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Stories about Alabama

Kenyatté Hassell wins Democratic nomination in special primary runoff for Alabama House District 78

A special Democratic primary runoff for District 78 in the Alabama House of Representatives was held on June 22, 2021. Kenyatté Hassell defeated Donald Williams and advanced to the general election.

The general election is scheduled for September 7. The filing deadline passed on March 23. Hassell will be running against Loretta Grant (R).

The special election was called after Kirk Hatcher (D) was elected to the Alabama State Senate in a special election on March 2, 2021. Hatcher served from 2018 to 2021. 

The September 7 special election will mark the fifth Alabama state legislative special election this year and the third special election for the state house of representatives. Ben Robbins (R) defeated Fred Crum (D) in the January 19 special election for House District 33. Virginia Applebaum (D) and April Weaver (R) will compete for Senate District 14 and Sheridan Black (D) will face Kenneth Paschal (R) in House District 73 on July 13.

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Top-two vote-getters in Alabama House District 78 Democratic primary head to June 2 primary runoff

A special Democratic primary was held for Alabama House District 78 on May 25. Kenyatté Hassell and Donald Williams advanced to the Democratic primary runoff after defeating Terance Dawson and Roderick Thornton. 

The primary runoff is scheduled for June 22. The Democratic primary runoff winner will face Loretta Grant (R) in the general election on Sept. 7. Grant was the only Republican candidate to file, so the Republican primary was canceled.

The special election was called after Kirk Hatcher (D) was elected to the Alabama State Senate in a special election on March 2. Hatcher served in the state House from 2018 to 2021.

As of May 2021, 38 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Alabama held 23 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2020, about two per year on average.

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Special primary election to be held in Alabama state House district

A special Democratic primary will be held on May 25 for District 78 in the Alabama House of Representatives. A Democratic primary runoff, if necessary, will take place on June 22. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Loretta Grant (R) in the special general election on September 7.

Terance Dawson, Kenyatté Hassell, Roderick Thornton, and Donald Williams will face off in the Democratic primary. The special election became necessary after Kirk Hatcher (D) was elected to the Alabama State Senate in a special election on March 2. Hatcher served in the state House from 2018 to 2021. He was elected in 2018 with 83% of the vote.

Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 26-8 margin with one vacancy and the state House by a 76-27 margin with two vacancies.

As of May, 38 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Five constitutional amendments certified to appear on 2022 ballot in Alabama so far

As of May 4, 2021, the Alabama State Legislature has referred five statewide ballot measures to the 2022 ballot. One measure will be on the May 24 ballot. Four measures will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. The legislature unanimously approved four of the amendments. The other amendment, which would ban election and voting changes for six months before a general election, was passed largely along party lines with most Republicans in favor and most Democrats opposed.

In Alabama, both chambers of the legislature must approve proposed constitutional amendments by a 60% vote in one session to refer them to the voters.

May 24, 2022:

  1. House Bill 565 would amend the state constitution to authorize $85 million in bonds for improvement, renovation, acquisition, construction, and maintenance of state parks managed by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and historical sites managed by the Alabama Historical Commission, excluding the Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury. The measure was passed by a vote of 29-0 in the Senate and 98-0 in the House.

November 8, 2022:

  1. House Bill 388 would require that any legislation changing the conduct of a general election must be implemented at least six months before the next affected general election. It was passed in the House by a vote of 75-24 and in the Senate by a vote of 25-4. In the House 74 Republicans and one Democrat were in favor of the amendment, and 24 Democrats were opposed. In the Senate, 24 Republicans and one Democrata were in favor, and two Republicans and two Democrats were opposed.
  2. Senate Bill 68 would remove orphans’ business from the jurisdiction of county probate courts. County probate courts would continue to be responsible for adoptions, guardianships, and granting letters of testamentary. It was passed in the Senate by a vote of 28-0 and in the House by a vote of 90-0.
  3. House Bill 131 would amend the Alabama Constitution to provide that the legislature may enumerate offenses for which bail may be denied. The measure is referred to as Aniah’s Law. The legislature also passed House Bill 130, which would take effect if the amendment is approved. House Bill 130 enumerates offenses for which bail may be denied by a court, including murder, kidnapping, rape, assault, and more. For individuals charged with listed offenses under the bill, bail could be denied “if the prosecuting attorney proves by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonably ensure the defendant’s appearance in court or protect the safety of the community or any person, may deny a defendant’s bail.” It was passed by a vote of 30-0 in the Senate and 92-0 in the House.
  4. House Bill 178 would allow certain cities that were previously authorized to pass a special property tax to pay for bonds or other forms of debt to fund capital improvements to instead use the tax revenue to pay for capital improvements directly. It would also validate any past use of such property tax revenue directly for capital improvements. It was passed by a vote of 98-0 in the House and 29-0 in the Senate.

