Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

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.

 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.

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.

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.

A conference committee will decide what to do with an Alabama bill that would prevent Confederate monuments from being taken down. 

The group of will try to resolve House and Senate differences in the bill that would prohibit the removal of any historic marker or monument.

The House of Representatives on Thursday appointed conference committee members so the panel can meet in the final week of the legislative session.

The bill comes as some Southern cities consider taking down Confederate monuments.

Finalists have been named for a literary award named for the late Alabama author Harper Lee. 

The University of Alabama law school and the American Bar Association Journal have named three books that are being considered for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

The annual award is given to a work of fiction that shows the role of attorneys in society and their power to bring about change.

The finalists are: "Gone Again" by James Grippando; "Small Great Things" by Jodi Picoult; and "The Last Days of Night" by Graham Moore.

A prison construction plan is headed to a key vote in committee.    The House Judiciary Committee will vote Tuesday on the proposal to build, or lease, up to four prisons in the state.  

 Senator Cam Ward, the bill's sponsor, said the vote is "do or die" for the legislation as lawmakers head into the final week of the legislative session.

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.

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.

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.

The Alabama Senate has approved new legislative districts over the objections of black Democrats who said the plan was gerrymandered to maintain GOP control of the state's largest county. 

Senators on Thursday approved the new districts in a 25-7 party line vote after Democrats used procedural tactics to delay a vote for several hours.

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 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.

Senators are asking a budget committee to vote this week on an autism bill that would require insurers to pay for an intensive therapy.

Senator Dick Brewbaker of Pike Road said Tuesday that 26 of 35 senators signed a petition asked for a committee vote this week instead of waiting. Brewbaker says the bill deserves a vote because the legislative clock is rapidly winding down

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.

Legislation that would require health insurers to cover an intensive autism therapy has stalled in the state Senate after passing the House of Representatives unanimously.

The House on April 20 voted 100-0 to mandate coverage of applied behavioral analysis therapy, also called ABA therapy. However, the bill was not assigned to a Senate committee until a week later and the committee chairman said it will be another week before the bill has a public hearing.

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.

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.

Pages