Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Senate has approved Governor Riley's four appointees to the Alabama State Port Authority. The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to confirm former shipping executive Bill Bru of Daphne, former Mobile Congressman Sonny Callahan, Birmingham businessman Barry Morton and Tuscaloosa educator Michael Fields. The authority oversees the state docks in Mobile.
Montgomery, AL – The Alabama House did take a short break Thursday to sing "Happy Birthday" to a veteran lawmaker who's being treated for leukemia. Tallassee Representative Jack Venable turns 66 Friday. Venable thanked his fellow lawmakers for remembering and recognizing his birthday. He says that when he found out he had leukemia last September he didn't know if he would make it through another year. Venable is the chair of the House Rules Committee.
Montgomery, AL – Members of the Alabama Federation of Democratic Women joined Bessemer Representative Priscilla Dunn Wednesday to push for passage of a bill. The legislation would allow judges to require some drivers who had been convicted of driving under the influence to only drive vehicles equipped with a device that could determine if the driver had been drinking. The device is similar to a "breathalizer," and Dunn says it would give drunk drivers an obstacle that would prevent them from drinking and driving.
Athens, AL – The first shipment of commercial reactor fuel made from the government's stockpile of weapons-grade uranium has arrived at a Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear station in North Alabama. The shipment will be ready for loading this Spring at the Browns Ferry station near Athens. The delivery comes more than seven years after TVA struck a deal with the Department of Energy to put surplus Cold War weapons material to use generating electricity for TVA's residential and business customers.
Montgomery, AL – The House Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved a bill that would revise the state's open meetings law. The proposal specifies which meetings must be open to the public and how much notice must be given before meetings. It also would require meetings of committees and subcommittees to be open. Representative Blaine Galliher sponsors the bill and says he believes it could could come to the House floor sometime in the next several weeks. The bill has already passed the state Senate.
Geneva, AL – SYSCO Corporation is planning to operate a distribution center in Geneva. SYSCO is based in Texas and is North America's largest food service company. It plans to purchase an existing warehouse, and the operation is expected to create 227 new jobs. It could employ as many as 800. The new company will be named SYSCO Food Services-Gulf Coast and will begin conducting business sometime later this year. The company says it has wanted to extend its food services operations in south Alabama and the northern Gulf Coast.
Washington, DC – In 1998, the Alabama Legislature passed a wide ranging anti-obscenity law that included the sale of sex toys. The U-S Supreme Court declined to review a case concerning that law on Tuesday. Bobby Puppione reports.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a challenge on behalf of merchants and users seeking to overturn the 1998 state law. Sherri Williams owns Pleasures stores in Huntsville and Decatur. She says nothing has changed at her store.