A total of 88 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Alabama from 2000 to 2020. Sixty-nine were approved (78.41%), and 22 were defeated (21.59%). All but three measures were on even-year ballots. From 2000 to 2020, the number of measures on statewide ballots during even-numbered years ranged from four to 15.



Kenneth Paschal wins special primary runoff in Alabama House district

A Republican primary runoff was held on April 27 in the special election for District 73 of the Alabama House of Representatives. Kenneth Paschal earned 51% of the vote in the runoff, defeating Leigh Hulsey. Paschal and Hulsey advanced from the Republican primary on March 30. Sheridan Black advanced from the Democratic primary without opposition and will face off against Paschal in the general election on July 13. The winner of the special election will serve until November 2022.

The seat became vacant after Matt Fridy (R) was elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in November 2020. Fridy had represented the district since 2014. He won re-election in 2018 with 69% of the vote.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 76-27 majority in the Alabama House with two vacancies. Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of April, 33 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Alabama held 23 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

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Alabama legislature sends two constitutional amendments to 2022 ballot

On April 15, 2021, the Alabama State Legislature gave final approval to two constitutional amendments that will appear on the 2022 ballot.

One measure would amend the Alabama Constitution to provide that the legislature may enumerate offenses for which bail may be denied. The measure is referred to as Aniah’s Law. The legislature also passed House Bill 130 which would take effect if the amendment is approved. House Bill 130 sets the specific offenses for which bail may be denied by a court, including murder, kidnapping, rape, assault, and more. For individuals charged with listed offenses under the bill, bail could be denied “if the prosecuting attorney proves by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonably ensure the defendant’s appearance in court or protect the safety of the community or any person.”

The bill is named after Aniah Blanchard who was murdered in 2019 in Alabama after the suspect was released on bond after being charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, and robbery. Amendment sponsor Chip Brown said “too many of those who are accused of violent crimes are bonding out of jail and committing even more serious offenses, and it is time for law-abiding Alabamians to start fighting back. Denying bail to those accused of violent offenses is a commonsense answer to a dangerous societal problem.” The measure was passed by a vote of 30-0 in the Senate with four members not voting and 92-0 in the House with 11 members not voting.

The other measure would remove orphans’ business from the jurisdiction of county probate courts. County probate courts would continue to be responsible for adoptions, guardianships, and granting letters of testamentary. The measure was passed by the Senate in a vote of 28-0 with seven members not voting and by the House in a vote of 90-0 with 13 members not voting.

Three other constitutional amendments have passed one chamber of the Alabama state legislature and will appear on the November 2022 ballot if they pass in the second chamber. The amendments would

  1. require changes to laws governing the conduct of a general election to be implemented at least six months from the general election;
  2. authorize $85 million in bonds for state parks improvement; and
  3. create the Alabama Education Lottery, authorize sports betting, and authorize casino-style games in certain facilities in specific counties.

A total of 102 measures appeared on the statewide ballot in Alabama from 1998 to 2020, of which 80 were approved and 22 were defeated. Between 1998 and 2020, an average of eight measures appeared on the ballot in Alabama during even-numbered election years.



Special election primaries to be held in Alabama state legislative districts

Special election primaries are being held on March 30 for District 14 of the Alabama State Senate and District 73 of the Alabama House of Representatives. Democratic primaries were canceled in both elections because a single candidate filed for each. Primary runoffs will take place on April 27 if no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote. General elections are being held on July 13. The winners of the special elections will serve until November 7, 2022.

