Cuts More Clear at Birmingham City Schools

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Cuts More Clear at Birmingham City Schools

Details are emerging in the massive budget cuts at Birmingham City Schools. On Tuesday, the school board deadlocked over approving the state’s $12 million cost cutting plan, but the state stepping in and imposed the plan anyway, firing 61 employees and cutting the salaries of many high-level administrators.

John Archibald

Alabama is full of big news stories. From the removal of the Confederate battle flag, to gay marriage, to Birmingham's increase in the minimum wage. It's a lot for journalists to keep up with and a lot of great materials for columnists like and The Birmingham News' John Archibald. He discusses the city, county and state politics in forums large and small.

State’s Response to Rural Driver’s License Office Closures not Enough for the Black Belt

Calls are growing for the Justice Department to investigate how the closure of 31 rural driver’s license offices may affect voting. The state closed those offices last week due to budget cuts. The problem, say civil rights advocates, is residents must have a photo ID to vote. The most common ID is a driver’s license and Alabama now has 31 fewer places to get a new drivers license. Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald says state officials are taking steps to address the situation, but it’s not enough for the Black Belt. That’s an area of the state that’s poor, largely African American and disproportionately hit by the closures.

Driver’s License Offices Closures Could Affect Voting

Governor Robert Bentley warned there would be cuts to state services if lawmakers didn’t pass enough new revenue measures for the budget that goes into effect Thursday. The budget includes some new money but still cuts many agencies about 6-percent. As a result state law enforcement announced Wednesday examiners will no longer travel to 31 part-time satellite driver’s license offices. It’s a move that some worry could affect voting. We talk about it with Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald.

Emails Paint House Speaker as Eager to Make Money off his Office

Political observers have been watching the lead up to Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s corruption trial in periodic salvos tossed from both sides. Hubbard is scheduled to go on trial next year accused of using his public office for personal gain. The latest bomb blast comes from prosecutors and they’re emails from Hubbard that Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald says paint the speaker as the worst kind of politician.

Legislator or Lobbyist

State lawmakers wrapped up a second special session Wednesday night, one that resolves a more than $200 million shortfall in the general fund budget. Despite the extra meeting time Alabama does have a part-time legislature and sometimes a lawmaker’s professional life conflicts with his or her public service. Governing bodies draft rules to mitigate those conflicts. But Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald says the way the state is apply some of those rules makes for open season on the very idea of ethics.

Senior Advisor to Governor Paid Through Questionable Means

There are two big stories in state politics right now. There’s the special legislative session that started this week. Then there’s all the chatter around the governor’s divorce. Alabama’s First Lady Diane Bentley filed for divorce from Governor Robert Bentley last month after 50 years of marriage. That’s fueled rumors of an affair by the governor. He says this is a private matter and the legal filing has been sealed. Still the situation has drawn attention to happenings within the administration, particularly how a senior advisor is paid. We talk about that now with Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald.