Alabama Bans Sheriffs from Pocketing Jail Food Money

“Alabama’s governor has cut off a gravy train for the state’s sheriffs: the unspent money for prisoners’ meals that the sheriffs have long been allowed to keep for themselves,” the New York Times reports.

“The practice, born of a bickered-over ambiguity in a state law, has let sheriffs pocket likely millions of tax dollars over decades. To end it, Gov. Kay Ivey ordered in a memorandum to the state comptroller that payments of funds related to jail food “no longer be made to the sheriffs personally.” Instead, the governor wrote, the money must be paid to county general funds or official accounts.”

More Surprising Than Doug Jones Winning In Alabama

Alan Abramowitz: “When Alabama voters were asked which party they would prefer to control the Senate, 50% chose Republicans while 45% chose Democrats. That is a stunning result — perhaps even more stunning than Jones’s victory. Moreover, only 43% had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party while 47% had a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party.”

Alabama Supreme Court Allows Impeachment to Proceed

The Alabama Supreme Court “allowed the impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley to start next week, staying a temporary restraining order from a lower court that had blocked hearings,” Reuters reports.

“Bentley, a Republican, has been battling impeachment efforts over the last year related to political fallout from his relationship with a former aide.”

Alabama Speaker Convicted of 12 Felony Counts

Alabama House Speaker Michael Hubbard (R), “whose sharp-elbowed approach to politics propelled the Republican Party to dominance in his state, was convicted Friday on 12 felony ethics charges, leaving him stripped of power and facing the possibility of decades in prison,” the New York Times reports.

“The verdict…deepened the political crisis in Alabama, where some of the most influential state officials are facing inquiries and threats of ouster.”

Scandals Roil Alabama Politics

New York Times: “The chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court has been hit with ethics charges for defying federal courts on same-sex marriage, and could be removed from his seat. The governor, caught on tape engaging in salacious banter, apparently with his powerful chief adviser, is facing criminal investigations and calls for impeachment.”

“That the governor’s racy calls became public at all is because of what may be the most significant and sweeping crisis of the lot: the impending trial of the Alabama House speaker, Michael G. Hubbard, described by friends and foes as the most powerful man in state politics.”

Alabama’s Top Judge May Lose Job Again

“Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore already lost his job once. Now he’s at risk of losing it again,” the Washington Post reports.

“A state commission on Friday suspended Moore from the bench, alleging that the top-ranking state judicial official disregarded “clear law” this year when he instructed state judges to ignore the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer that established nationwide same-sex marriage rights.”

Bentley Apologizes for Sex Scandal

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “made perhaps his most heartfelt apology yet on Monday, repeatedly asking the people of Alabama for forgiveness for the scandal that has engulfed his administration,” the Birmingham News reports.

Said Bentley: “I’ve asked God to forgive me because that’s the most important thing. I want back in His fellowship. And so I asked God to forgive me. But I asked other people to again forgive me and I’ve already done that and I have truly asked the people of this state – they’re the folks who love me and are the best people in the world – I have asked them to forgive me.”

The Fix: “But wait a minute. Forgive him for what? Bentley hasn’t ever admitted to the affair he has been accused of. “

Bentley Ordered Law Enforcement to Target Critics

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “pressured law enforcement officers to use federal and state resources to target those critical of his relationship with senior advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason,” according to the Alabama Political Reporter.

Meanwhile, Yellowhammer News reports Bentley and Mason “share a secret safe deposit box at a Montgomery bank.”

Alabama May Soon Gain Clarity on Gay Marriage

“After days of judicial confusion, some clarity may come on Thursday to Alabama’s approach to same-sex marriage, as a federal judge considers whether to compel a probate judge here to issue marriage licenses to gay couples,” the New York Times reports.

“While a ruling would pertain only to the probate judge in Mobile County, it would send a signal to judges statewide, who are caught between a federal ruling that lifts the state ban on same-sex marriage and an order from the State Supreme Court chief justice to ignore the ruling. For now, probate judges in 23 of Alabama’s 67 counties are issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Licenses are being handed out only to straight couples in 18 counties, and no marriage licenses at all are being issued in 26 counties.”

Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Alabama Supreme Court’s chief justice “is ready to go to war with the Supreme Court, if the high court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, asserting that the potential ruling could be as damaging as historical decisions that set back racial equality.”