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.

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Politics & Government
9:57 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Lawmaker Has a Long History of Incendiary Remarks

Rep. Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery)
legislature.state.al.us

Alabama Rep. Alvin Holmes approached the House floor microphones during a contentious debate on an abortion bill and landed in the national spotlight by saying 99 percent of white lawmakers would want their daughters to have an abortion if pregnant by a black man.

Holmes, who was one of the first blacks elected to Alabama's Legislature, has become known for statements — sometimes outlandish and sometimes funny — during a political career that has spanned 40 years in a conservative Southern state with a long history of civil rights struggles.

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Politics & Government
12:54 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Alabama Voter IDs Available at Mobile Sites

Vox Efx Flickr

The Alabama secretary of state's office is planning to have staff traveling the state starting Monday to provide photo IDs to voters who need them for the upcoming elections.

Secretary of State Jim Bennett says the mobile site visits are in addition to the IDs being available in his Montgomery office and at county boards of registrars.

The visits will take about two months. They begin Monday in Alberta and Waterloo. Tuesday's schedule includes Maplesville, Thorsby and Athens. The tour wraps up May 12 in Hoover.

Politics & Government
3:40 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Revision of Alabama Constitution Stalls

The Associated Press

The Legislature's effort to rewrite the lengthy Alabama Constitution article by article has stalled

A Senate committee delayed action Wednesday on four proposed constitutional amendments that would rewrite four articles of the Constitution. Committee members say the issue is over for now, with only seven meeting days remaining in the 2014 legislative session.

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North Alabama President-Retirement
3:45 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

University of North Ala. President Retiring

University of North Alabama president William G. Cale Jr. is stepping down after more than nine years in the position.
Credit University of North Alabama

The president of the University of North Alabama is retiring.

The school says William G. Cale Jr. is stepping down after more than nine years in the position.

Trustees will discuss the process for finding a replacement during a meeting set for March 17, and the university says Cale will be available to assist during a period of transition.

Cale came to North Alabama from Penn State University-Altoona, where he was the chief executive and dean. He also worked at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

Cale and his wife plan to remain in the Florence area.

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Politics & Government
7:58 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Legislative Overview for Thursday

The Associated Press

A summary of action in the Alabama Legislature on Wednesday, the 21st meeting day of the regular session:

HOUSE:

—Passed a bill to name the queen honey bee as the official state agriculture insect of Alabama. Goes to Senate.

—Passed a bill establishing a new process for grandparents to petition for visitation rights with their grandchildren. Goes to Senate.

SENATE:

—Stalled on a bill to restructure the Birmingham Water Works Board.

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Politics & Government
8:40 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

House Passes Slate of Abortion Measures

Getty Images

—Approved a bill to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Goes to Senate. (see below for more)

—Approved a bill to require women seeking an abortion because of lethal fetal anomalies to be advised about the availability of perinatal hospice services. Goes to Senate.

— Approved a bill to extend the waiting period before abortions from 24 to 48 hours. Goes to Senate. (see below for more)

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Politics & Government
8:30 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Lawmaker Wants Tax Holiday for Guns

Rep. Becky Nordgren (R)
legislature.state.al.us

An Alabama lawmaker is looking to create a sales tax holiday for consumers buying guns and ammunition.

Republican Rep. Becky Nordgren of Gadsden said Monday that she has filed legislation to create an annual state sales tax holiday for gun and ammunition purchases. The firearms tax holiday would occur every weekend prior to the Fourth of July.

Alabama currently has tax holidays for back-to-school shopping and severe weather preparedness.

Politics & Government
3:13 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Education Budget Approved by the Senate

discoveringalabama.org

The Alabama Senate has approved an education budget that would fund a one-time bonus of 1 percent for public school employees and add 250 teachers in middle schools.

The $5.9 billion budget cleared the Senate 21-10 Thursday and now goes to the House.

Gov. Robert Bentley recommended a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for public school employees. Budget committee Chairman Trip Pittman says that's not affordable. Bentley says it is, and he's hopeful it will be restored before the budget reaches his desk.

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Politics & Government
7:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

House Passes General Fund Budget

The Associated Press

The Alabama House of Representatives has approved a $1.8 billion General Fund that offers no additional money for most state agencies. The House approved the bill by an 80-20 vote Wednesday night. It now moves to the Alabama Senate. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, called the budget the best the state could do in a lean year. Some Democrats took to the House microphones saying it was time for the state to consider new revenue sources, such as legalized gambling.

Business & Education
6:47 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

6 Trustees for UA System Approved by Senate

The Alabama Senate has approved six trustees for the University of Alabama System.

The Senate voted unanimously Wednesday for two new trustees, Harris V. Morrissette of Mobile and John D. Johns of Birmingham. The Senate also voted unanimously to approve new terms for existing trustees Joe Espy of Montgomery, Marietta Urquhart of Mobile, Andria Scott Hurst of Birmingham, and Finis St. John IV of Cullman.

Alabama's board of trustees selects its own members subject to approval by the state Senate. The trustees oversee campuses in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville.

Politics & Government
6:33 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Bill Would Allow Loaded Guns in Cars Without Concealed Carry Permit

An Alabama legislator wants to change state law so that people can carry a loaded pistol in their vehicle without a concealed carry permit. Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale said Wednesday that people should not have to pay for their 2nd Amendment right to carry their weapons. Current law allows people to carry their pistol in their vehicle without a permit, but the weapon has to be unloaded, locked away and out of reach. Beason said an unloaded weapon is of no use to the driver. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing Wednesday and will vote next week.

Politics & Government
6:18 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Ala. Senate Approves Drug Testing for Welfare Applicants

The Associated Press

The Alabama Senate has approved drug testing for some welfare applicants.

The Senate voted 24-4 Wednesday to require drug testing for any welfare applicant with a felony or misdemeanor conviction for drug possession or distribution in the last five years.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Trip Pittman of Daphne, says the legislation would give people using drugs an incentive to stop. His bill would cut off benefits to the head of a household after three failed drug tests, but others in the household would continue to get benefits. The bill is set to expire in 2017.

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Politics & Government
11:29 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Candidates from Democratic Family Nixed by GOP

RNC

The son and daughter-in-law of former Democratic House Speaker Tom Drake have lost their bids to run for major Alabama offices as Republicans.

The Alabama Republican Party's Candidate Committee did not grant ballot access to Cullman attorneys Tommy Drake and Kimberly Drake during a Saturday meeting in Montgomery.

Tommy Drake had signed up to run against Republican incumbent Robert Aderholt in the 4th Congressional District. Kimberly Drake was running against Republican incumbent Beth Kellum for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

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Politics & Government
8:53 am
Mon February 24, 2014

State Could Lose Federal Prison Funding

Rivers A. Langley Wikimedia Commons

Alabama may be at risk of losing some of its federal prison funding if it doesn't respond to questions from the U.S. Department of Justice about sexual abuse. 

AL.com reports federal officials sent letters to every governor last week asking if their state is complying with the Prison Rape Elimination Act — a federal law that was enacted in 2003 to crack down on sexual assault against prison inmates.

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Middle East
12:01 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Taliban Suspends Talks On Prisoner Exchange

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 12:45 am

The Taliban has suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.

"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.

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