“Rumors and Rumblings” is a weekly feature that runs each Wednesday. It includes short nuggets of information that we glean from conversations throughout the week. Have a tip? Send it here.
Each Tuesday evening I send emails out to various folks around Montgomery to see what they’re hearing. Sometimes I pick up something I hadn’t heard yet and include it in the following day’s Rumors & Rumblings. There was frantic discussion surrounding the budget negotiations and the usual hullabaloo that accompanies the end of a session. But one Montgomery insider took the time to provide this little nugget: “I heard the president was gay and breast fed his kids until they were like 13.” …In depth information you won’t find anywhere else, folks. The rest of this week’s Rumors & Rumblings are below.
1. Disgruntled AEA staffers are grumbling behind the scenes about their discontent with AEA boss Henry Mabry. There is a distinct difference in management style between Mabry and former AEA chief Paul Hubbert and it has rubbed some long-time AEA staffers the wrong way. Despite being on the wrong side of most issues, Hubbert maintained an undeniable rapport with legislators on both sides of the aisle. Mabry on the other hand is notoriously aloof and does not command nearly the level of respect Hubbert did. It will be worth watching to see if AEA sheds any staff after the session.
2. Budget deals are dominating discussions behind-the-scenes as lawmakers work to resolve a $200 million shortfall in the general fund. Three scenarios have emerged as possibilities: 1. The deficit will land in Medicaid, 2. the deficit will hit prisons, or 3. a “blended deal” will emerge with both Medicaid and prisons taking an approximately $100 million hit. Negotiations are ongoing and the situation remains fluid.
3. Republican state party insiders are excited with the selection of Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey as the Chair of the Alabama delegation to the Republican National Committee. ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead was also in the running for Chair but Ivey had the election well in hand prior to the vote. Armistead also briefly threw his hat in the ring for Vice Chair before withdrawing when he realized he didn’t have the votes. The Alabama delegation will be in good hands with Ivey at the helm.
4. Long-time Representative Arthur Payne is retiring after this quadrennium and several names are popping up as possible successors in House District 44. Birmingham attorney Johnny Amari is the latest name in the rumor mill. Amari is the son of Democrat Judge John Amari of the 10th Judicial Circuit. Sources say Amari will likely run as a Republican. At least two other Republicans are also considering a run for the seat.