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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

The first trial resulting from a special grand jury investigation in Lee County is set to begin.

Republican Rep. Barry Moore of Enterprise goes on trial Monday in Opelika on charges of perjury and making false statements to law enforcement. Prosecutors have accused Moore of lying to the grand jury during its investigation of possible government corruption.

Defense attorney Bill Baxley describes the evidence as the weakest he's seen.

Attorneys expect to conclude the trial within one week.


Two closed abortion clinics in Alabama have reopened, giving the state a total of five licensed clinics.

An attorney with the state health department says the Planned Parenthood Southeast clinic in Birmingham has reopened after taking corrective actions. The clinic closed in January after firing two employees for selling abortion medication to a person in the clinic parking lot. The clinic replaced its staff and made other changes.

Alabama's unemployment rate has declined to 6.6 percent.

Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday the September rate is an improvement from 6.9 percent in August.

The preliminary numbers show Alabama had about 6,600 fewer unemployed people than in August. But the preliminary figures also show that the number of employed Alabamians declined by about 1,600 and the civilian labor force shrank by nearly 8,200.

Alabama's unemployment rate is higher than the 6.4 percent recorded in September 2013, and it remains above the national unemployment figure of 5.9 percent.

Vanderbilt University

A national study says Alabama's cuts in spending for K-12 education have been deeper than nearly every other state.

The Washington-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says spending per pupil dropped 17.8 percent from fiscal 2008 to the current fiscal year. That is second only to Oklahoma. The study said the amount cut per student in Alabama was $1,128 between fiscal 2008 and now. That is $114 per student steeper than any other state.