Committee begins impeachment probe into Alabama governor, State poverty data released

Jun 15, 2016

A committee of lawmakers opened impeachment hearings against Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, beginning a probe on whether there are grounds to remove the two-term Republican from office.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Mike Jones opened the hearings Wednesday by noting the seriousness of the committee's task.

Twenty-three representatives in April signed impeachment article accusing Bentley of corruption and neglect of duty. The articles were filed after Bentley admitted making sexually-charged remarks to a top aide.

The committee will make a recommendation to the full House on whether impeachment grounds exist.

Nine hundred thousand Alabamians are currently living in poverty. That’s the latest data from the nonprofit Alabama Possible, who released their 2016 State Poverty Data Sheet this week.

Counties in Alabama’s Black Belt fare even worse, with nearly half the residents of Perry County at or below the poverty line. That translates into hunger as well. Nearly nineteen percent of Alabamians and more than twenty six percent of the state’s children face food insecurity.

Kristina Scott is the Executive Director of Alabama Possible. She says the poverty report allows state agencies and local communities to plan more effectively.

“You’ve gotta know where you are in order to really figure out where you’re going. And so this poverty data sheet can give communities a baseline of where they are, and gives people the ability to have that conversation rooted in facts, and not conjecture.”

In addition to compiling poverty data, Alabama Possible works to expand college access and organizes simulations to demonstrate the challenges associated with living below the poverty level.

A new program is working to combine the efforts of the Tuscaloosa Veterans Affair Hospital and the University of Alabama. 

The service is called VITAL and provides clinical video teleconferencing for veterans.  The rooms where these take place were previously used solely for U-A dependents to talk with family members stationed overseas, but now they are offered for medical appointments.   

Damon Stevenson is Public Affairs Officer at Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center. He says this is another way the V-A is working to help its patients.

“VITAL stands for Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership, which is a program we established here at Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, to ensure our college age veterans get the mental health care and primary care to make sure they’re successful in college.”

The service is much like Skype. It allows patients to participate in video appointments from a Veteran and Military Affairs private space with a VA clinician.