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Politics & Government
7:29 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Prattville Police Selling Weapons for Equipment

Prattville Police Capt. Diane Hamm looks over guns to be sold. The money raised will help the department buy uniforms and equipment.
Marty Roney/Progress

Prattville police will sell confiscated guns to raise money so they can buy uniforms and equipment.

   Police Capt. Diane Hamm said the weapons will be sold to a law enforcement supply company in Montgomery. The weapons have been turned in or seized by police since 1994.

   Hamm told The Montgomery Advertiser (http://on.mgmadv.com/1aQ1eDw ) that the cheaper guns will be cut up and sold for scrap metal. The remaining weapons are worth about $25,000. They include a World War I-era British rifle, a World War II-era German pistol and modern handguns.

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Business & Education
7:24 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Tuscaloosa Reviews Student Housing Market

The entrance to the Woodlands of Tuscaloosa, an apartment complex that is home to many UA students. A task force will study student rental housing in the city of Tuscaloosa.
Chris Pow / al.com

A task force will study student rental housing in the city of Tuscaloosa.

Politics & Government
6:42 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Ala. Officials Say Voter ID Law Can Take Effect

Alabama officials say voters apparently will have to present identification at the polls in the next election.

   Officials including Gov. Robert Bentley, Secretary of State Beth Chapman and Attorney General Luther Strange said the Supreme Court's ruling Tuesday throwing out part of the federal Voting Rights Act means the state does not have to submit for preclearance a new law requiring voters to have photo identification.

   Strange said the voter identification law will be implemented immediately.

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Politics & Government
6:34 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Alabama Senator Again Leads Immigration Opposition

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Mobile says a sweeping immigration bill in Washington would cost the nation jobs and depress wages.
The Associated Press

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is playing the same role in opposition to a sweeping immigration bill that he was in during the presidency of George W. Bush.

   Republican leadership argues the bill is critical to any chance for a national comeback for the party out of power in Washington.

   The Republican lawmaker says the legislation headed for passage in the Senate would cost the nation jobs and depress wages. He says it's not paid for and it would not guarantee better border enforcement.

Drug Case Backlog
5:03 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Ala. Drug Cases Halted By Investigation Backlog

The Drug Chemistry Laboratory at the Mongtomery lab.
Credit Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences

State officials say funding cuts and the closure of several drug investigation labs has led to a backlog delaying more than 30,000 criminal cases from going to court.

Montgomery Regional Laboratory Director Katherine Richert says that nearly 30,400 are unresolved because of understaffing and a spike in cases after the closure of several regional laboratories.

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Alabama GOP-Gay Marriage
4:48 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Ala GOP Says Gay Marriage Case Hurts State Taxpayers

Ala. GOP chair Bill Armistead says U.S. Supreme Court decisions favoring gay marriage are an affront to Christian principles and hurt taxpayers.
Credit blog.al.com

The chairman of the Alabama Republican Party says U.S. Supreme Court decisions favoring gay marriage are an affront to Christian principles and hurt taxpayers.

GOP chair Bill Armistead says Alabama taxpayers will now "be on the hook" for funding federal benefits to homosexual couples even though a decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act only affects states where gay marriage is legal.

Armistead says the United States was founded on Christian values, and he says the Bible is clear that marriage can only between heterosexual couples.

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Pre-K Grants
4:41 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Ala. Awards $7.3M In Grants For Pre-Kindergarten

Alabama will award nearly $7.3 million in grants to increase the number of children enrolled in its pre-kindergarten programs.
Credit Alabama School Readiness Alliance

Alabama will award nearly $7.3 million in grants to increase the number of children enrolled in its pre-kindergarten programs.


Gov. Robert Bentley announced the grant recipients Wednesday. The spending is part of a $9.4 million funding increase approved by the state Legislature.


Bentley had earlier sought an additional $12.5 million in state funding for the program in Alabama's education budget, though lawmakers ultimately approved less money.

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Politics & Government
8:21 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Ala Democratic Leaders Bash Supreme Court Ruling

The Supreme Court is setting aside the part of the Voting Rights Act that requires federal approval for changes to election practices in the South.
www.cnn.com

Two estranged leaders of Alabama's Democratic Party are united in their criticism of a Supreme Court decision on voting rights.

