Around the South for June 1: AL, MS & FL

Alabama: Bentley signs prison reform bill. In response to severe overcrowding in its prisons, the legislature passed and Gov. Robert Bentley (R) legislation that will put money into pardons and parole staff and create a Class D felony class for less serious crimes that would not be subject to the Habitual Offender Act. In addition, reports the Montgomery Advertiser, the state Senate has passed a bill calling for $60 million in prison construction over the next five years ……. Mississippi: Bryant stops grants to Oxford House. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) sent a letter to the state Department of Mental Health in opposition to its providing grants to Oxford House, Inc., a group that operates residences for recovering addicts, reports the Clarion-Ledger. Bryant contends that the group is focused on “expanding its footprint in Mississippi,” rather than providing counseling. His letter follows protests about an Oxford House in one Jackson neighborhood, where residents were concerned about child safety and property values ……. Florida: Scott still in campaign mode. Despite the fact that he’s term-limited, Gov. Rick Scott (R) continues to raise money and to spend it promoting his performance in office. In April, reports the Miami Herald, Scott’s Let’s Get to Work political committee raised $677,000 and spent $657,000 on TV ads. He’s also the first Florida governor to put a videographer on the office payroll to record his visits around the state. One theory: That Scott is preparing to run for US Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D) senate seat in 2018 …….