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Politics & Government
6:21 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Beason to run for Congress

americasvoice.org

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — State Sen. Scott Beason is making another run for Alabama's 6th District congressional seat, adding a high-profile tea party name to a large GOP field. Beason announced his campaign Friday, the final day to file qualifying papers. So far seven Republicans are contending for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus. Beason was behind Alabama's sweeping immigration bill, considered the toughest in the nation before it was largely gutted by the courts. He was also the sponsor of Alabama gun legislation last year.

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Winter Weather-Alabama
4:10 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Ala. Schools Close Early At Mention Of Wintry Mix

Forecasters are warning of the potential for a wintry mix of snow and sleet across metro Birmingham and other parts of north central Alabama prompting school closings
Credit National Weather Service

Some schools in central Alabama are closing early at the mention of snow or sleet in the forecast.

Systems around metro Birmingham and Tuscaloosa began releasing students ahead of schedule Thursday as forecasters said there was a chance of a wintry mix in some areas.

Forecasters hadn't issued any winter storm watches or warnings at the time, and the weather service said temperatures were above freezing.

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Private School Tax Credits
4:01 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Judge Weighs Challenge To Ala. Accountability Act

It will be a few weeks before a judge decides a legal challenge to the new Alabama law providing tax credits for private education.

It will be a few weeks before a judge decides a legal challenge to the new Alabama law providing tax credits for private education.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Gene Reese heard arguments Thursday on a lawsuit the Alabama Education Association filed over the Alabama Accountability Act.

The judge is giving attorneys two weeks to submit proposed orders and says he will rule afterward.

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Attorney General-Hubbard
3:47 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Hubbard Running For Ala. Attorney General

State Rep. Joe Hubbard is running for attorney general of Alabama.
Credit http://hubbardcoleman.com

State Rep. Joe Hubbard is running for attorney general of Alabama.

The Montgomery Democrat is promising to address public corruption, consumer protection and crime.

Hubbard announced his campaign on Thursday. He is the only candidate to challenge incumbent Republican Luther Strange. Hubbard is accusing Strange of being an absentee attorney general.

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Medical Marijuana
4:38 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Ala. Senate Committee Approves Cannabis Oil Bill

Alabama lawmakers took a step toward effectively legalizing a marijuana extract that doesn't get people high, but can be used to treat certain medical conditions
Credit Laurie Avocado / Wikimedia Commons

Alabama lawmakers took a step toward effectively legalizing a marijuana extract that doesn't get people high, but can be used to treat certain medical conditions.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a bill aimed at allowing people with certain illnesses to possess the oil called cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil.

Sen. Paul Sanford says the oil does not make people feel high, because it is low in marijuana's psychoactive compound.

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Pay Raise
4:28 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Conditional Raise For State Workers Clears Hurdle

State employees got a little bit closer to some extra money as an Alabama House committee has approved a conditional cost-of-living raise.
Credit istockphoto

An Alabama House committee has agreed with the governor's recommendation of a cost-of-living raise of up to 4 percent for state employees.

The House Ways and Means-General Fund Committee approved the raise on a voice vote with no opposition Wednesday. The proposal now goes to the House.

A stipulation of the raise calls for the state to take in more revenue than expected during the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. If that happens, it would be up to the governor to decide whether to grant a raise and how much to give.

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Retiree Bonus
4:17 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Senate Committee Approves Bonus For State Retirees

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh's bill would provide $2 for each month of a retiree's state service.
Credit twitter.com

Retired state employees might get their first pension bonus since 2008.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-General Fund Committee approved a bill Wednesday to provide a one-time bonus, but the bill's sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, says the amount and affordability of the bonus still must be determined.

Marsh's bill would provide $2 for each month of a retiree's state service. A retiree who worked 25 years would get $600.

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UPS Plane Crash
4:13 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Tower Audio From UPS Crash That Killed 2 Released

An audio recording from the control tower at Birmingham's airport shows workers were trying to reopen the main runway when a UPS cargo jet crashed while trying to land on an alternate runway, killing two pilots.
Credit Nation Transportation Safety Board / twitter.com

An audio recording from the control tower at Birmingham's airport shows workers were trying to reopen the main runway when a UPS cargo jet crashed while trying to land on an alternate runway, killing two pilots.

