State Agencies to Announce Spending Plans, Hubbard Wants More Strange Testimony

Sep 30, 2015

Alabama National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, Montgomery, Ala.

Alabamians will soon find out which of the state’s drivers' license offices, National Guard armories and state parks will shut down due to budget cuts.

The governor's office says state agencies will announce their plans for dealing with funding reductions later today.

Governor Robert Bentley says state agencies have to work with the amount of money appropriated to them by lawmakers for the new fiscal year beginning tomorrow.

Earlier this month, lawmakers approved a general fund budget containing about $82 million in cuts. Legislators approved a cigarette tax hike to minimize reductions, but rejected Bentley's call for larger tax increases.

The Alabama Legislature included language in the budget to prohibit the closure of drivers' license offices and limit service reductions. But the governor says he believes that language is unconstitutional.

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's defense lawyers want additional testimony from Attorney General Luther Strange as he seeks to dismiss his ethics case. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the details.

Lawyers for the Auburn Republican have subpoenaed Strange to testify at a hearing at the end of October. Prosecutors are asking a judge to drop the subpoena, saying the court already allowed a deposition of Strange.

The defense is accusing prosecutors of misconduct. They also argue the case against the powerful Republican is a selective prosecution.

Prosecutors dismissed the claims as defense "conspiracy" theories. Strange stepped aside from the investigation and appointed a retired district attorney to lead the case.

Hubbard faces 23 ethics counts accusing him of using his public positions to benefit his businesses. He has maintained his innocence.

A judge has tentatively scheduled the trial for March.

Tuscaloosa foodies could be in paradise this weekend. That's when the Druid City Garden Project holds its fourth annual Garden Party.

The event pairs chefs from eight Tuscaloosa restaurants with fourteen area farmers. They'll join forces to produce a variety of unique dishes. All three of Tuscaloosa’s breweries will be serving beer as well.

Lindsay Turner is the executive director of the Druid City Garden Project. She says proceeds from the event will benefit a great cause.

“Druid City Garden Project is a non-profit organization here in Tuscaloosa. We’re a school garden education program. We are now in seven elementary schools across the Tuscaloosa city and Tuscaloosa County school systems. We reach over 2600 students every single week of the school year.”

The Garden Party will be held Sunday evening at Smith Hall on the University of Alabama campus. Tickets are available online at DruidCityGardenProject.org.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is set to address black Democrats in Alabama next month.

The Alabama Democratic Conference says the Democratic front runner will speak at its semi-annual convention in metro Birmingham on Oct. 17.

The group is the black caucus of the Alabama Democratic Party. Longtime chairman Joe Reed issued a statement saying the conference is fortunate to host Clinton.

Alabama has 64 delegates to the Democratic National Convention next year, and Reed says some pledged to Clinton have already qualified.

Clinton will address the Alabama Democratic Conference at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham, located in Hoover.