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When Donald Trump won the presidency many were curious to see who would be the big winners and the big losers. It looks like Alabama’s defense industry may do very well when the upcoming budget is hashed out.               

A law that would regulate ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft failed to pass the Legislature this year. It’s unclear when or if those companies will begin service in certain Alabama communities.

Uber is blaming the cities involved. Al.com reports a spokesperson for Uber singled out Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson as being primarily responsible for the stalled legislation.

Churches in the Selma area may soon be on the front lines to combat gang violence. District Attorney Michael Jackson is launching a program he calls "Adopt-a-Gang Member." He says the idea is to help gang members feel more worthwhile by getting them involved in churches. Jackson held a summit in Selma recently with about 50 pastors to explain the program.

Pet-in-Hot-Car Bill

May 27, 2017
RedRover,org

Twenty-four states have laws regarding animals left unattended in hot cars, including two southern states (Tennessee and Florida).  That leaves eight states in the south and southeast without legal protection for pets trapped in hot cars, including Alabama.

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Three people are back on dry land after a water rescue twelve miles south of Dauphin Island. The Coast Guard and Alabama Department of Marine Resources received a report shortly before 7:30 a.m. on Friday about a collision between a catamaran with four people aboard and a pleasure craft with three people. The pleasure craft capsized and its three passengers were thrown into the water. The Alabama marine resources boat crew recovered the three survivors and transported them to emergency medical services at Billy Goat Hole.

A grassroots political activist group in west Alabama is shining a light on many other progressive organizations tomorrow.

The Kudzu Coalition of West Alabama is hosting a Spring Fling and Memorial Day celebration in downtown Tuscaloosa. Dozens of municipal and community organizations will be on hand to share their work.

Organizers say they want the Spring Fling to be an opportunity for people to find ways to get involved in their community, and for existing groups to find new ways to work together.

An inmate once called the "Houdini" of Alabama's death row for escaping seven past execution dates was put to death early this morning for a 1982 contract killing.

Tommy Arthur, 75, was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. this morning following a lethal injection, according to correctional authorities said. Arthur was convicted of killing riverboat engineer Troy Wicker, who was fatally shot as he slept in his bed in Muscle Shoals.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay on the execution of an Alabama prison inmate.

The nation's high court stayed the execution of Tommy Arthur, "pending further order" from the justices, late Thursday afternoon. Arthur was scheduled to be executed Thursday evening.

It looks like the 2017 legislative session ended with big news for expectant mothers in Alabama. After thirteen years of lobbying, lawmakers voted to let midwives can come out of the shadows and practice legally in the state. APR’s Pat Duggins has more as midwives wait for Governor Kay Ivey’s signature to make it all official…

Byrne snapper
byrne.house.gov

This year’s federal red snapper season on the Gulf Coast is scheduled to begin a week from today. And it’s scheduled to end just 72 hours later.

That short season has outraged anglers and business owners on Alabama’s coast – and it has U.S. lawmakers scrambling to do something about it.

U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s 1st Congressional District, including the Gulf Coast. He’s been working on the red snapper season for years, and he’s one of five lawmakers currently petitioning Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to intervene and extend the season on an emergency basis.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is warning Centre residents about potentially unhealthy levels of two synthetic compounds in its water.

The Department announced earlier this week that the compounds, known as PFOS and PFOA, were recently found in the city of Centre's water. It says residents should consider "using alternate sources of drinking water."

Centre Water has begun buying water from the Cherokee County Water Authority and blending the two to drive down the PFOS and PFOA numbers. The water will continue to be tested.

Lawyers for former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard say his ethics conviction is "legally baseless" and prosecutors stretched the bounds of the state law to bring charges against him.

 Hubbard's lawyers filed the appeal Wednesday in the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. They are seeking to overturn his 2016 conviction on ethics charges.  Hubbard was convicted of wrongly accepting investments, employment and financial advice from people with business before the Alabama Legislature.

Alabama death row
EJI

An Alabama inmate who has had seven past executions postponed is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection tomorrow.

Tommy Arthur still maintains his innocence, but he conceded in a phone interview with the Associated Press from prison that his hopes of winning another reprieve are diminishing. Still, the 75-year-old inmate says he "won't give up."

Pieces of Iconic Huntsville Mosaic to be Given Away Tonight

May 23, 2017

Pieces of a Huntsville religious icon are going home in the hands of the faithful today.

Tiles from a large mosaic called The Cosmic Christ will be handed out to anyone who wants one starting at 6 p.m. this evening. The image has been a staple of downtown Huntsville’s skyline since the 1970s, but is being taken down due to wear and tear. The plan is to replace the mosaic with another over the next five years. The project is expected to cost around $1.5 million.

Plaintiffs in a more than half-century old desegregation case are asking a federal judge to keep Gardendale, Alabama from establishing its own school system, even though the judge ruled earlier this month they would be allowed to split from Jefferson County schools.

