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.

The Alabama House has re-elected indicted Representative Mike Hubbard as speaker.   The newly-elected Alabama Legislature convened Tuesday in Montgomery for its organizational session.

House majority leader Micky Hammon nominated Hubbard for a second four-year term as speaker.   Hubbard was unopposed in his effort to maintain the leadership.  Hammon called Hubbard a man of integrity and honesty.

Polaris Industries is planning a manufacturing plant that will bring as many as 2,000 jobs to north Alabama.  Governor Robert Bentley and other leaders announced the factory during an event in Huntsville on Friday.

The 600,000-square-foot plant will construct off-road vehicles in Limestone County west of Huntsville. Production is slated for 2016.The project adds a new twist to Alabama's growing vehicle industry, which mainly involves automobiles.  

apr.org

 Prosecutors say indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard is making unfounded accusations about investigation leaks in an attempt to distract the public from the criminal charges against him.    In a Monday court filing, prosecutors fired back at misconduct claims by defense lawyers. Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart says no confidential information was disclosed when he had an off-the-record conversation about the case with a radio talk show host.

Birmingham News/ Joe Songer

The Alabama Supreme Court is reviving the state's attempt to keep about $94,000 in cash and hundreds of alleged gambling machines seized from a west Alabama gaming center.

The court on Friday overturned a judge's decision dismissing the state's attempt to confiscate $93,917 and 376 machines from Greenetrack Inc.

State agents seized the money and machines during a raid at Greenetrack on June 1, 2011, and operators went to court trying to get the items returned.

wikipedia.org

 Faculty members at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have drafted a no-confidence resolution against the president following his decision to kill the school's football program.    A document released Thursday accuses UAB President Ray Watts of failing to share governance of the university with faculty members.    The resolution sites a series of moves including the recent decision to disband athletic programs at UAB.    The Faculty Senate is scheduled to vote on the document during a special meeting on Jan. 15.

wikipedia.org

 A federal appeals court has upheld Alabama's ballot access law that was challenged by third-party presidential candidates trying to get their names before voters in 2012.    The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the decision of a trial court dismissing the lawsuit.    Alabama requires third-party candidates to collect signatures equal to 3 percent of the votes cast in the last governor's election in order to be listed on the ballot with their party affiliation.

wikipedia.org

Troy University's new School of Science and Technology just received a one million dollar donation.

   Troy officials say the donation will fund an eminent scholar faculty position beginning in the spring. The money comes from Former U.S. Rep. Terry Everett.   Everett says he's been interested in science and technology since he served in the Air Force and he believes supporting science and technology is vital.

Judge to Decide on Siegelman Case This Week

Dec 15, 2014
wikipedia.org

 A judge says he will decide by the end of the week if former Governor Don Siegelman should be released from prison while appealing his 2006 bribery conviction.    U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land held a hearing Monday in Montgomery. Siegelman was transported to the hearing from a federal prison in Louisiana.    Land said he has to decide the likelihood of Siegelman winning before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals next month. Land questioned the prosecution and defense on whether the original U.S.

www.legislature.state.al.us

 Republican state Representative David Standridge of Hayden has been elected chairman of the Rural Caucus in the Alabama House of Representatives.    Standridge says the bipartisan group works to protect rural communities and make sure that necessary services are available, including roads, medical care and high-speed Internet.    Democratic Representative Johnny Mack Morrow of Red Bay is the group's vice chairman.

wikipedia.org

Governor Robert Bentley is challenging legislators to be leaders as they address the state's budget crisis next year.

  Bentley says he wants to make significant changes instead of putting a Band-Aid on the state's budget for another year.  The governor has said he will suggest solutions when he submits his proposed budget next year, but has not yet detailed what those will be.

 Legislators heard a grim General Fund presentation on the final day of legislative orientation.

wikipedia.org

 The Food and Drug Administration is giving the University of Alabama at Birmingham the green light to study the use of a marijuana derivative to treat seizures.    Parents of children with seizure disorders persuaded the Alabama Legislature last year to pass a bill authorizing UAB's Department of Neurology to do a study of the marijuana derivative cannabidiol as a seizure treatment.    A UAB spokesman said Tuesday that the FDA has approved the study, but has requested modifications. A university review board will discuss the changes next month.

wikipedia.org

Pelicans, once an unusual site in northwest Alabama, have started to show up in greater numbers.

Floyd Sherrod, president of the Shoals Audubon Society, recalls a time about 30 years ago when a single pelican was spotted in the area and residents flocked to see it.

   Now, he said, they've become increasingly common.

   The TimesDaily reports  that fishermen and bird watchers said several of the long-billed birds are frequently seen on the Tennessee River, particularly below Wilson Dam.

noaa.gov

Federal authorities are looking for information on the death of a dolphin that died after being wounded by a hunting arrow.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said in a statement Monday that the attack on a dolphin in coastal Alabama is the second human-related dolphin death in the northern Gulf of Mexico in just over two weeks.

NOAA spokeswoman Kim Amendola says a necropsy shows the dolphin found in Alabama lived with an arrow in its side for at least five days before dying of an infection that was caused by the wound.

wikipedia.org

An Illinois auction house says it is selling the revolver that almost killed former Gov. George Wallace.

www.thealabamaband.com

 The University of Alabama says it's reviewing the use of a popular song at athletic events after students turned it into an obscene chant during the Auburn game.    Athletics director Bill Battle issued a statement Wednesday saying school officials will discuss whether to continue playing "Dixieland Delight."    The song was first released by the band Alabama more than 30 years ago, and the university often plays it over the public address system at football games. Fans sing along and students add chants.    Some of the words are usually vulgar.