   Both Alabama Democratic Conference leader Joe Reed and former party chairman Mark Kennedy say they'll do what they can to fight the decision released Tuesday.

   A majority of the justices sided with Republican-controlled Shelby County in ruling that a key part of the 1965 law can't be enforced without new congressional action.

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Business & Education
7:44 am
Wed June 26, 2013

UAB to Offer Biomedicine Degree Program

UAB will begin offering a degree program in biomedical sciences starting this fall.
uab.edu/news

The University of Alabama Birmingham has announced it will begin offering a degree program in biomedical sciences.

   AL.com (http://bit.ly/10ja0pa) reported Tuesday that the program will start this fall for incoming freshman and sophomores.

   School officials say the first two years of the program will focus on core liberal arts courses. The final two years will focus more on biochemistry, physiology and pathologic diseases.

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Arts & Life
7:38 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Alabama Cities Prepare Fourth of July Events

More than two dozen July 4th celebrations and fireworks are planned across Alabama.

More than 25 Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks shows are planned across Alabama.

   The Alabama Tourism Department says the events include the Spirit of America at Point Mallard in Decatur, the Thunder on the Mountain fireworks show at Vulcan in Birmingham, and Independence Day 1776 at the American Village in Montevallo.

   Fireworks shows will stretch from Gulf Shores on the coast to Athens in the Tennessee Valley and from Demopolis in west Alabama to Auburn in east Alabama.

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Politics & Government
7:34 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Gulf Shores to Conduct Impact Study on Festival

Gulf Shores is approving a $12,500 study to gauge the impact of the Hangout Music Festival.
http://wfpk.org

City leaders in Gulf Shores have voted to conduct a study to gauge the economic impact of the Hangout Music Festival.

   WALA-TV reports (http://bit.ly/14VPM6v ) the mayor and city council voted unanimously Monday night to spend $12,500 on a six-week study that will compare the cost of hosting the event with lodging and sales tax revenue the festival generates.

   The city has hosted the three-day, beachfront festival for four years and officials say they want an independent examination of its impact on the city.

Business & Education
7:27 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Alabama State Port Marks 85 years in Operation

The Alabama State Port in Mobile is marking 85 years.
The Associated Press

Alabama's primary seaport is marking 85 years in operation in Mobile.

   The Alabama State Port was dedicated on June 25, 1928. Back then it was called the "Alabama State Docks" and handled exports of coal, forest products and sugar.

   The public terminals still ship coal and forest products, but the cargo today includes automotive components, poultry and steel.

Politics & Government
5:03 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Ala. County At Heart Of Voting Rights Case Pleased

The nation's highest court set aside a part of the Voting Rights Act that requires federal approval for changes to election practices in the South and some other areas.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Alabama county at the center of the Supreme Court's decision on voting rights is praising the decision.

Shelby County attorney Butch Ellis says the ruling Tuesday will save local and state governments time and money without hurting the cause of voting equality.

Ellis says he's "elated" with the ruling, in which the court said a key part of the law is invalid until it's updated by Congress.

The justices set aside a part of the landmark law that requires federal approval for changes to election practices in the South and some other areas.

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Politics & Government
8:01 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Alabama Ag Commissioner Launching Re-election Bid

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan is geting ready to kick off his re-election campaign.
archives.alabama.gov

Alabama's Republican agriculture commissioner, John McMillan, is getting ready to kick off his re-election campaign.

   McMillan said he will announce his candidacy for a second term Tuesday at a meeting of the Alabama Agribusiness Council in Gulf Shores. McMillan is returning to his home county of Baldwin for the announcement.

Politics & Government
6:38 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Ala. Officials Concerned Over Oil Pipeline Plans

A proposed crude-oil pipeline is expected to come within 3,000 feet of Big Creek Lake, which provides drinking water for Mobile area residents.
blog.al.com

The Mobile County Commission is hoping to meet with officials from a company planning to build a crude-oil pipeline to address concerns over its proposed proximity to Big Creek Lake.

   AL.com reports (http://bit.ly/12lxI0d ) Mobile Area Water and Sewer System Director Charles Hyland told commissioners during a meeting Monday the proposed Plains Southcorp pipeline is expected to come within 3,000 feet of the lake - which provides drinking water for the Mobile area.

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