The recording shows an air traffic controller asked a Birmingham Airport Authority worker about reopening the runway less than two minutes before the Airbus A300-600 jet went down on Aug. 14.

The main runway was closed for maintenance, and the UPS aircraft attempted to land on a shorter runway. The jet clipped trees and slammed into a hill near the runway.

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Alabama Fiscal Planning
4:12 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

National Study Faults Alabama's Fiscal Planning

A new study ranks Alabama 44th among the states in long-range budgeting.
Credit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A new study ranks Alabama 44th among the states in long-range budgeting.

The study was released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington. It says Alabama needs to look beyond one-year budgets and consider multi-year revenue forecasts and the costs of programs over several years. The report complimented Alabama for having adequate pension funding, a Legislative Fiscal Office to analyze spending, and a well-designed rainy day fund.

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Payday Loans
4:02 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Group Rallies To Limit Payday Loans In Alabama

Members of the Alliance for Responsible Lending gathered Tuesday to support bills from Democratic Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield and Patricia Todd of Birmingham that limit interest to 36 percent.

About 50 people rallied on the Statehouse steps in Montgomery to show their support for legislation limiting interest rates on payday and title loans.

Members of the Alliance for Responsible Lending gathered Tuesday to support bills from Democratic Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield and Patricia Todd of Birmingham that limit interest to 36 percent. The group backing the bills includes representatives of Alabama Appleseed, the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, the state NAACP, and AARP.

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Dual Enrollment
3:53 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Ala. House GOP Pushes Worker Training Program

Alabama House Republicans are pushing for the expansion of a program that lets high school students take job training classes at two-year colleges.
Credit Alabama.gov

Alabama House Republicans are pushing for the expansion of a program that lets high school students take job training classes at two-year colleges.

Students already can enroll in classes like welding and aviation mechanics while completing their high school studies.

Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard says expanding the program will boost the number of skilled workers in the state.

The proposed legislation would create a $10 million scholarship program to expand the state's current dual enrollment program.

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Alabama Winter Weather-Troopers
3:45 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Ala. Troopers Handled 731 Wrecks In Winter Storm

Alabama state troopers handled more than twice as many wrecks as normal during the snow and ice storm that paralyzed parts of the state last week.
Credit http://www.northmobilepost.com

Alabama state troopers handled more than twice as many wrecks as normal during the snow and ice storm that paralyzed parts of the state last week.

Troopers released statistics Tuesday showing officers investigated a total of 731 accidents from Tuesday through Friday. Roads were either frozen over or blocked with abandoned vehicles across a wide area during those days.

Troopers on average would handle about 336 wrecks over a four-day period.

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Private School Tax Credits
4:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Judge To Rule Soon On Private School Tax Credits

A federal judge says he will rule quickly on whether to throw out a lawsuit challenging Alabama's new tax credits for families that move their children from failing public schools.
Credit istockphoto

A federal judge says he will rule quickly on whether to throw out a lawsuit challenging Alabama's new tax credits for families that move their children from failing public schools.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins on Monday heard from attorneys for the Southern Poverty law Center, which has sued on behalf of eight children in poor, rural counties. He also heard from the attorney general's office, which wants the suit against the governor and other state officials dismissed.

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Folsom-Campaign
4:09 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Folsom Says Paperwork No Indication He's Running

Former Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. says he's not planning to run for lieutenant governor even though he filed paperwork creating a campaign committee for this year's race.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Former Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. says he's not planning to run for lieutenant governor even though he filed paperwork creating a campaign committee for this year's race.

Folsom said Monday the filing on Friday was required by Alabama's new campaign finance law because he has a small balance left from his 2010 campaign.

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Politics & Government
10:38 am
Sat February 1, 2014

State bill would require drug tests for lawmakers

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — With a first name like "Trip," an Alabama senator was bound to prompt jokes by pushing a bill mandating drug testing for legislators. But Sen. Trip Pittman says he's serious. The Republican from Daphne is trying to pass a bill requiring drug testing of welfare applicants with drug convictions in the last five years, and he says he proposed drug testing for legislators so they can lead by example. Democratic Sen. Bobby Singleton of Greensboro says he has no concerns about taking a drug test, but he doesn't think the Legislature is in the mood to pass the bill.

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