The Birmingham News File

The Alabama Supreme Court has heard arguments on the constitutionality of a law that gives low-income families tax credits to pay for private school.

   A lawyer representing individuals challenging the Alabama Accountability Act said Wednesday that it does an end run on Alabama's prohibition of using education funds to support private religious schools.

   However, a lawyer representing families using the credits said it supports parents seeking education opportunities for their children, not private schools.

wikipedia.org

UAB is shutting down the football program. The university announced the decision Tuesday minutes after President Ray Watts met with the Blazers players and coaches. UAB made the decision after a campus-wide study conducted by a consulting firm over the past year. Watts says financial realities "are starker than ever and demand that we take decisive action for the greater good of the athletic department and UAB." He says UAB subsidizes two-thirds of the $30 million annual operating budget.

Airbus

An Airbus assembly line under construction in Mobile is hiring workers.

Al.com reports the firm is seeking maintenance technicians and quality inspectors for the final assembly line. Some of those positions require six to nine months of training.

At least 120 workers in Huntsville could see job losses as work shifts on a new rocket.

Boeing will issue layoff notices Friday to 60 aerospace workers, including 50 based in Huntsville. Al.com  reports another 70 contract employees will be sent back to their own companies for possible layoffs.

hrc.org

Alabama cities rank poorly in an advocacy group's report measuring legal protection and inclusion for gays and lesbians.

The Human Rights Campaign issued a report measuring more than 300 cities for legal protections, city policies and inclusion efforts.

Of the five Alabama cities included in the survey, Birmingham had the highest score at nine points. Montgomery followed with eight points.

Huntsville and Mobile both scored four points. Tuscaloosa had the lowest score at three.

The national average score was 59 points.

uanews.ua.edu

University of Alabama officials say a senior chemical engineering and chemistry student has been chosen to participate in a conference on climate change being hosted by the United Nations.

University officials said in a statement that Catherine King of Huntsville is one of eight students the American Chemical Society selected to attend the UN's conference in Lima, Peru. The event is expected to include representatives from more than 190 countries.

Republicans are sticking by Rep. Mike Hubbard as their choice for House speaker despite his indictment on ethics charges. House Republicans yesterday voted to support Hubbard for another term as speaker of the house. The full House of Representatives will officially select a speaker in January during an organizational session. Hubbard was indicted last month on 23 felony ethics charges. The Auburn Republican has maintained his innocence and says he sees no reason to give up his leadership role.

Vox Efx / Flickr

The turnout for Alabama's election Tuesday was lowest since Alabama became a two-party state. Nearly complete election results indicate that about 41 percent of Alabama's nearly 2.9 million active registered voters participated. The turnout for gubernatorial elections in Alabama had ranged between 51 percent and 58 percent since 1986, when Alabama elected its first Republican governor since Reconstruction.

montgomeryalrealestate.org

Republicans strengthened their grip on the Alabama Statehouse in a Tuesday election sweep that saw House Speaker Mike Hubbard win re-election despite his indictment on felony ethics charges.

The GOP built upon the existing supermajority won in 2010 and increased their numbers in both chambers. Republicans will hold nearly 70 percent of the seats, a formidable number that will allow them to cut off filibusters and push through legislation if they stick together as a caucus.

Tuskegee University is gearing up for an event showcasing electric vehicles, toys and renewable energy for local students and teachers.

University officials say hundreds of children and educators are expected on campus Thursday for Tuskegee University Electric Vehicle Transportation Day.

School officials say the event will also feature guest lectures from Alabama Power Co., the University of Central Florida and the Florida Solar Energy Center.

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Alabama consumers will see more competition when the health insurance marketplace opens Nov. 15 for its second year.

United Healthcare has signed up to offer individual policies in all 67 counties. UHC did not participate the first year. Regulators say Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama will be back in all counties. Humana will again offer policies in Jefferson, Shelby and Madison counties.

Alabama Arise spokesman Jim Carnes says increased competition should be good for consumers.

The enrollment period is Nov. 15 through Feb. 15.

Alabama voters will decide Nov. 4 whether to give new protections to public schools against unfunded mandates enacted by the Legislature.

Amendment Four requires that at least two-thirds of the Legislature must pass a law that causes city and county boards of education to collectively spend more than $50,000 in local funds if the state is not going to pay for the increased expense. Currently, that can be done by a majority vote.

Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images

An Alabama appeals court says a judge can't order child visitation following the split-up of a same-sex couple.

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruled Friday that a Jefferson County judge was wrong to order child visitation for a woman who split up with her partner of 16 years.

The county judge based the decision on an adoption ruling issued in a Georgia case. But the Alabama appeals court says the ruling can't stand because the Georgia court lacked the power to issue such an order.

al.com

A federal investigation found Army officials discriminated against a transgender employee who underwent a sex change while working at an Alabama installation.

The Office of Special Counsel says Tamara Lusardi of Huntsville suffered gender identity discrimination as she transitioned from male to female in 2010.

Lusardi was working as a civilian software quality assurance specialist at the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at the time.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images via npr.org

Apple chief executive and Alabama native Tim Cook is being honored by his home state.

Cook and seven others including University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban are being inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor on Monday. A ceremony will be held at the state Capitol in Montgomery.

Cook is a native of Robertsdale, which is located near the coast in Baldwin County. The Auburn University graduate succeeded Apple founder Steve Jobs as CEO in 2011.

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