Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders talks in Montgomery

This was one of his pit stops as he traveled across the South.

“I’m here to ask for your help to win here in Alabama and I think we’ve got a shot to do that,” Sanders said.

Medicare for all was a centerpiece of his speech. He used a recent visit to Canada as an example. Sanders referenced people in Canada that had heart surgery and cancer treatments.

“And you know what they paid for it? Nothing,” he said as the crowd cheered.

The crowd of around 300 people went wild when he talked about making college tuition free.

“The time is long overdue to make it clear that any young person in this country that has the ability, who has the desire to get a higher education, whether it’s college or a trade school, that that young person has the right to do that,” he said. “Which is why we will make public college and universities tuition free.”

To pay for Sanders’ ideas, he pointed to companies like Amazon.

“Anybody here know how much amazon made in taxes this year?” Sanders said. “Zero.”

He also talked about his newly released education plan, which includes in part banning for-profit charter schools. Lowering incarceration rates and expanding voting rights were major topics.

Sanders also stopped by the residence of those in Lowndes County and the National memorial for Peace and Justice Monday. He also held a rally in Birmingham Saturday.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

Alabama governor signs country’s most restrictive abortion ban into law

Alabama is now the first state in decades to make abortion a crime in almost every case. Gov. Kay Ivey signed a controversial bill calling for doctors who perform abortions to face up to 99 years in prison. The only exception is if the mother’s life is at risk. Jericka Duncan reports on the move to upend 46 years of Supreme Court precedent.

MPS school board finalizes teacher cuts at board meeting

At the meeting, the board voted 6-1 to hire Attorney Alan Zeigler as its tax referendum consultant. The board will pay Zeigler $450 an hour for his services.

The board also came up with a list of names of about 140 MPS teachers and employees to lay off before next school year. At the board’s last meeting on May 7, it approved to cut roughly 140 teachers and other staff members to save the school system money.

“We looked at positions and what most folks would call seniority. The last ones hired with the least amount of seniority would be in that group,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore.

The board approved the list of names in a 4-3 vote. Attrition and retirement was factored into those numbers. The employees who will be let go will be notified no later than the end of the school year, which is on May 24, but some employees could be notified as early as Wednesday.

Moore said the above mentioned cuts will save the school system approximately $12.7 million.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

Wiregrass police dealing with violence responding to calls

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Between Friday and Sunday, at least seven officers across the Wiregrass were injured responding to scenes.

“If nobody gets scared – they’re lying to you,” said Captain Scott Langley, Headland Police.

Langley, a 14-year veteran with the Headland Police Department, knows how quickly a 911 call can turn.

“I was just thinking about employees and the people in the store,” said Langley.

Langley was one of the seven officers physically attacked responding to calls over the weekend. He was hit in the head by the man he was trying to arrest. Police identified the suspect as Joshua Sowell, III. They say Sowell was causing a disturbance as the Sunstop Gas Station before he was arrested. He’s charged with Assault II, Assaulting a Police Officer, Resisting Arrest, Disorderly conduct, Attempting to Elude, Criminal Mischief.

“I was worn out, but feeling fine,” said Langley.

“Somebody spins around and deliberately attacks you – they’re changing the game,” said Captain Todd David, Dothan Police.

Alabama Senate heads toward vote on abortion ban measure

By KIM CHANDLER Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers are expected to vote Tuesday evening on a proposal to outlaw almost all abortions in the state, a hardline measure that has splintered Republicans over its lack of an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

The bill before the GOP-dominated Alabama Senate would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony. The only exception would be for when the woman’s health is at serious risk.

“Our bill says that baby in the womb is a person,” said Republican Rep. Terri Collins, the bill’s sponsor.

Supporters said the bill is intentionally designed to conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationally, because they hope to spark court cases that might prompt the justices to revisit abortion rights.

Emboldened by conservative justices who have joined the Supreme Court, abortion opponents in several states are seeking to challenge abortion access. Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy.

The Alabama bill goes further by seeking to outlaw abortion outright.

Although the bill passed the House of Representatives 74-3, some GOP state senators have expressed discomfort that the bill doesn’t include an exception for rape.

“Overwhelmingly, the people out on the street I’m talking to, they are hesitant to put into law no exceptions,” Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said, recounting conversations with constituents.

The Senate fell into chaos last week after a hasty voice vote — pushed through in a less than five seconds— stripped a committee-added amendment to exempt rape and incest cases. Lawmakers adjourned for the day soon after.

An attempt to add the rape exemption is expected when the bill returns to the Senate floor Tuesday. Marsh said he is unsure how those votes would fall.

Republican Sen. Cam Ward said he also supports the exception for rape. Ward said he is haunted by stories of rape victims, including a woman who recounted being raped by a relative as a teen.

“I think the bill passes in the end. The close vote is on the amendment,” Ward said.

Other Republicans argued exemptions would weaken their hope of creating a vehicle to challenge Roe.

“We can’t say on the one hand that it is a life and then the other because of some very bad circumstances that’s it’s not a life. Either it is or it isn’t,” said Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who is handling the bill in the Senate.

Collins, who had exemptions for rape in bills introduced in past sessions, said lawmakers could come back and add exceptions if states regain control of abortion access.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who will preside over the vote and any attempt to amend the bill, posted a video on social media saying “abortion is murder” and opposing amendments.

Democrats plan to mount a filibuster against the bill but hold only eight seats in the 35-member chamber.

Democratic Sen. Bobby Singleton said the bill “criminalizes doctors” and is an attempt by men “to tell women what to do with their bodies.” He said the legal fight will cost money that the state could spend on other needs.

“Republicans call themselves fiscally conservative, but this is going to cost the state a lot of money to defend in court,” Singleton said.

One mile from the Alabama Statehouse — down the street from the Governor’s Mansion — sits Montgomery’s only abortion clinic. Because of its location, the clinic sees a stream of patients from Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle because other clinics have closed.

Clinic escorts wearing rainbow-colored vests use oversized blue umbrellas to shield patients from a sidewalk protester who shouts at women entering and exiting the clinic.

Kari Crowe, a clinic escort, has demonstrated at the Statehouse dressed as a characters from the “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which depicts a dystopian future where women are forced to breed.

She said the bills in Alabama and neighboring states are frightening.

“It’s horrifying my kids wouldn’t have the right or the ability to make choices for themselves if it ever becomes necessary,” Crowe said.

GOP congressman jumps into critical Alabama Senate race

My in studio guest on Thursday, February 21 at 2:00 will be Congressman Bradley Byrnes who, at 6:00 pm tonight, announced his candidacy to run for the Alabama’s US Senate seat held by Doug Jones. Tune in this will be his first radio interview in this area as a US Senate candidate. You calls will be welcomed. 334-272-9228.

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