Alex AuBuchon

News Host / Reporter

Alex AuBuchon is APR’s Morning Edition host and also writes news and feature stories. He got his start in nonprofit radio at the University of Tennessee’s venerable WUTK-FM.

AuBuchon started as a student DJ before quickly falling in with the news team. He spent a semester on the news staff and then a year as News Director, delivering live newscasts and teaching broadcast workshops to undergraduate journalism students.

AuBuchon then switched over to commercial radio, taking a job as Operations Manager and Assistant News Director for a group of four radio stations in his hometown of Paris, Tennessee. He scheduled traffic and automation breaks and did administrative work for four stations during the week, and delivered newscasts and maintained a popular news website on the weekends.

Alex crossed back over to public radio in January 2015, moving to Alabama to wake up early and give listeners the news they need to get ready for the day.

Water quality activists are weighing the benefits of a partial court settlement over water quality in the Decatur area this week. 

U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon issued the verdict authorizing a $5 million payment from chemical manufacturer Daikin America. It’s related to ongoing litigation over perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, that were manufactured around Decatur for years before they were outlawed in the U.S.

The settlement is expected to be used to set up a temporary filtration system for drinking water from the Tennessee River.

The Alabama House of Representatives has finally approved new legislative districts for the state – after house Democrats delayed a vote by having the bill read aloud for sixteen hours.

Representatives approved the districts yesterday on a 70-30, strictly party-line vote.

Back in January, federal judges ordered the GOP-controlled Legislature to redraw lines before next year’s election after ruling some districts were gerrymandered by race.

A bill requiring insurance companies in the state to pay for autism therapy has passed the Senate budget committee. But the committee chairman is threatening not to advance the bill, as he continues negotiations.

The superintendent of Selma’s city school system has been placed on administrative leave for reportedly violating her contract.

The Selma Times-Journal reports Angela Mangum was suspended earlier this week after failing to notify Selma’s school board she was pursuing other employment opportunities.

Alabama House Democrats used a procedural maneuver last night to delay a vote on new legislative districts that they argue fail to correct race-based gerrymandering in the state.

Republicans hold a wide majority in both chambers of state Legislature and have the numbers to approve the new map. But Democrats delayed a vote until Thursday by asking for the 539-page redistricting bill to be read aloud, a process that is estimated to take 13 hours.

The Senate Leadership Fund is planning a $2.6 million television ad buy on behalf of Senator Luther Strange as the group seeks to ward off challengers for the Senate seat previously held by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The super political action committee, with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced the buy yesterday in a show of fiscal force leading up to the Aug. 15 Republican primary.

Senate Leadership Fund spokesman Chris Pack said the buy is just a fraction of what the group plans on spending to support Strange.

A circuit judge has ruled that parts of Alabama’s Workman’s Compensation Act are unconstitutional – meaning the whole act is unconstitutional, because of a non-severability statute.

The Gadsden Times reports Jefferson County Circuit Judge Pat Ballard found fault with statutes capping recovery for workers permanently but not totally disabled at $220 per week, and capping attorney’s fees at 15 percent.

Emergency managers in Alabama are gearing up for the beginning of hurricane season next month.

The state of Alabama will hold its annual hurricane drill today. State officials including Governor Kay Ivey will gather in Clanton for the procedure.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency holds the exercise each year to practice its procedures and to ensure coordination between various local, state and federal agencies.

Law officers and school officials will be meeting in Hoover today to try to make schools safer.

The non-profit National Association of School Resource Officers is holding its first-ever national leadership summit. The conference is meant to teach lawmen and educators how to pick the best police officers to work on school campuses. NASRO says veteran officers with no disciplinary problems tend to be the best candidates.

Authorities say dozens of athletes and coaches from across the South have fallen ill at a college baseball tournament in Alabama, and the cause is -- as of now -- a mystery.

The Alabama Department of Public Health said people affected by the outbreak are from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

WSFA-TV reports the athletes and coaches were competing in the Southern States Athletic Conference championship tournament in Montgomery when they became ill.

State senators approved a general fund budget last night after a long and at times contentious debate.

The budget passed the Senate 23 to 4. The House of Representatives had previously approved the $1.8 billion spending plan, but the bill will now head back to the house to decide whether representatives will go along with mostly minor Senate changes.

Alabama’s education budget has passed the state House.

The House of Representatives unanimously approved the $6.4 billion budget proposal yesterday.

Tuscaloosa Rep. Bill Poole says the budget will keep state schools mostly funded at the same levels as last year but provides some increases for K-12 schools. It also sets aside money to hire more than 150 more teachers in fourth through sixth grades.

The proposal now heads back to the Senate, where it was previously stalled by a legislator who argued that more money should be spent on grade schools.

The nursing industry nationwide is booming, with lucrative careers, low unemployment and plenty of jobs available. But in Alabama, the outlook is a little less rosy.

The personal finance website WalletHub recently ranked the best and worst states in the country for nurses, and Alabama wound up in the bottom five. Some of the factors considered were nurses’ average salaries, the quality of public hospitals and the average number of hours worked per week.

Lawmakers in both chambers of Alabama’s legislature are debating changes to payday loans in the state.

Dueling bills in both the House and the Senate each aim to reform short-term lending in Alabama, but they go about it in different ways.

The race to more permanently fill the U.S. Senate Seat formerly held by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions is heating up. But one potential candidate is complaining that GOP officials are treating appointee Luther Strange as an incumbent, and discouraging challengers from running against him.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill
legislature.state.al.us

Alabama's secretary of state says nearly 100 political candidates and donation groups have broken state campaign finance rules.

