in hand, they're using it for things on their wish lists, too. Alabama lawmakers are advancing a plan to use $400 million of the state's share toward building prisons in what Gov. Brian Kemp announced $1,000 bonuses for first responders paid for with the relief money. Democrats in Texas' congressional delegation want Yellen to block Abbott from using coronavirus relief money for the border wall. The “costly monstrosity certainly should not be paid for directly or indirectly" with coronavirus relief money, the Democrats wrote.wftv.com
Facebook: Gov's page was not taken down because of content
Kay Ivey's campaign page Tuesday morning, indicating it had been mistakenly flagged as an imposter account, though the governor suggested the move was prompted by her criticism of President Joe Biden's vaccination mandate. “Facebook banned my campaign page this morning. However, Facebook indicated the content on Ivey's page played no role. “Earlier today, the Governor’s campaign page was mistakenly restricted for less than an hour for reasons unrelated to any posted content. When we learned of our mistake, the page was quickly restored," a Facebook company spokeswoman wrote in an email.wftv.com
Biden attacks Trump at Virginia rally, tying McAuliffe’s opponent to ex-president
After mostly avoiding direct attacks on Trump, Biden says Friday he “whipped Donald Trump in Virginia” and so will McAuliffe, highlighting a key strategy for Democratic candidates: linking opponents to Trump.washingtonpost.com
In shift, GOP ramps up vaccine push as resistance hardens
In Washington, the so-called Doctors Caucus gathered at the Capitol for an event to combat vaccine hesitancy. Just 56.2% of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Republican whip, distributed pictures of himself receiving his first dose of the vaccine last weekend after months of holding out. But the news conference convened by House GOP leaders on Thursday highlighted Republicans' competing messages on the virus. And Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, a youth conservative advocacy group, suggested without evidence on his podcast that up to 1.2 million could have died after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.wftv.com
The Latest: Schools confront polarization over mask rules
The spread of the delta variant and the deep political divisions over the outbreak have complicated decisions in districts from coast to coast. “The vaccine is available, but unfortunately the vaccination rate in our community has not been high enough to prevent spread of the delta variant,” Dunagan said. But the delta variant threatens to worsen the situation barring an increase in vaccinations, said Dr. Donald Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. This year’s holiday comes amid growing concerns about the highly infectious delta variant that’s prompted some countries to impose new restrictions. Indonesia is facing a devastating new wave of coronavirus cases and has imposed various restrictions.wftv.com
The Latest: Alabama vaccine rate 'self-inflicted' injury
But the delta variant threatens to worsen the situation barring an increase in vaccinations, said Dr. Donald Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. ___NEW ORLEANS — The city of New Orleans is considering new restrictions following a nine-fold increase in daily coronavirus cases and the percentage of positive tests. This year’s holiday comes amid growing concerns about the highly infectious delta variant that’s prompted some countries to impose new restrictions. Indonesia is facing a devastating new wave of coronavirus cases and has imposed various restrictions. ___TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has broken another record in the country’s daily coronavirus cases, even as Tehran and its surroundings went into lockdown.wftv.com
The Latest: Vaccines won’t be required in Alabama schools
While the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that schools require face masks for children older than 2 and all adults, Alabama Gov. The state’s virus cases increased over the past three days by 2,552 to 365,132 total since the pandemic began. ___INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge is allowing Indiana University to continue with its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all students and employees. — With the delta variant causing a surge of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in southwestern Missouri, health officials have taken to going door-to-door in an effort to encourage vaccinations. The Kansas City Star recently followed along as health officials knocked on doors in Springfield, handing out brochures.wftv.com
AP: Trooper charged in child rape hid checkered FBI past
An Alabama state trooper arrested last week on charges he raped an 11-year-old girl had been kicked out of the FBI amid a string of sexual misconduct allegations but was hired anyway with the apparent help of a forged bureau letter that scrubbed his record clean.
Trans teenagers fear Alabama push to outlaw gender treatment
But his medical care could soon become illegal in Alabama as Republican lawmakers seek to criminalize gender transition treatments for people under 19. Opponents, including parents and trans youth, say such measures interfere with medical decisions and target trans individuals for the sake of politics. He said he was unaware such treatments were already happening in Alabama when he first introduced the bill last year. Ad“The whole point is to protect kids,” said Shelnutt, who acknowledged after the Senate vote that he never spoke with a trans youth while preparing the bill. You are asking me to arrest the folks I know saved my kid’s life,” Fuller told a legislative committee.
