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Alabama Legislature
5:10 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

State Senate Works Despite Icy Weather

The Alabama Senate was able to get some work done today despite the icy conditions.
Credit fox10tv.com

The Alabama House was unable to meet Tuesday because many members couldn't make the icy trip to Montgomery. But the Senate got enough members to Montgomery to meet.

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Supreme Court-Scrushy Appeal
4:08 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Court Rejects Ex-HealthSouth CEO Scrushy's Appeal

The Supreme Court has declined to disturb the conviction of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy on bribery and fraud charges.
Credit WBRC

The Supreme Court has declined to disturb the conviction of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy on bribery and fraud charges.

The justices had no comment Monday on their order rejecting Scrushy's appeal of his 2006 conviction for arranging $500,000 in donations to former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman's lottery campaign. In return, Siegelman appointed Scrushy to a state hospital regulatory board. Scrushy argued that he should get a new trial because of judicial and juror bias.

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Business & Education
1:53 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Alabama Dept. Of Ed Surveying About Tech Programs

The Alabama Department of Education is using an online survey to measure Alabamians' opinions about the quality of the career and technical education being offered in Alabama's public schools.
Credit popofatticus / Flickr

The Alabama Department of Education is using an online survey to measure Alabamians' opinions about the quality of the career and technical education being offered in Alabama's public schools.

The department says responses to the survey will help it plan for the future and better serve students, parents and communities.

The web address for the survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HFPYY27

The deadline for taking the survey is Feb. 21. The department says the results will be available on its website (http://www.aldes.edu ) starting in March.

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Phone Complaints
12:39 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Complaining To State About Phones Could End

Customers might no longer be able to call the state's utility regulatory board to complain about phone service on their landlines.
Credit pixabay.com

  Customers might no longer be able to call the state's utility regulatory board to complain about phone service.

A bill moving through the Alabama Legislature would complete the deregulation of home and business phone service by ending the Public Service Commission's ability to handle customer complaints about landlines.

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Attorney General Endorsement
12:29 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Business Coalition Endorses Ala. Attorney General

The Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee has endorsed state Attorney General Luther Strange for re-election.
Credit lutherstrange.com

  A coalition of business interests called the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee has endorsed state Attorney General Luther Strange for re-election.

Committee Chairman Tom Dart said Friday the Republican attorney general has maintained the integrity of the office and has been a strong voice for fairness.

The Civil Justice Reform Committee is traditionally a major contributor to campaigns. So far, Strange has no announced opposition in his bid for a second term, but candidates can sign up until Feb. 7.

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Alabama Unemployment
3:54 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Alabama Unemployment Down To 6.1 Percent

Gov. Robert Bentley says Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to 6.1 percent which is a five-year low.
Credit The Governor's Office

Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to 6.1 percent.

Gov. Robert Bentley says that's a five-year low. The last time Alabama has a rate at or below 6.1 percent was October 2008, when the rate was 5.9 percent.

The state Labor Department says December's rate of 6.1 percent compares to 6.2 percent in November and 6.8 percent a year ago. Alabama's rate is below the national average of 6.7 percent. Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby at 3.8 percent, Lee at 4.7 percent and St. Clair and Cullman at 4.8 percent.

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Crowd Funding
4:16 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Ala. Senate Seeks Crowd Funding For Small Business

The Alabama Senate is trying to give people a new way to raise money to start small businesses.

The Alabama Senate is trying to give people a new way to raise money to start small businesses.

The Senate voted 31-0 Thursday for a "crowd funding" bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur.

The legislation is backed by the Alabama Securities Commission. It would allow someone trying to start a small business in Alabama to use social media and advertising to find small investors who live in the state. It is limited to raising $1 million, and it is restricted to Alabama businesses and investors because of federal regulations.

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Hurricanes-Voting
4:12 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Lawmakers Consider Emergency Voting During Storms

The Alabama Legislature may make it easier for voters to cast absentee ballots when there is a hurricane or other weather emergency.

The Alabama Legislature may make it easier for voters to cast absentee ballots when there is a hurricane or other weather emergency.

