Bentley to speak at law school

Newly elected members of the Alabama Legislature will be in Tuscaloosa next week to attend The University of Alabama's Legislative Orientation Conference. The event, which is held every four years, will take place on December 6-8. The conference is hosted by the UA School of Law and will feature addresses by Governor-Elect Robert Bentley and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Kay Ivey as well as several other legislators and members of the UA Community.

Governor-Elect Bentley's address will close the session at 11 a.m. in the Moot Courtroom. Bentley's speech will be his first address to lawmakers since his Nov. 2 election.

Bill Poole, who was locally elected in November to the state legislature in the seat vacated by Dr. Bentley, said he is looking forward to participating in the orientation sessions and also is excited by the opportunity for Tuscaloosa and the University to be hosting such an event.

"I'm excited about participating in the orientation session and getting started in my duties serving as a representative of our community," Poole said. "I'm also excited for our community that we are fortunate enough to have the legislature come to our community and conduct this event here on the University of Alabama campus. I think that is a unique opportunity that our community and the University has."

Ivey, who previously served as state treasurer, will open the conference on Monday in the Moot Courtroom with her first speech to legislators.

The conference speakers and panelists will touch on a wide range of topics including ethics, national health care reform and the current state of Alabama's economy.

Another major issue, redistricting, will be addressed Monday in a speech by Catherine McCully, a member of the Census Redistricting Data Office in the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Alabama State House switched to a Republican majority for the first time since the reconstruction, coinciding with the 2010 Census, which will allow for the redistricting of congressional districts in 2012.

John Cochran, a UA graduate and three time Emmy award winner who currently serves as Senior Washington Correspondent for ABC News will be speaking Thursday to discuss the changes in the political landscape over the past fifty years in a speech entitled "Changes in Washington: Eisenhower to Obama." Cochran joined ABC from NBC, where he spent 21 years as a Washington correspondent. During that period he spent five years as NBC’s chief correspondent to the White House.

Two New York Times Bestselling Authors will also speak over the course of the three-day sessions. UA’s own Rick Bragg will be giving the keynote address “Remember My People” following Ivey’s opening session on Monday. Andy Andrews, a Baldwin County native who has written the New York Times bestsellers “The Traveler’s Gift” and “The Noticer” will give a speech entitled “As a Legistlator, Everything You Do Matters” Tuesday morning.

The Orientation Conference is sponsored by The Alabama Law Institute and the Legislative council and is hosted by The University of Alabama. It is open to the media but not the general public.

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