Rodger Smitherman

A group of small children with a teacher sitting on floor and learning about space together at kindergarten.

Alabama first grade readiness gets support from governor’s education commission

BY: - August 17, 2023

The future of a bill that would effectively mandate kindergarten in Alabama still faces an uphill battle, even as members of a state education commission said that they support the bill. During a Wednesday meeting of Governor’s Commission on Teaching and Learning — a group of educators, lawmakers and officials — State Superintendent Eric Mackey […]

A box with a black suit rests against a dais, framed by two podiums

Alabama Legislature’s 2023 regular session ends on a quiet note

BY: and - June 7, 2023

After a legislative session that included multiple pieces of controversial legislation, numerous filibusters and singing, Alabama legislators finished the 2023 regular session with a relatively noncontroversial calendar and few conflicts.  But the price of peace was the death of several notable or controversial bills, including legislation that would have criminalized some assistance for absentee voting; […]

Rep. Pebblin Warren at a podium

“First grade readiness” fails to come to vote on Alabama Legislature’s final day

BY: - June 7, 2023

A bill that would have required students to show “first-grade readiness” before moving to that grade died on the final day of the 2023 session on Tuesday.  HB43, sponsored by Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, would have required students to show readiness by completing kindergarten or an assessment. “This isn’t really politics for me,” Warren said. […]

A grocery shopper holds a peach in a produce stand.

Grocery tax cut gets final passage; heads to Gov. Kay Ivey

BY: - June 1, 2023

Alabamians could soon see the first-ever reduction in the sales tax on groceries. The Alabama Senate voted 31-0 Thursday for a bill that would cut the state tax on most groceries from 4% to 3%, with a further reduction possible if the Education Trust Fund budget grows. The House concurred in Senate changes Thursday afternoon, […]

A man looking upward and pointing.

Bill that makes doxing a crime passes the Senate

BY: - May 25, 2023

A bill that would outlaw doxing passed the Senate on Thursday. HB 287, sponsored by Rep. Shane Stringer, R-Citronelle, makes it illegal for someone to intentionally post personal identifying information online to harass or harm another person.  If the person whose information is shared is a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or public servant, then the […]

A man looking upward and pointing.

Alabama Senate approves range of penalties for exhibition driving

BY: - May 2, 2023

The Alabama Senate approved a bill creating a range of punishments for exhibition driving on Tuesday. HB29, sponsored by Rep. Allen Treadaway, R-Morris, passed 32-0. It goes to Gov. Kay Ivey. The bill, which had strong support from Birmingham’s mayor and legislators, outlaws “exhibition driving” which includes motor burnout and donut maneuvers. “We had four […]

Six figures of enslaved people are rendered in brass. Three are men; two are women; one is a child. The men wear shirts and overalls; the women dresses and headscarves; the child a dress. Three men and a women are visibly chained to each other. In the foreground, a bearded white man wearing a fedora and holding a gun and a whip looks at the enslaved individuals.

Alabama legislative committees approve two separate history instruction bills

BY: - April 13, 2023

A House and a Senate committee Wednesday separately approved two bills that take sharply divergent approaches to teaching history, particularly on racial issues.  The Senate bill, SB 180, sponsored by Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, requires that history in Alabama be fact-based and inclusive and was approved by the Senate Education Policy Committee. “You go walk […]

A man looking upward and pointing.

Alabama Senate committee approves bill creating penalties for exhibition driving

BY: - April 5, 2023

An Alabama Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill prohibiting some vehicle maneuvers tied to exhibition driving. SB 58, sponsored by Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, creates penalties for potentially dangerous moves in cars. “We have had four people get killed because the folks are out there with these cars out of control,” Smitherman said. “I actually […]