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.

ourcampaigns.com

Anthony "Alann" Johnson is leading the race to become the Democratic nominee for House District 53 in Birmingham.

Al.com reports that Johnson pulled away from attorney Arthur Shores Lee as the final boxes were counted in the Democratic runoff.

With 23 of 24 precincts reporting Tuesday night, Johnson had 297 votes, or 56 percent of the vote, to Lee's 236 votes, or 44 percent.

margiewilcox.com

Republican Margie Wilcox has easily won the Alabama House District 104 special general election in Mobile County. Unofficial election returns show Wilcox defeated Democrat Stephen Carr with 2,931 votes, or 91 percent, to 307 votes, or 9 percent. The district in western Mobile County leans heavily Republican. Wilcox is the owner of Yellow Cab of Mobile. She will take her seat in the Alabama Legislature later this week. The seat was vacant after Rep. Jim Barton resigned in August to join a Montgomery lobbying firm.

holmes4house.com

The former chairman of the Elmore County Republican Executive Committee, Mike Holmes, has won the Republican runoff in Alabama House District 31 and will be joining the Legislature. Holmes pulled 2,028 votes, or 57 percent, in the special election Tuesday against Wetumpka car dealer Jimmy Collier, who got 1,550 votes, or 43 percent. The winner faced no Democratic opposition in the heavily Republican district, which covers parts of Elmore and Coosa counties in central Alabama.

istockphoto

Voters in four Alabama counties are going to the polls to fill three vacancies in the Alabama House of Representatives. House District 31 in Elmore and Coosa counties is having a Republican runoff between Mike Holmes and Jimmy Collier. The winner has no Democratic opposition. Voters in part of Jefferson County are choosing between Anthony "Alan" Johnson and Arthur Shores Lee in the Democratic runoff for House District 53. The winner faces Republican Willie "W.A." Casey in March.

The Associated Press

Alabama legislators are returning to Montgomery after last week's meeting schedule got interrupted by the winter storm. Both the Senate and the House get back to work Tuesday afternoon. Alabama Senate leaders hope to vote on a proposal to ban legislators from becoming lobbyists for two years after they leave office. A loophole in current law allows lawmakers to resign and immediately lobby the chamber opposite where they served. Some Republicans are pushing the bill after several GOP lawmakers resigned last year.

legislature.state.al.us

Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale won't seek another term in the Alabama Legislature. Beason issued a statement Friday saying it's time to end his time at the Statehouse. He was first elected to the Alabama Legislature in 1998. Beason was behind Alabama's sweeping immigration bill, considered the toughest in the nation before it was largely gutted by the courts. The lawmaker also the sponsor of Alabama gun legislation last year. The bill pitted the National Rifle Association against business groups over the issue of guns in workplace parking lots.

mike-roger.house.gov

An Alabama gay and lesbian advocacy organization and the state association of realtors are blasting an Alabama congressman for making statements they consider inappropriate and offensive.

Boosted by a drop in the city's murder rate and an endorsement from President Barack Obama, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu won a landslide victory Saturday in his bid for a second term.

"The results tonight confirm what we hoped was true four years ago: that the people of this great city are ready to move forward," Landrieu told is supporters in a victory speech.

Landrieu had 64 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting in Saturday's election.

NPR

Gov. Robert Bentley says people shouldn't be playing the blame game for the epic ice storm that caught Birmingham off guard, stranding motorists on interstates and students in schools. Bentley said Thursday schools and emergency officials made plans off forecasts that predicted the worst of the weather would hit about 100 miles south of Alabama's largest city. The state moved resources south to prepare for snow in Montgomery and ice in lower Alabama. The governor says there was little warning before the swift-moving storm slapped Jefferson and Shelby counties.

Associated Press

Thousands of Alabama school kids are getting another day off from class because of the winter storm.

School systems throughout central Alabama are taking Friday off because of lingering icy spots on roads. That includes all schools around Birmingham, the state's most populous area.

