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9:17 am
Fri May 29, 2015

Time Expires on Gambling and Revenue Bills, House Passes Scholarship Reform

Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery

Time has run out on a bill to legalize gambling and a state lottery in Alabama, and efforts to avoid deep state budget cuts may be too little too late as well.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s gambling bill didn't get a floor vote on the Senate yesterday, and legislative rules make it extremely difficult to pass controversial Senate bills in the final four days of the 30-day session.

Senators also adjourned yesterday before voting on a bill to transfer $100 million from the Education Trust Fund to the cash-strapped General Fund.

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News
5:07 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Hubbard challenges Senate to pass "austere" budget, Korens Incorporated Plant

House Speaker Mike Hubbard is urging the Alabama Senate to approve an austere budget before addressing any short- or long-term revenue bills.

Hubbard said Thursday taking action too quickly could have "unintended consequences."

The House passed the state's general fund budget with $200 million in cuts earlier this month.

Gov. Robert Bentley sought $541 million in new taxes this year and has threatened to veto any budget that includes cuts to the state's $1.88 billion budget.

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Newscast
9:30 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Clock Ticking on Both General Fund Budget and State Lottery Bill

Alabama State House
Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

Time is running out for the Alabama Legislature to work out a general fund budget, but the state Senate is beginning to iron out the details.

State agency heads told members of the Senate Budget Committee yesterday that proposed cuts will close circuit clerk offices, slash Medicaid services and send state prisons into a danger zone of crowding and violence.

Committee Chairman Arthur Orr says there are close to $150 million in revenue-generating bills under discussion that could reduce the cuts if they win legislative approval.

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Arts & Life
8:15 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Steve Flowers on the State's "Prison Plan"

There’s still a lot of haggling going on over the state budget. Governor Robert Bentley wants to plug a spending shortfall by raising taxes and that’s not being welcomed by Republican members of the legislature. As contentious as this issue is, there are other things the House and Senate are dealing with. One subject is prison reform. Alabama Public Radio’s political commentator Steve Flowers has a few thoughts on that...

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News
4:39 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Legislators work on General Fund Budget, Farmers apply for grants

Time is running out for the Alabama Legislature to work out a general fund budget. 

State agency heads told members of the Senate budget committee yesterday that proposed cuts will close circuit clerk offices, slash Medicaid services and send state prisons into a danger zone of crowding and violence.

Chairman Arthur Orr says there are close to $150 million in revenue generating bills under discussion that could reduce the cuts if they win legislative approval.

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Newscast
9:21 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Water Center to Provide Detailed Forecasting, AL Teach for America Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA Administrator

The University of Alabama is teaming up with researchers across the country to study the nation's water.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association just unveiled its newest national center on the Tuscaloosa campus yesterday afternoon.

The $24 million National Water Center is a collaboration between several federal agencies. It will become the U.S. center for water forecasting as well as research and water management.

NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says they plan to hit the ground running at the new center with a research project starting this summer.

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News
4:37 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

NOAA Opens Tuscaloosa Water Center, State Legislature passes Education Budget

The University of Alabama is teaming up with Washington to study the nation's water. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association just unveiled its newest national center on the Tuscaloosa campus.

The twenty four million dollar National Water Center is a collaboration between several federal agencies. It will become the U.S. center for water forecasting.

NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says they plan to hit the ground running at the new center with a research project starting this summer.

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Newscast
9:08 am
Tue May 26, 2015

BP and Gulf Coast Tourism, Alabama Choirs Headed to Japan

Alabama Choir School's final rehearsal before heading to Japan

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, tourism hasn’t just recovered on the Gulf Coast – industry officials say it’s surging. They credit the response to that environmental disaster as part of the reason why.

BP spent more than $230 million promoting Gulf Coast tourism after the 2010 spill, and the company aired national commercials promoting the region for years.

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News
4:40 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

Remembering Alabama Veterans on Memorial Day, Three Veterans earn commemoriate stamp

Tourism hasn't only recovered on the Gulf Coast five years after the BP oil spill - industry officials say it's surging.

BP spent more than $230 million promoting tourism after the 2010 spill, and the company aired national commercials promoting the region for years.

Tourism officials say that publicity blitz boosted tourism to new levels even as questions remain about the spill's long-term environmental impact. Tourist spending has doubled in some areas since before the spill.

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Newscast
9:29 am
Mon May 25, 2015

Alabama's Crumbling Governor's Mansion, Memorial Day Commemorations

Alabama National Cemetery in Birmingham

Alabama's Gulf Coast governor's mansion is vacant this Memorial Day. And, for that matter, every other day.

The 50-year-old house and land are worth $1 million, but the state hasn't repaired the building since it was damaged by a hurricane 18 years ago.

Fixing the mansion could present a political risk amid current debates over tax increases and spending cuts, and Gov. Robert Bentley doesn't need the house because he owns property nearby.

So the 7,500-square-foot governor’s mansion sits with boarded-up windows on a lot overlooking the beach.

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News
5:11 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

Tuscaloosa City Schools to begin using propane fueled buses

School buses that are mostly fueled by propane will soon begin shuttling students to and from school in Tuscaloosa.

The Tuscaloosa News reports the city's board of education approved of buying a fleet of new school buses from a Birmingham company at a cost of roughly $5.92 million. The fleet will include 63 propane-fueled buses and 10 diesel fueled ones.

News
5:09 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

Agent fired from Alabama AG's office to appeal termination

A special agent who was fired from the state Attorney General's office says he's appealing his termination to the state Personnel Board.

Attorney General Luther Strange accused Howard Sisson of helping former Deputy Attorney General Sonny Regan undermine an investigation into Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Strange says Sisson helped Regan secretly tape a conversation with the acting attorney general in charge of the case and later lied about losing the recorder. Strange accused Sisson of disclosing confidential information.

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Pets
8:45 am
Sat May 23, 2015

Dog Bite Prevention Week 2015

American Bull ("Pit Bull") Terrier puppy
Credit Beverly & Pack [Flickr]

This puppy looks cute and sweet, and not at all vicious.  He is an American Bull Terrier, often called a "Pit Bull".  If he is raised with love and gentleness he will be a great family pet.  If he is taught to be mean and aggressive, people will be afraid of him.  Part of preventing dog bites is in how the animals are raised and trained.

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News
4:37 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend travel and boating safety, Tuscaloosa County tax breaks for Mercedes-Benz

Tuscaloosa County officials have approved larger tax breaks for Mercedes-Benz to help offset expansion costs at the automaker's plant in Vance.

The Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority agreed Thursday to increase the value of tax abatements granted to Mercedes to about $28.1 million. That's up from $12.5 million in tax abatements for the automaker that were approved in 2011.

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Newscast
9:28 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Granade Issues Same-Sex Ruling, Busy Travel Weekend Expected

A federal judge has ruled once more that gays and lesbians have the right to marry in all Alabama counties, but placed her decision on hold until the U.S Supreme Court issues their ruling on same-sex marriage nationally.

U.S District Judge Callie Granade ruled yesterday saying once again that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and ordered all probate judges to stop enforcing that ban. But her order won’t go into effect until a U.S. Supreme Court decision which is expected to be handed down sometime next month.

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