MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's largest insurer now offers family coverage to legally married gay couples in order to comply with a federal rule that insurance companies must treat married couples the same, regardless of sexual orientation. A spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama said the company began offering same-sex spousal coverage for underwritten plans in early 2014 in response to federal regulations.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The inaugural class for the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame has been selected. The Tuscaloosa News reports 12 writers have been selected and will be inducted in June 2015. The hall of fame is a partnership between the Alabama Center for the Book and the Alabama Writer's Forum. The 12 writers selected are: Rick Bragg, Andrew Glaze, Harper Lee, Sonia Sanchez, Sena Jeter Naslund and posthumous inductees Johnson Jones Hooper, Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, Helen Keller, Zora Neal Hurston, William March, Albert Murray and Helen Norris Bell.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — In 2015, Gov. Robert Bentley will propose Alabama's first major revenue-raising package since voters defeated Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax package in 2003. Since that defeat, Alabama's General Fund budget has been patched together with borrowed money, federal stimulus funds and other non-recurring revenue. Bentley says he's working a bold, long-term solution that he will have ready for the new Legislature when it convenes in March.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston is not a finalist for this year's award. When the Heisman trust announced Monday the finalists, the Florida State quarterback's name was not called. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper are the candidates heading to New York. So Winston will not join former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only players to win the Heisman Trophy twice. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and Winston were not made available for comment after the announcement.
ATLANTA (AP) — Blake Sims threw a pair of touchdown passes, T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry each had a couple of touchdown runs, and top-ranked Alabama pulled away in the fourth quarter to win its 24th Southeastern Conference championship with a 42-13 victory over No. 14 Missouri on Saturday. Missouri made it a one-score game in the third quarter, but Alabama (12-1) scored three touchdowns in the fourth to lock up its spot in college football's first playoff.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Amari Cooper tied his own school record with 224 yards receiving and caught three touchdown passes in No. 2 Alabama's 55-44 comeback victory over No. 15 Auburn on Saturday night in the highest-scoring Iron Bowl. Quarterback Blake Sims and the Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) turned to the Heisman Trophy candidate for touchdowns of 39 and 75 yards in the third quarter. Alabama had already clinched a spot in the SEC championship game against No.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The chaos of Black Friday appears to have come on Thursday. From Huntsville to Mobile, bargain hunters lined up hours ahead of Thanksgiving night openings in search of deep discounts on flat-screen televisions, computers and toys. Some shoppers said they even began camping out Wednesday night to make sure they were among the first in the stores. That left thinner crowds Friday morning and a quieter shopping experience on what has traditionally been the busiest shopping day of the year.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Robert Bentley said he wants to be upfront with voters. The state is facing a budget crisis and fixing it the right way will require changes that some people probably won't like. "It's going to require more revenue. Is everyone going to be happy? No, they're not" Bentley said. The governor said taxes are a last resort, but he believed the state would reexamine current tax deductions. That includes a tax break that only Alabama and a few other states give.
Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to 6.3 percent, but it remains above the national average.
Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that Alabama's rate declined from 6.6 percent in September to 6.3 percent in October. That's the same rate Alabama recorded a year ago. The October rate is higher than the national figure of 5.8 percent.
Bentley says Alabama is seeing healthy growth in jobs and is seeing a decline in the amount of unemployment benefits being paid.
Gov. Robert Bentley wants Alabama colleges to identify students or instructors returning from Ebola-ravaged countries in West Africa.
Bentley wrote in a letter to college officials that students and instructors from West Africa may return home for the holidays to visit family and friends.
The governor asked that schools provide the names of anyone planning travel to West Africa, their contact information and return dates. The Decatur Daily reports state public health officials should be notified when travelers return to Alabama.
A federal appeals board has upheld the firing of the former director of the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System.
The Veterans Administration terminated James Talton in late October for neglect of duty. He appealed to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. The board has issued a 32-page decision upholding the termination.
Federal labor officials have issued 12 citations to a coastal Alabama shipbuilding company and are proposing that it pay a $41,500 fine.
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials said Wednesday that among the nine serious violations the Austal USA ship building company has been cited for is failing to install railings on all staircases, allowing workers to be overexposed to copper fumes during welding and failing to ensure that employees follow safety procedures.