Much of the snow and ice melted Thursday as temperatures rose above freezing. But many county roads and side streets still have slick spots, and freezing temperatures overnight made them worse.

selma-al.gov

A Selma City Council member is proposing a temporary ban on new businesses that sell alcohol. Councilman Cecil Williamson says the west Alabama city doesn't need any more of what he calls "liquor establishments." So Williamson is proposing a six-month moratorium on city licenses for some new businesses. The Selma Times-Journal (http://bit.ly/1i3zu0Z ) reports the ban could include liquor stores, bars and convenience stores. Williamson says he wants to research the number of such businesses that other, similarly sized cities have.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is opening a new medical program in Montgomery. The UAB Montgomery Regional Medical Campus opens Tuesday at Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery. The center will train medical students in areas including family medicine, surgery and pediatrics. Six third-year medical students will be accepted starting in May, and more will arrive next year. The Montgomery campus joins existing regional campuses in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, plus the main UAB campus in Birmingham.

Associated Press

A winter storm could bring more than 2 inches of snow and sleet to parts of central Alabama early this week. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for much of central and southern Alabama starting Tuesday morning. Forecasters say areas likely to see the most accumulation are those south of Interstate 85 and U.S. 80. The Weather Service says more than 2 inches of snow and sleet are possible in cities including Montgomery, Auburn, Tuskegee and Selma. The heaviest snowfall is expected from noon Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday.

The Associated Press

A potential propane gas shortage linked to recent severe winter weather has prompted Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency.

Bentley said Thursday that declaring a state of emergency "will help Alabamians have an uninterrupted supply of propane gas and other home heating fuels during this period of winter weather."

The Associated Press

A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Thursday, the sixth meeting day of the regular session: HOUSE: —Approved a bill to end the Alabama Health Insurance Program for high-risk people who have trouble getting health insurance because the new federal health care law provides coverage. Goes to Senate. —Approved a bill to create the Fair Ballot Commission, which would issue statements on what would happen if people vote for or against a proposed constitutional amendment. Goes to Senate.

legislature.state.al.us

The Alabama House has approved a bill to give adoptive parents a $1,000 tax credit to make it financially feasible for more people to adopt. The House approved the bill 72-23 Wednesday, and it now goes to the Senate for consideration. The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Paul Lee of Dothan, is an adoptive parent. He says the income tax credit would apply to a private intrastate adoption and the adoption of an Alabama foster child where both the birth mother and the adoptive parents are from Alabama.

legislature.state.al.us

The state representative who sponsored the Alabama Accountability Act has decided not to run again for the Legislature. Republican Rep. Chad Fincher of Semmes announced Wednesday that he will not seek a third term this year. Fincher told al.com that he will focus on his new role as executive director of the Mobile Area Association of Realtors, which he began in November. Last year, Fincher sponsored the Alabama Accountability Act, which gave tax credits to parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools.

A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Wednesday, the fifth meeting day of the regular session:

HOUSE:

—Approved a $1,000 tax credit for Alabamians who adopt a child from Alabama. Goes to Senate.

—Approved a bill clarifying that the state's sovereign immunity from lawsuits applies to teachers and state employees when they are carrying out their official duties. Goes to Senate.

SENATE:

—Approved the governor's appointees to some state boards.

Associated Press

Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford says he's looking at running for higher office to make sure black voters turn out for the November general election. Ford said that he is considering running for the state Senate seat held by Democrat Billy Beasley of Clayton if Beasley runs for governor. If Beasley runs for re-election, Ford says he will consider running for secretary of state. Ford says he's afraid that many black voters will not participate in the general election if there are not black Democrats running for office.

The Associated Press

A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Tuesday, the fourth meeting day of the regular session:

HOUSE

—Passed a bill to make it a crime for a state or local tax official to audit a group because of its political views. Goes to Senate.

—Passed a bill to allow health care workers to decline to participate in an abortion, sterilization, cloning or human stem cell research if they have moral, religious or ethical objections. Goes to Senate.