  • In Senate District 14, Joseph Barlow, Donna Dorough Strong, and April Weaver are running in the Republican primary. Virginia Applebaum automatically advanced from the Democratic primary. The seat became vacant on December 7 after Cam Ward (R) was appointed to serve as director of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles by Gov. Kay Ivey (R). Ward had represented the seat since 2010 and was unopposed in his re-election bid in 2020. He faced competition in 2018 and won re-election with 72.6% of the vote.
  • In House District 73, Joseph Daley, George Henry, Leigh Hulsey, Kenneth Paschal, and Kerri Pate are facing off for the Republican nomination. Sheridan Black automatically advanced from the Democratic primary. The special election became necessary after Matt Fridy (R) was elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in November 2020. Fridy had represented District 73 since 2015 and won re-election in 2018 with 69.1% of the vote.

Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 26-8 margin with one vacancy and the state House by a 76-27 margin with two vacancies.

As of March, 33 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Filing deadline to pass for special election in Alabama House district

Candidates interested in running in the special election for District 78 of the Alabama House of Representatives have until March 23 to file. A primary is scheduled for May 25, 2021, and the general election is on September 7. The filing deadline for independent and minor party candidates is May 25.

The special election was called after Kirk Hatcher (D) was elected to the Alabama State Senate in a special election on March 2, 2021. He was elected to House District 78 in 2018 with 83.4% of the vote.

Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 26-8 margin with one vacancy and the state House by a 76-27 margin with two vacancies.

As of March 2021, 29 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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Mississippi lifts mask restrictions; Texas, Alabama announce dates for ending requirements

Thirty-nine states issued statewide mask requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the governors of Alabama and Texas announced dates for lifting statewide mask requirements, and the governor of Mississippi lifted the state’s regional mask requirement. As a result, six of the original thirty-nine states with statewide mask requirements have now lifted or announced dates to lift them.

Mississippi had a statewide mask requirement from Aug. 5-Sept. 30, 2020, followed by a regional mask requirement that applied in 75 of 82 counties. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) lifted the regional mask requirement on March 3, though the state still requires masks in K-12 school buildings.

Reeves’ order also lifted gathering restrictions for individuals. Large indoor venues like arenas with ticketed seating are limited to 50% seating capacity. Previously, only 10 people could gather indoors and 50 could gather outdoors.

On March 2, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an order, effective March 10, ending the statewide mask mandate and allowing all businesses to open at 100% capacity. If COVID-19 hospitalizations get above 15% of hospital bed capacity in any of the state’s 22 hospital regions for seven consecutive days, then a county judge may impose some restrictions. Those restrictions cannot include capacity limits below 50%, however. The order also prohibits jurisdictions from penalizing people for not wearing face coverings. Texas’ mask order was first implemented July 3.

On March 4, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) extended the state’s coronavirus emergency order, including the mask requirement, until 5:00 p.m. on April 9. Ivey said she will let the mask order expire on April 9. Ivey first issued the statewide mask requirement on July 16.

Thirty-five states currently have statewide mask orders, including all 23 states with Democratic governors and 12 out of the 27 states with Republican governors.



Voters in Alabama Senate district to decide special election on Mar. 2

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

A special election is being held on March 2 for District 26 of the Alabama State Senate. State Rep. Kirk Hatcher (D) and William Green (R) are facing off in the special election.

Hatcher advanced to the general election after defeating former state Rep. John Knight in the Democratic primary runoff with 74.2% of the vote on December 15, 2020. Hatcher and Knight advanced from the primary election on November 17, 2020, earning 47.9% and 20.8% of the vote, respectively. Green was unopposed in the Republican primary.

The seat became vacant after the resignation of David Burkette (D) on September 1, 2020. He was first elected to the state Senate on May 15, 2018, in a special election to fill an unexpired term. He ran in the regularly scheduled election in November 2018 and won a four-year term with 80.2% of the vote.

Heading into the special election, Republicans have a 26-7 majority with two vacancies in the state Senate. Alabama has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of February, 27 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year.

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