Ralph Chapoco

Ralph Chapoco

Ralph Chapoco covers state politics as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. His main responsibility is the criminal justice system in Alabama.

Alabama bill would allow elderly to opt out of jury duty

By: - May 29, 2023

An Alabama committee Wednesday approved a bill that will allow the elderly to apply for exemptions from jury duty. The House Judiciary Committee approved SB 64, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro,  by voice vote on Wednesday. Under the bill, people aged 75 or older would be able to ask a court to […]

A meeting of the Alabama House of Representatives

Alabama Legislature gives final approval to education budget, supplemental spending

By: - May 26, 2023

The Alabama Legislature approved the $8.8 billion Education Trust Fund budget and a $2.7 billion supplemental funding bill on Thursday night, sending them to Gov. Kay Ivey after a marathon day with multiple meetings. The Senate approved a compromise version of the Education Trust Fund on a 31-0 vote on Thursday night.  The House approved […]

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Alabama Senate committee approves $3 billion General Fund budget

By: - May 25, 2023

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee Wednesday approved a $3 billion General Fund budget, setting it up for a vote in the chamber as early as Thursday. The proposal is slightly smaller than the House version of the General Fund, passed on April 26, but would be about $162 million larger than the […]

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Alabama Senate may boost funding for Crime Victims’ Compensation Commission

By: - May 23, 2023

The head of the Senate’s General Fund committee said Monday he expects more funding for the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission, which has faced shortfalls and complaints from victims and families about slow response times. “The amount that the House is putting in there is not being touched, and I am trying to put some […]

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Voting restriction bill moves in the Alabama Legislature as voting access legislation stalls

By: - May 23, 2023

The Alabama Legislature is on course to finish the 2023 regular session with more restrictions on voting and a number of stalled attempts to make casting a ballot easier. A bill that would make it a felony for most people and organizations to assist people with filling out absentee ballots is moving quickly through the […]

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Alabama House bill creates registration, filtering requirements for pornography companies

By: - May 22, 2023

An Alabama House committee Wednesday approved a bill requiring companies that distribute pornography to use filters aimed at preventing minors from viewing the material. HB 441, sponsored by Rep. Ben Robbins, R-Sylacauga, mandates companies distributing material that is “harmful to minors” to have a system in place for verifying the ages and preventing people younger […]

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Senator pushing to get Alabama sex abuse survivors bill out of committee

By: - May 18, 2023

A bill to extend the statute of limitations for people who have been sexually abused as children could start moving after the bill’s sponsor threatened to stall legislation on the Senate floor. Sen. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, who said an unnamed insurance company had been holding up the bill, said Thursday morning that she was […]

Alabama House could vote on review of some habitual felony offender sentences

By: - May 16, 2023

A House committee Wednesday approved a bill giving people sentenced under the Habitual Felony Offender Act a chance of rehearing after several weeks of negotiations between lawmakers and criminal justice advocacy groups. HB 229, sponsored by Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, creates a process where a group of people with long prison sentences can have their […]

A headshot of an inmate.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds Alabama inmate’s request to die by nitrogen hypoxia

By: - May 15, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld a lower court’s decision that allowed a death row inmate subjected to a botched execution last year to choose death by nitrogen hypoxia. The high court turned down an appeal from the Alabama Department of Corrections, which argued that move by Kenneth Eugene Smith was a delaying tactic. In […]

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Civil lawsuit bill for sexual assault victims still in Alabama House committee

By: - May 15, 2023

A bill that would give sexual assault victims new opportunities to file civil lawsuits remains stuck in committee with just nine days left in the legislative session. The bill, SB 127, has slowed over concerns from insurance companies about how the bill would affect them, according to Sen. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove, the bill’s sponsor, […]

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Alabama Senate passes bill creating crime of ‘retail theft’

By: - May 11, 2023

The Alabama Senate Thursday approved a bill that creates harsher punishments for people convicted of stealing from retailers. SB 206, sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, creates a new crime of “retail theft” and makes some thefts felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Chambliss said on the floor of the Senate Thursday […]

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Alabama Senate approves bill requiring agencies to respond to open records requests

By: - May 11, 2023

The Alabama Senate Thursday approved a bill that would require most public agencies to acknowledge and respond to public records requests. SB 196, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, passed the Senate 33-0 after senators made changes to the bill on the floor. “The most important aspect of the bill are the timetables, and some […]