SENATE

A Georgia-based company is adding 100 jobs on the Alabama coast. Rural Sourcing Inc. of Atlanta says it's opening a new software development center in Mobile. The operation will open on Feb. 1 in a temporary location in downtown Mobile while the company looks for a permanent home in the port city. Rural Sourcing Inc. aims to provide a cost-effective way for companies to develop software in the United States rather than sending the work overseas to countries like China or India. The company already has software centers in Augusta, Ga., and Jonesboro, Ark.

Halliburton Manager to be Sentenced

Jan 21, 2014
money.cnn.com

A former Halliburton manager faces a possible prison term when a federal judge sentences him for destroying evidence in the aftermath of BP's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Anthony Badalamenti is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey in New Orleans. Badalamenti pleaded guilty in October to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence and faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Frigid Cold Returns

Jan 21, 2014

Another blast of arctic air is expected to move into the state, bringing temperatures as low as 10 degrees to parts of northern Alabama and high winds across most of the state. By early Friday morning, low temperatures are expected to drop to around 10 degrees in the Florence, Gadsden and Huntsville areas. Temperatures early Friday morning in Birmingham are expected to drop to 15 degrees. High winds are expected to accompany the bitterly cold temperatures. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for most of the state.

alabamachambers.org

Tuscaloosa is renewing a $175,000 contract that essentially outsources the city's economic development efforts to the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. The Tuscaloosa News reports the City Council voted unanimously last week to let the Chamber be its chief job recruiting agency for a second year. Chamber President and CEO Jim Page says the first year was a success, with about 30 business projects in the works for a total community investment of $127 million.

Rivers A. Langley / Wikimedia Commons

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Department of Corrections officials and Gov. Robert Bentley's office say they had been working to improve conditions at Julia Tutwiler Prison before a federal investigation found evidence of inmates being sexually abused. A report from the U.S. Department of Justice late last week said instances of sexual abuse at the hands of prison staff and others may have been underreported for nearly 20 years. Federal officials visited the prison last April and recently sent their findings to Bentley in a 36-page letter, saying prisoners there fear for their safety.

The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's public employees need not be in any rush to plan how they are going to spend the pay raises recommended by Gov. Robert Bentley. Legislative leaders say they don't see any money to give a cost-of-living raise for state employees and finding the money for education employees will be tough. Bentley proposed a 2 percent raise for education employees in the 2014-2015 school year. He recommended a 4 percent raise for employees of state agencies, but it's conditioned on the state taking in more revenue than expected.

University of Wisconsin

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge has backed the Feb. 7 deadline for major party candidates to qualify for Alabama's election. Secretary of State Jim Bennett said Friday that a judge approved the date as part of a lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Justice filed against Alabama to make sure military personnel and other U.S. citizens living overseas would have enough time to cast their ballots. The lawsuit led to an agreement to move up the qualifying deadline for Republican and Democratic candidates. The qualifying period was originally supposed to end on April 4.

Vanderbilt University

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's school board has recommended 11 social studies textbooks, effectively dismissing complaints from critics who said the texts favored Islam over other religions. Department of Education spokeswoman Erica Pippins said the board voted to recommend the books with a 5-2 vote on Friday. The vote is only a recommendation. Local school districts still get to decide which texts their students will read.

Sorority Member Honored for Stand on Segregation

Jan 18, 2014
Michelle Lepianka Carter / AP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A University of Alabama sorority member who spoke out against segregation among Greek organizations on campus has been honored at a banquet celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.  Al.com reports that Melanie Gotz was recognized Friday night at the awards ceremony sponsored by local colleges and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Gotz made headlines last year when she told the university's student newspaper how alumnae of her all-white sorority had blocked undergraduates from accepting a qualified prospective member because she was black.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Thursday, the third meeting day of the regular session:

HOUSE:

—Approved a bill to create an independent agency to oversee taxpayer disputes. Goes to Senate.

—Passed a bill to raise the threshold where small businesses have to make estimated sales tax payments. Goes to Senate.

—Approved a bill to set a $10,000 threshold for firms to file itemized statements when they pay taxes on movable property. Goes to Senate.

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