Ever since Robert Bentley left office after he was caught in the midst of a sex scandal with his assistant, Kay Ivey has taken the role of the Governor of Alabama and she has been doing some fairly interesting things for the state. It’s not certain if it’s just because the media wants to cover everything that she’s doing because she is the new governor or if it’s really just because she is actually doing things to change Alabama, unlike Robert Bentley.
If you somehow have not been informed of Alabama politics, Robert Bentley was allegedly involved in an affair with his senior political advisor, Rebekah Mason, there are text messages and audio recordings that display the relationship between Bentley and Mason. Someone filed an ethics complaint and some other legislators called for Bentley to resign and on April 10, the same day that there was an impeachment hearing. Bentley eventually did resign.
Ivey was the lieutenant governor and took over after Bentley left and one of the first things that she did that a lot of people gave her praise for was moving the date of the Senate election. Back when Bentley was governor, Jeff Sessions left to become the Attorney General in the Trump’s administration, leaving one Senate seat vacant. Bentley did not decide to have a special election but instead let the former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange fill the seat until the general election in 2018.
Fun fact, Luther Strange was also involved in the ethics violation committee investigating Robert Bentley.
Ivey decided to move the election in August 2017, calling it a special election. A lot of people said that Bentley broke the law by not having a special election. According to the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus the State law, Code of Alabama 36-9-8 says that if the Senate seat becomes vacant, “the governor shall forthwith order an election.”
The Black Caucus said this means that the election should be held immediately, while Bentley’s legal team said that this means that the governor just needs to order an election “forthwith” not be held “forthwith.” Either way, Ivey has moved the election closer and a lot of people are happy about that.
Since taking office, Governor Ivey has been revealed as a fairly moderate Republican and seems to have Alabama genuinely in her heart.
For example, Ivey signed a law that would potentially allow gay couples to be denied from adopting in Alabama, seemingly very conservative. But the House Bill 24 would stop state officials from denying faith-based adoption groups to deny adoptions to same-sex couples. A lot of people had found this rather regressive.
Ivey also signed a bill that stops judges from overriding juries in death penalty cases, likely preventing more executions. She signed another law that protects Confederate monuments, a popular idea in much of Alabama, which has sparked some controversy.
So all in all, she seems to be doing a good job so far of balancing moderate conservatism in a very conservative state. She isn’t a declared gubernatorial candidate for 2018, but I’m interested in seeing how the public responds to her policies and whether she decides to run for another term.