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Winter Weather-Alabama
4:08 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Coldest Air Of The Week Expected Early Friday

The National Weather Service will have a wind chill advisory in effect from 9 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday for northern Alabama counties.
Credit National Weather Service

Alabama's coldest temperatures of the week are expected early Friday morning, with lows dropping into the single-digits in northern parts of the state.

The National Weather Service will have a wind chill advisory in effect from 9 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday for northern Alabama counties that include the cities of Huntsville, Athens, Guntersville, Scottsboro, Fort Payne and Fayetteville. In those areas, forecasters say the wind chill value could be as low as 8 degrees below zero in higher elevations.

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Alabama Farmers-2012 Crops
4:02 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Stats Show 2012 Was Mixed For Alabama Farmers

Alabama farmers experienced a mixed bag of results in 2012.
Credit farmocala

Alabama farmers experienced a mixed bag of results in 2012.

The Alabama Farmers Federation says federal statistics show the state's corn production increased by 51 percent in 2013, with farmers harvesting an average of 148 bushels an acre.

Soybean production increased 21 percent, and Alabama growers harvesting nearly 100,000 more acres than 2012.

Things weren't as good for cotton and peanut crops, however.

Cotton yields dropped 26 percent while peanut yields declined 44 percent.

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Death Penalty
4:31 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Legislators Work To Speed Up Alabama Executions

Alabama legislators are showing their support for expanding Alabama's death penalty law to cover more crimes and to expedite executions by shortening appeals.
Credit Alabama.gov

Alabama legislators are showing their support for expanding Alabama's death penalty law to cover more crimes and to expedite executions by shortening appeals.

The House and Senate Judiciary Committees voted Wednesday to approve bills being pushed by Attorney General Luther Strange and the Alabama District Attorneys Association.

One bill expands Alabama's death penalty law to cover several additional crimes, including killing someone on a school campus or in a child-care center.

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Farley Nuclear Plant
3:52 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

NRC Inspecting Farley Nuclear In Southeast Ala.

Federal regulators are conducting a special inspection at Farley Nuclear Plant in southeast Alabama following an electrical failure earlier this month.
Credit nrc.gov

Federal regulators are conducting a special inspection at Farley Nuclear Plant in southeast Alabama following an electrical failure earlier this month.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says a two-member team will assess the plant, which is located at Columbia along the Chattahoochee River.

The NRC says the failure occurred during testing on electrical circuits on the plant's Unit 2 reactor.

The circuits that failed would start cooling equipment during an accident at the plant, but regulators say backup systems were available.

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Welfare Benefits
3:42 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Alabama Legislators Seek Tougher Welfare Rules

Arthur Orr is one of two state senators seeking tougher welfare rules in Alabama.
Credit arthurorr.com

Two Alabama senators are finding support for bills aimed at toughening the rules for welfare benefits, including requiring drug testing of some welfare applicants.

The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Committee overwhelmingly approved four bills Wednesday that are sponsored by Republican Sens. Trip Pittman of Daphne and Arthur Orr of Decatur.

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Alabama Fire Deaths
3:29 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Alabama Sees Alarming Spike In Fire Deaths In 2014

19 people have died in fires across the state so far this year.
Credit Alabama Department of Insurance

Alabama fire officials say the state has seen an alarming increase in fire deaths.

19 people have died in fires across the state so far this year.

In 2012, 71 people died in Alabama fires. Only six of them died in January 2012, well below the number of people who have died so far this year.

In Jefferson County alone, seven people died in fires in the first 21 days of 2014. There were only two for the same time period last year. In all of 2013, there were 24 fire fatalities.

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Alabama Legislature
4:45 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Alabama House Reacts To IRS-Tea Party Issues

The Alabama House has voted to make it a misdemeanor crime for state or local tax officials to audit an individual or group because of their political views.

The Alabama House has voted to make it a misdemeanor crime for state or local tax officials to audit an individual or group because of their political views.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Wayne Johnson of Ryland, says it is the result of how the Internal Revenue Service handled tea party groups and similar organizations.

The bill cleared the House 74-22 Tuesday, with support coming primarily from Republicans and opposition from Democrats. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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