Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a special session to work on the budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He also wants to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut. The governor has also suggested ending the ability of taxpayers to claim a state income tax deduction when they pay their federal Social Security taxes.

Tuscaloosa Representative Bill Poole says he is not optimistic the legislature will draft a budget in this special session.

Alabama's rural hospitals in critical condition

Aug 2, 2015

Eight rural hospitals have closed in Alabama over the last 15 years and more closures are possible as rural hospitals struggle to stay open.

Voters in Randolph County will go to the polls Tuesday on a proposed one-cent sales tax to try to keep the doors of Wedowee Hospital open. The money will be used to support a bond issue to build a new facility that administrators hope will attract more patients.

A historic marker has been placed at the Alabama house where singer Nat "King" Cole was born.

Local media report the marker was unveiled Friday at the Montgomery home where Cole was born in 1919. It was placed by Alabama State University officials and the Nat King Cole Society.

The home has been moved from its original location and is now located on the Alabama State campus.

Legislators to return to Montgomery for Special Session

Aug 2, 2015

Alabama legislators return to Montgomery on Monday looking for something that eluded them for the last five months: agreement.

Legislators are resuming a special session called by Gov. Robert Bentley over a projected shortfall in the general fund budget.

Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve $302 million in taxes, including a tobacco tax increase.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said Senate Republicans have developed their own plan.

Protest marchers in Alabama on Sunday embarked on the second day of their planned 860-mile trek to Washington, D.C., as part of "America's Journey for Justice."

Sponsored by the NAACP, "America's Journey for Justice" is scheduled to cross through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia before reaching Washington, D.C., in mid-September.

The marchers are expected to cross into Georgia around Friday.

American Humane Association

The 2015 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of eight categories: Service Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement Dogs, Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, and Guide/Hearing Dogs.

The Service Dog category includes animals that assist people with disabilities other than sight and hearing. Most have received special training.

The Emerging Hero category honors the partnership that often develops between human and dog. Some of these animals are trained in such areas as detection of diseases such as cancer,  others are just pets who, without any special training, instinctively assist their human companions, and some are overcomers who have triumphed over adversity in an extraordinary way.



Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris says he's retiring on September first.

Morris made the announcement during a news conference this morning. Huntsville city officials say west precinct commander Capt. Mark McMurray will serve as interim police chief.

Morris has served as police chief since April 2012. The announcement comes a day after 48-year-old officer Brett Russell was convicted of federal excessive force and obstruction of justice charges for assaulting a suspect and filing a false report.

NASA Auburn
Auburn University

Auburn University has entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA to explore and advance the applications of additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing.

The act was signed yesterday by Dr. John Mason, Auburn's vice president for research and economic development, along with Patrick Scheuermann, director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

The agreement will allow Auburn students to engage in NASA's missions and opportunities, investigate and develop technologies and share NASA facilities and technical expertise.

Lawyers for a death row inmate say Alabama should be forced to disclose more information about lethal injection procedures. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold reports, they’re concerned about the drugs used in the procedure.

Attorneys for inmate Tommy Arthur in a court filing say the state needs to disclose information including how the drugs are delivered, how inmate consciousness is monitored and the expiration dates of drugs in hand.

The Mobile County Commission is taking steps to protect the area’s primary source of drinking water. APR’s Pat Duggins reports it’s a land purchase around Big Creek Lake…

Mobile County wants to buy 200 acres around the Big Creek Lake watershed. The county has close to $400,000 in grants from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program to pay for the property.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the County the go-ahead to make the purchase earlier this week. The goal is to protect the area around the lake, which is Mobile’s main source of water.

Governor Robert Bentley has released his tax and budget proposals ahead of next week's special session on a budget shortfall.

Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis says the state is at a critical point, and must either make cuts to state services or find new revenue.

The governor is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He is also seeking to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut.

Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell
Matt Teague / Los Angeles Times

Probate judges from across Alabama are meeting in Tuscaloosa today. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold reports they’ll be talking about updates to marriage laws.

A federal judge says he will rule by Friday on a female prisoner's request for an abortion.

U.S. District Abdul Kallon made the comment after hearing arguments yesterday in a lawsuit filed by the woman.

The unnamed prisoner filed suit against Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton seeking a court order that would let her leave jail to travel to Huntsville for the procedure.

A.G. Gaston
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

A new report provides the specific economic impacts of decades of climate change both in Alabama and throughout the United States.

In Alabama, the largest issue is expected to be increased temperature. By 2040, the report estimates that the state will see up to 33 additional days per year above 95 degrees. That would result in a nearly 9% drop in crop yields, a 7.5% jump in energy demand, and nearly 500 additional deaths per year.

Preserving History: The A.G. Gaston Motel

Jul 28, 2015

One of the most hallowed sites of Alabama’s Civil Rights Movement is in danger of vanishing. The A.G. Gaston Motel was a staging point for Martin Luther King Junior, Fred Shuttlesworth and Ralph Abernathy’s equality efforts in Birmingham. A-P-R’s MacKenzie Bates takes a look at the history of the Gaston Motel and the effort to keep this landmark around for future generations…

People who sell alcohol and those who drink it are expected at two public hearings today.