GOP governors ignore Biden's latest plea on mask mandates
But Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison announced Tuesday he is dropping the state’s mask mandate immediately, a day earlier than previously announced. Gretchen Whitmer to ask whether the White House has considered surging additional vaccines to states with rapidly increasing infection rates. Kay Ivey intends for her state’s mask mandate to end on April 9 as planned, though she urged people to wear masks as a matter of personal responsibility. Eric Holcomb, to reconsider dropping the state’s mask mandate.
Alabama, Georgia pick up the pieces after deadly tornadoes
Officials found “heavy, heavy damage” in parts of the city’s historic district, Newnan Fire Chief Stephen Brown told a news conference. One of the victims in the hard-hit town of Ohatchee, a small community of about 1,170 people in eastern Alabama, was Dwight Jennings' neighbor. AdBad weather wasn't limited to Georgia and Alabama. ___Chandler reported from Shelby County, Alabama. Associated Press journalists Kevin McGill in New Orleans; Desiree Mathurin in Atlanta; Jeff Martin in Marietta, Georgia; Butch Dill in Ohatchee, Alabama; and Rebecca Santana in New Orleans, contributed to this report.
Weather service: 8 tornadoes hit Alabama, killing at least 5
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)A string of deadly tornadoes roared through Alabama on Thursday, toppling trees, demolishing homes and knocking out power to thousands, part of a broad swath of violent weather sweeping across the Deep South. In the city of Pelham, James Dunaway said he initially ignored the tornado warning when it came over his phone. “Thinking of everyone in Alabama and all of those impacted by the severe weather across the South tonight. Kay Ivey issued an emergency declaration for 46 counties as the severe weather approached, and officials opened shelters in and around Birmingham. Associated Press writer Kim Chandler in Montgomery and photographer Butch Dill in Alabama contributed to this report.
Medicaid incentive so far not enough to sway holdout states
Henry McMaster remains firmly opposed to the Medicaid expansion. The bump in federal funding would last two years for the states that join the Medicaid expansion. Laura Kelley this year called for legalizing medical use of marijuana and using the tax revenue to pay for expanding Medicaid. "It’s a nonstarter, and we will continue to oppose the liberal wish list item of Medicaid expansion,” he said. Kay Ivey left open the possibility of expanding Medicaid at some point in the future, but there are no plans to do so.
More severe storms, tornadoes possible across the Deep South
But no serious damage or injuries were immediately reported in North Carolina from the storms near High Point and Charlotte, which both had tornado warnings. Forecasters worried the storms would intensify as they move into South Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday afternoon, but they mostly stayed below severe limits. In South Carolina, the severe weather threat led the state Senate president to caution senators to stay home Thursday while urging staff to work remotely for their safety. House Speaker Jay Lucas kept his promise from the day before to meet less than an hour Thursday so members could beat the severe storms home. ___Associated Press writers Tom Foreman Jr. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.
Severe weather: Storms batter the South with more on the way
More than 70,000 homes and businesses were without power from Texas to Alabama, and radar showed additional storms moving across the region as initial cleanup work began. AdLarge vaccination clinics where hundreds of people an hour can get shots without leaving their vehicles were canceled in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. In the Mississippi capital of Jackson, state employees were warned to head to stairwells if they hear weather sirens. At least two waves of storms were likely, forecasters said, and the worst might not hit until a cold front passes overnight. Elsewhere, the severe weather threat led the South Carolina Senate president to caution senators to state home Thursday while urging staff to work remotely for their safety.
The Latest: SKorea to give shots to elders in long-term care
AdHe also sanctioned a bill that makes the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines easier. However, the actual numbers of COVID-19 cases, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher, in part due to limited testing. Murphy, who’s running for re-election this, said the state’s COVID-19 trends are headed in the right direction, though they’ve been up a bit this week. ___SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s governor says all adults in the state will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines on April 1. Ad___PHOENIX — Arizona on Wednesday reported 830 confirmed coronavirus cases and 78 deaths, following two days of no new deaths.