Residents of Sumter County with questions about a proposed charter school can voice their questions tonight.

The Alabama Department of Education is coordinating a public hearing on the proposed new school to be held in Livingston. The University of West Alabama is hoping to open a charter school catering to children from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The proposed school would teach science, math, technology, and art.

Investigators believe the three Alabama mosques broken into in March were robbed by the same man – and that he committed a series of burglaries at mosques across the country earlier this year.

According to the Gadsden Times, detectives say three mosques in Alabama, two in Arizona and one in Virginia were broken into earlier this year.

matt searles [Flickr]

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that handling unwanted pet animals costs as much as $1 billion annually in the U.S.  But the greatest cost is loss of life.  Statistics show that only three of the seven cute puppies in this picture would make it out of an animal shelter alive.  Spaying and Neutering would prevent this tragedy.

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 Alabama lawmakers have given final approval to new legislative districts.

The Alabama Senate voted 21-8 to approve the redistricting legislation. It now goes to Governor Kay Ivey for her signature.

Druid City Garden Project

Parents in the Tuscaloosa area got to pick up some healthy produce while picking their kids up from school this week.

Students at several elementary schools opened “farm stands” in their schools’ carpool lines to sell all sorts of veggies grown at the schools. It’s all part of the Druid City Garden Project. That’s a nonprofit organization that helps run teaching gardens at ten Tuscaloosa elementary schools.

An Alabama bill requiring some insurers to cover autism treatment for children is set to become law.

The state House of Representatives voted unanimously yesterday morning to go along with Senate changes and send the bill to the governor. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey's press office has indicated she will sign the bill later this morning unless a legal review finds problems.

The mandate applies to employers with 51 or more employees.

An Alabama county's judges, sheriff and circuit clerk have been sued for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of people charged with misdemeanors and felonies by jailing them if they can't afford to pay bail.

 The lawsuit notes that those who face the same charges but can afford the bail amounts are freed until trial.

Lawmakers in both chambers of Alabama’s legislature have approved an education budget. Now it’s just waiting on Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s signature to go into effect for the upcoming fiscal year.

Lawmakers gave final approval to the $6.4 billion education trust fund early this morning. The budget will keep Alabama’s schools mostly funded at the same levels as this past year, but it does provide for some increases for K-12 schools and other programs.

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward says his prison construction bill is dead for this year’s legislative session.

Ward made the pronouncement yesterday. He says the bill already had heavy opposition in the House and was wounded further by tensions over redistricting and other issues in the final days of the session. Ward says opposed lawmakers had threatened to filibuster the bill.

Republicans are pushing toward a redistricting vote over the objections of House Democrats as Alabama lawmakers burned plenty of midnight oil last night.

The House of Representatives met until nearly 4 a.m. this morning. Representatives will resume debate later this morning after lawmakers get a few hours of sleep.

Republicans have the votes to approve the proposed new legislative district lines. But black lawmakers in the House are once again using delaying tactics to protest the plan. They argue the new districts diminish the influence of black voters statewide.

Greg Griffin
Mickey Welsh / Montgomery Advertiser

A white Alabama police officer charged with killing a black man last year is now asking the black judge currently hearing the case to step aside.

Attorneys for Aaron Smith are asking Montgomery County Circuit Judge Greg Griffin to recuse himself from Smith’s case based on a Facebook post he reportedly wrote shortly after the shooting. WSFA reports the motion includes a copy of a post in which Griffin writes he was stopped by Montgomery police because he was black and walking down a street.

The Alabama Senate has voted in favor of a bill that would require insurers to cover autism therapy but only until the child turns 18.

Senators voted 33-1 Tuesday to mandate the coverage of applied behavioral analysis, an intensive therapy for those with autism.

The House approved the bill unanimously earlier this session. The bill now heads back to the House, where Representatives will decide whether to go along with Senate changes to the bill.

The Alabama House of Representatives approved a plan gto shorten death penalty appeals. Representatives voted seventy four to twenty six in favor of a bill that would pattern Alabama's process after the one used in Texas. It requires inmates to raise claims such as ineffective counsel at the same time as appeals claiming trial errors. Currently, inmates appeal trial errors first and then raise other issues. Senator Cam Ward is sponsoring the measure. He says it should drop the appeals time from about eighteen years to nine.

A new proposal from the Mobile mayor's office would decriminalize several minor offenses, including the possession of marijuana for personal use.

Local news outlets report Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson's proposed ordinance will be introduced at today’s city council meeting. Under the code change, police would issue an Alabama Uniform Non-Traffic Citation and Complaint in the event of such an offense, which typically carries a $100 fine and court costs.

A stabbing inside an Alabama state prison has left one inmate dead and a second injured.

Correctional officials say 34-year-old Jamie Marcus Witherspoon was fatally stabbed yesterday morning at the state prison in the Bibb County town of Brent. A second man was injured and is being treated in the prison infirmary.

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