The Alabama Alcohol Beverages Study Commission will convene today in Huntsville and Hoover.

An upcoming sales tax holiday is expected to offer Alabama shoppers savings on back-to-school supplies.

The Alabama Department of Revenue says Alabama's sales tax holiday — when state taxes are dropped from certain items — is scheduled for the weekend of August 7-9.

The holiday will exempt sales taxes from all clothing items priced at less than $100, computers and educational software worth less than $750, school supplies, books and more.

A German auto parts maker has announced plans to build its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Alabama. The Alabama Department of Commerce says Schmidt Maschinenbau GmbH is planning to build its plant in Auburn. Production of engine components is expected to begin in 2016. The plant will make parts for Mercedes-Benz and other German automakers. Governor Robert Bentley says the plant will create fifty jobs and the company is planning to invest roughly $17 million in the plant.

As friends and family mourn the victims of Thursday's theater shooting in Louisiana, investigators are gathering clues on the alleged gunman for Phenix City, Alabama. Police say John Houser booby-trapped his Alabama home to keep anyone from living there after his pending eviction. The new owners found the gas starter tube in the fireplace was twisted out and ignited, the logs removed. Houser had grown into someone better known by neighbors and colleagues as an angry provocateur.

Red Star Rescue Team

Jul 25, 2015
American Humane Association - Facebook

In 1916 the American Humane Association was asked by the US War Department to rescue thousands of horses injured in Europe during World War I.  That effort became Red Star Rescue.  Ninety-nine years later, they are still rescuing animals in all types of situations, from natural disasters to human neglect and cruelty.


Governor Robert Bentley is in West Virginia today.  He’s highlighting the Gulf State Park Project as an innovative strategy for tourism and economic development at the Summer Meeting of the National Governors Association.

Governor Bentley is the vice-chair of NGA’s Economic Development and Commerce Committee.

Bentley presented Alabama’s plans for the Gulf State Park Project and highlighted its benefits for the state’s tourism industry.

Mobile County’s probate court will hear arguments today on whether or not same sex couples can adopt children.

Several Alabama counties have already started approving adoptions for gay couples.

Susan Watson is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. She says if adoptions are approved, it will be one step closer to gaining equality for same sex couples.

A hometown company will design a massive bridge that's being planned across the Mobile River on Alabama's coast.

The state transportation agency says Thompson Engineering will develop plans for a new Interstate 10 bridge across the river. The existing bridge across Mobile Bay will also be widened.

Some work will begin almost immediately while details of the contract are being completed.

The project's goal is to ease traffic snarls that occur regularly in Mobile.

State lawmakers from Mobile and Baldwin Counties are drafting legislation to try and keep a large portion of the BP oil settlement money near Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

The proposed bill would request $500 million of the $1 billion currently destined for the state’s General Fund budget to instead be dedicated to the Gulf region. The projects that legislators would like to see funded in the area are primarily major road construction.

Two more counties issuing Same-Sex Licenses

Jul 22, 2015

Two more Alabama counties say they will issue wedding licenses following the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.

Both Houston and Henry counties have refused to issue any licenses because of gay marriage.

But the Dothan Eagle reports that probate judges in both counties say they will now issue marriage licenses to anyone.

The change came at the end of a 25-day window in which the U.S. Supreme Court could have reconsidered its decision.

Alabama education professionals are attending this week’s MEGA Conference in Mobile.

Over 2000 individuals preregistered for the event including teachers, administrators, and school nurses. The conference provides professional learning opportunities to help educators enhance their job skills. It's also a chance to build skills to work with students in the classroom. The conference runs until Friday at noon.

The Chairman of Alabama’s Senate Judiciary Committee says a drunken driving charge shouldn’t cost him his job.

State Senator Cam Ward says drinking alcohol and driving was a Huge mistake on his part.

The Alabaster Republican doesn’t believe he should quit either his senate seat or his industrial job with the city.  The reason is, Ward says he wasn’t working when he was stopped by police.

A Senate leader said earlier that he doesn't plan to strip Ward of the committee chairmanship.


Members of the University of Alabama's Office of Archaeological Research are in the middle of a project to rehabilitate a collection of tens of thousands of artifacts first gathered in Alabama during the 1930s and 1940s.

The work began in February. It’s a collaborative effort between the Tennessee Valley Authority, which owns the collection, and the university, which is curating it and creating a comprehensive database for the government-owned power company.

“Go Set a Watchman: A Novel”

Author: Harper Lee

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 288

Price: $27.99

This is a book review, a description and evaluation of Harper Lee’s novel “Go Set a Watchman,” read on a Kindle.

With an important book like this I would normally be reading an ARC—Advance Readers Copy—or a review copy, but these were not distributed. This novel had all the publicity it needed and the publishers obviously felt there was nothing to be gained and perhaps something to lose by letting reviewers see it.

The city of Anniston may be the latest community to remove the Confederate battle flag.

The City Council is set to vote on whether the stars and bars should be banned from all city owned property. After a work session last week, some council members felt banning the controversial battle flag would have a positive effect on the city.

Councilman *Seyram Selase says banning the Confederate flag shouldn’t be a debate of heritage or hate.