Yesterday, Secretary John Merrill publicly released the names of all the candidates and political action committees that failed to disclose donations by this year's January cutoff date. He says the release is intended to compel the offending PACs and candidates to file financial records of campaign contributions they either received or spent in 2016.

day without immigrants
NBC News

The Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice is inviting those in Mobile to join a nationwide Day Without Immigrants.

The group is holding a vigil this evening at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mobile. Organizers say it will be one of many events held in more than 200 cities nationwide. The ACIJ says the event is about “resisting and defeating the federal administration’s attacks on immigrant families natonwide.”

NeighborWorks Wants to Get Rural AL Working

May 1, 2017

A new report details ways rural communities can work to get their citizens back in the workforce.

According to the report by NeighborWorks America released last week, employment in rural areas is still below 2007 two thousand seven levels. Decreases in industries like mining and small farming have largely contributed to poverty in rural areas.

The report details ways for non-profits, governments, and philanthropic organizations to help build rural economies. They include more access to consumer banking , small business lending, and internet in rural areas.

Black lawmakers in the Alabama Legislature are criticizing new district lines that are being drawn after a federal court ruled that Republicans relied too heavily on race last time.

Rep John Knight, a Montgomery Democrat, says the new proposal is unacceptable. Back in January, federal judges ordered Alabama lawmakers to redistrict after ruling that 12 districts in the state were gerrymandered.

Those receiving Medicare coverage in Alabama could see their benefits cut soon.

A federally-appointed oversight committee called the Independent Payment Advisory Board is tasked with reducing Medicare spending. The board is due to release a report, possibly by April 30, that could result in over $1 billion in Medicare cuts nationally.

Mary Grealy is the President and CEO of the Healthcare Leadership Council. She says there are over a million Medicare beneficiaries at risk in Alabama, but the biggest impact could be on the state’s doctors.

Alabama Confederate Monument
Wikimedia

State lawmakers are approaching a decision on whether to prevent changes to long-standing monuments in the state, including Confederate memorials.

The state House of Representatives is scheduled to vote later today on a bill that would forbid any alterations or removal of markers that have stood for more than 20 years.

Gov. Kay Ivey could sign the legislation into law if the House passes it. A spokeswoman says Ivey’s office will review the bill if it is approved.

Alabama officials are forming a task force to address concerns about private information about crime victims inappropriately posted to a state website for court records.

The task force as well as other steps are reportedly being taken after a review of Alacourt.com by The Associated Press found the names, home addresses, telephone numbers and other information of rape victims and children who have been molested publicly available on the state-run website.

State officials say they're also adding a feature to the website designed to keep that sensitive information private.

Mental health care in correctional facilities was the subject of a talk in Tuscaloosa yesterday.

Dr. Marisa Giggie, the chief psychiatrist for the Tuscaloosa County Jail, held the panel discussion alongside Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy and Circuit Court Judge Bradley Almond. They talked through the challenges in caring for a growing number of mentally ill inmates in correctional facilities, and new ideas to try and keep those with mental illnesses out of jail in the first place.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

State lawmakers gave their final approval yesterday to a bill protecting faith-based adoption agencies that refuse to place children with gay parents, or in certain other households, due to their religious beliefs.

The bill would prohibit the state from refusing to license or do business with faith-based adoption groups that refuse placements on religious grounds. Supporters argue the measure is needed to make sure the groups can reasonably operate. Critics, such as the state’s only openly gay lawmaker, Rep. Patricia Todd, say it’s blatant discrimination.

Alabama education officials are investigating a series of mistakes after publicly releasing incorrect information about state graduation rates.

Some local superintendents complained that graduation rates posted to the state's website late last week were too low. The Alabama Department of Education acknowledged the error in a statement released yesterday.

The United States Supreme Court will not reconsider the appeal of an Alabama death row inmate scheduled to be executed next month.

Yesterday, Supreme Court justices refused the rehearing request by Tommy Arthur, who has had seven execution dates postponed so far.

Another challenger has announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by former Attorney General Luther Strange.

Dr. Randy Brinson, a Montgomery gastroenterologist and chairman of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, announced Monday he is running to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions' former Senate seat.

Brinson is the founder of Redeem The Vote, a group aimed at getting young evangelical Christians involved in politics. In his announcement, Brinson said voters are frustrated with "corruption, self-dealing and venality of politicians."

A new report says travelers spent more than $13 billion in the state of Alabama last year.

The study was conducted for the state tourism agency by an economist at Auburn University in Montgomery. It says more than 25 million travelers spent a total of $13.4 billion in the state in 2016 on hotels, shopping, transportation and restaurants.

That represents an increase of 5.4 percent from 2015. Tourism Director Lee Sentell says travel spending has doubled in the state over the last 14 years.

Alabama Historical Association Meeting in Auburn

Apr 21, 2017

Alabama is getting the chance to celebrate its state history in Auburn this weekend.

The Alabama Historical Association is holding its 70th annual meeting at Auburn University this weekend. The meeting is open to anyone who shares an interest in Alabama’s history from its founding and through modern times. It will feature papers on Alabama history and tours of historic houses and sites around Auburn University. The meeting will also feature two keynote speakers, whose speeches will be themed around Alabama’s upcoming Bicentennial and the state’s history during World War One.

The state House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that would mandate insurance coverage for autism therapy.

Representatives voted 100-0 in favor of the bill yesterday. It now moves to the Alabama Senate. The bill mandates coverage of an autism treatment called applied behavioral analysis therapy. The Autism Society of Alabama says Alabama is one of only five states that does not require the coverage. Parents whose children have autism and have received the therapy have called it “life-changing”, but it’s also very expensive.

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