The Latest: Ontario wants vaccine shot in adults by June 20
Eric Holcomb received his COVID-19 vaccine shot Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the opening of the state’s first mass vaccination clinic. Holcomb wore a face mask in the front passenger seat of an SUV while getting the shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the drive-through clinic. Ad___TORONTO — Canada is getting a fourth vaccine to prevent COVID-19, approving the Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose. Canada has pre-purchased 10 million Johnson & Johnson doses, with options to buy another 28 million. The U.S. approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last month.
The Latest: San Diego zoo vaccinates 9 great apes for virus
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Zoo has vaccinated nine great apes for the coronavirus after a troop of gorillas in its Safari Park became infected. AdThere have been no new community cases of the virus found in Auckland or elsewhere in New Zealand for the past five days. Ad___SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah will open up COVID-19 vaccine appointments to people ages 50 and older on Monday. ___JACKSON, Miss.-- People ages 50 and older in Mississippi are now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine, Gov. — Arkansas’ highest court and the governor are at odds over whether judges, prosecutors and other court employees should be immediately eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.
Alabama governor leases CoreCivic prisons in $3 billion plan
The governor signed two 30-year lease agreements with separate entities of CoreCivic, one of the nation’s largest private prison companies. While President Joe Biden has ordered the federal system to eliminate the use of private prisons, these facilities will only be built and owned by private companies. AdIvey called the new prisons “the cornerstone” of improving the state’s troubled system, replacing aging prisons that are costly to maintain. “Alabama is about to spend 3 billion dollars over 30 years on building new prisons that won’t fix the problems within our prison system,” tweeted Rep. Chris England, a Democrat from Tuscaloosa. “It is astounding that Governor Ivey is prioritizing fiscally irresponsible and devastating contracts for prisons that do not address our most urgent needs as Alabamians,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, Alabama Students Against Prisons, the Ordinary Peoples Society and others wrote in a letter to lawmakers.
Uproar: Alabama governor to lease prisons, despite criticism
Kay Ivey visits for homecoming festivities during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Alabama and Arkansas, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama Gov. Ivey spokeswoman Gina Maiola said the governor will sign agreements to lease two new men’s correctional facilities to be constructed by CoreCivic, one of the nations largest private prison companies. The governor's office has said the prisons would be run by the state but the buildings would be leased from the companies. The prison building proposal has met with sharp criticism from a coalition of advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, Alabama Students Against Prisons and the Ordinary Peoples Society. Instead of a bond issue to borrow money to build the prisons, which would require legislative approval, the governor can sign the leases without legislative approval.
Tornado leaves path of destruction in Alabama, killing 1
One person is dead after a tornado tore through an Alabama city north of Birmingham Monday night, leaving the area with crumpled buildings and downed trees. God protected us last night,” said Williams, who had a cut on his forehead and bruises on his legs but was otherwise OK. At least 30 people were injured as the tornado carved a 10-mile (16-kilometer) path through Birmingham's northern suburbs, an area severely damaged by a much larger tornado a decade ago. Sobbing, Patti Herring was shaken and as she picked through the debris looking for a missing cat and her late mother's cherished belongings. “The people of Fultondale took a hard hit last night — I’m grieved over the loss of life, injuries, homes & damaged businesses," Alabama Gov.
Aaron's death prompts call to change name: Braves to Hammers
(AP Photo/John Bazemore)ATLANTA – As his adopted hometown mourned Hank Aaron's death, some fans called on the Atlanta Braves to change their name to the Hammers in his honor. The NFL's Atlanta Falcons, Major League Soccer's Atlanta United and Georgia Tech's football team all announced they would retire Aaron's trademark No. The Hammer spent nearly all of his 23-year career with the Braves, whose nickname has drawn some criticism as being offensive to Native Americans. The Braves have steadfastly resisted calls to change their name, saying they view it as a tribute to Native Americans rather than a slur. There has been no indication that Aaron's death would change the team's stance on its Braves nickname.
US Space Command site to be located in Huntsville, Alabama
The U.S. Air Force is expected to announce Huntsville, Ala. as the location for the U.S. Space Command headquarters, according to Gov. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The U.S. Air Force announced Wednesday that the new U.S. Space Command headquarters will be in Huntsville, Alabama, after the state was selected over five others competing for the project, including Colorado, where Space Command is provisionally located. The role of Space Command is to conduct operations such as enabling satellite-based navigation and troop communication and providing warning of missile launches. That is different from the Space Force, which is a distinct military service like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. “I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command,” Alabama Republican Gov.