SPLC responds to Bentley's federal government lawsuit, Dauphin Island Mardi Gras parade

Jan 8, 2016

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley recently announced that he is suing the federal government over refugees settling in his state.

Governor Bentley argues the U.S. government hasn’t provided Alabama enough information about the refugees to be placed in the state. Bentley says he’s filing the lawsuit out of concern for the safety of Alabama’s residents.

Kristi Graunke is a senior supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center. She says the federal government takes their vetting process seriously.

“It can take up to 24 months, and it’s done abroad. There are multiple layers of security screening. So a lot of the concerns that governors are raising about Syrian refugees really are completely out of context and do not reflect the reality of what’s going on.”

Graunke says that even the state’s evidence shows that the federal government has been in touch regarding refugee placements.

Residents in one of Alabama's most populous counties will decide whether to allow Sunday alcohol sales.

Shelby County is set to vote on the alcohol referendum during the primary election on March 1. The county is one of the largest in the state with more than 200,000 residents just south of Birmingham.

Baptist leader Joe Godfrey says the Alabama Citizens Action Program will work with area pastors to defeat the measure.

But business managers and some elected leaders say Sunday sales are needed to help generate revenue.

Pelham City Council President Rick Hayes says the lack of Sunday sales affects economic growth.

Dauphin Island is getting a jump on the Mardi Gras season with the first parade of the year this weekend.

The south Alabama island will host its 22nd annual Krewe de la Dauphine Mardi Gras parade tomorrow afternoon. The theme for this year's parade is Broadway Nights, with floats fashioned after Broadway plays.

Jeff Collier is the mayor of Dauphin Island and the grand marshal of this year's parade. He says the amount of people the event draws might surprise you.

“This particular parade will bring as many as 40,000 people, believe it or not. It travels about 4 miles. Just a fantastic parade, and folks come early, they set up, they grill out. It's just a great family get-together. It's a good way to kick off the season and get your Moon Pie fix.”

 The parade will begin at 1 PM tomorrow and will stretch from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab to Dauphin Island Elementary School.