The Associated Press


Alabama Farming
7:38 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Ala. Farmers Cope with Cool Temps, Saturated Soil

Tony Traffanstedt shows off some of his farm's produce at the Calhoun County farmer's market.
Trent Penny/The Anniston Star

Alabama farmers say they're trying to cope with several weeks of cool temperatures and excessive rainfall, which has oversaturated the soil.

Agriculture experts say that has slowed farming across the state, which could threaten yields.

Farmer Keith Bryant tells The Anniston Star ( that he's being slowed down in his efforts to plant 400 acres of cotton this year. But he said his cotton harvest will be fine as long as he can plant by May 15.

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Campaign Donations
7:29 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Alabama Campaign Donations Getting More Visible

Alabama voters will soon be able to follow campaign donations in the 2014 elections through an online database.

Alabama voters will have a much easier time following campaign donations in the 2014 elections for state offices.

The Alabama secretary of state's office plans to launch a searchable online database of campaign donations by the end of May. It will replace the old system of paper documents and scanned-in documents, and it will premier in time for the start of fundraising for the 2014 elections.

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2013 Legislative Session
7:23 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Budgets Priority for Alabama Lawmakers

The Alabama Legislature enters the final three days of the 2013 legislative session with the main priority being passage of the education and General Fund budgets.

Passage of the two budgets are the only tasks lawmakers are constitutionally required to complete before the end of the regular session, expected to be May 20.

Bentley's Cabinet
5:06 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Alabama Finance Director Taking Birmingham Job

Alabama Finance Director Marquita Davis is resigning to take a new job in Birmingham.

Gov. Robert Bentley's state finance director, Marquita Davis, is leaving for a new job in Birmingham.

Bentley's press secretary, Jennifer Ardis, said Davis has accepted a job as executive director of the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity. She will move to her new job after the current legislative session ends later this month.

Davis served as director of the state Department of Children's Affairs in Gov. Bob Riley's Cabinet and in Bentley's Cabinet before he made her finance director in August 2011.

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Politics & Government
7:52 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Ala. Legislature Cracks Down on Painkiller Abuse

The Alabama Legislature has passed a three-bill package aimed at combating the abuse of prescriptions for painkillers.

The bills won approval in the Senate on Thursday after passing the House earlier in the session. They now go to the governor for review.

Business & Education
7:36 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Univ. of South Alabama Marks 50th Anniversary

The University of South Alabama celebrates 50 years.

The University of South Alabama is marking the 50th anniversary of its founding.

The school will hold a celebration on campus in Mobile on Friday night to commemorate its start in 1963.

Gov. Robert Bentley will attend, and officials are planning a special recognition for President Gordon Moulton, who is retiring on July 1.

State lawmakers approved legislation authorizing the school on May 3, 1963, and classes started the next year.

The university has since awarded more than 75,000 degrees, and it now has more than 15,000 students.

Politics & Government
7:17 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Resort for Gulf Shores State Park Okayed

The Ala. legislature has given final approval for a new resort at Gulf State Park.

The Alabama legislature has paved the way for a new resort to be built on 29 acres of state-owned land at Gulf Shores State Park.

The bill allows Gov. Robert Bentley flexibility to work with a projects committee to decide the best way to build a major resort that would replace the state-owned lodge that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Politics & Government
7:01 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Alabama County Considers Policy on 'Speed Tables'

Tuscaloosa County officials could adopt a policy guiding decisions on where to place 'speed tables' aimed at slowing down drivers.

Tuscaloosa County officials could soon adopt a policy guiding decisions on where to place "speed tables" aimed at slowing down drivers.

The Tuscaloosa News reports ( that there's policy regulating speed tables in unincorporated areas of Tuscaloosa County.

County commissioners propose placing the tables -- which are similar to speed bumps with flattened tops -- based on requests from their constituents. The requests then must be approved by the full commission.

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Gun Bill
5:14 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Discussion Begins In Alabama House On Gun Bill

The Alabama House has begun debate over a bill that would allow gun owners to carry a pistol in their vehicle.

The Alabama House has begun debate on a bill that allows gun owners to carry a pistol in their vehicle.

Hartselle Republican Ed Henry says the bill's purpose is to protect the rights of citizens to carry arms.

Some of the supporters expressed concern that President Obama is using recent shootings at schools and other public shootings as a reason to pass legislation reducing the rights of Americans to bear arms.

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State Budgets
5:07 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Ala. Senate Delays School Budget Until Next Week

The Alabama Senate postponed discussion over the state's education budget until next week.
Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

Plans to address the education budget Thursday in the state Senate got postponed.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Jabo Waggoner of Vestavia Hills says the budget was being delayed until next week because of disagreements over a pay raise for K-12 employees and other issues.

Senate budget committee Chairman Trip Pittman of Daphne favors a 1 percent raise with the possibility of a 1 percent bonus. The House approved a 2 percent raise. Pittman says he may come around to the House's view if he sees the raise is sustainable in future years.

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Birmingham Children's March
4:45 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Students Re-Enact 1963 March Against Segregation

Students marched in Birmingham today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Children's Crusade against racial segregation in 1963.
Credit Birmingham News/Birmingham Bar Foundation

More than 1,000 students are retracing a landmark civil rights march in Birmingham.

Students from a dozen high schools and colleges marched from the city's 16th Street Baptist Church on Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Children's Crusade against racial segregation in 1963.

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Copper Top Bar Shooting
7:41 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Man Seeks Death Penalty in Ala Bar Shooting

45-year-old Nathan Van Wilkins is accused of opening fire at the Copper Top bar in Temerson Square July 2012.

A man accused of injuring 18 people in a shooting at a Tuscaloosa bar says he wants the death penalty.

The Tuscaloosa News ( ) reports that 45-year-old Nathan Wilkins made the request in a letter written to a judge.

Wilkins writes that it used to make him mad to have to pay taxes to support people sentenced to life.

Wilkins says he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life behind bars, and he's asking the judge for a death sentence.

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BP Oil Spill
7:28 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Agreement Reached on Ala. Oil Spill Restoration

Governor Bentley announces funding for new coastal restoration projects during a news conference at the State Capitol.

BP and federal and state officials have reached an agreement on proposed early restoration projects from the BP oil spill that are expected to cost about $94 million.

The projects are part of BP's plan to provide up to $1 billion in funding for recovery of natural resources that were impacted in the BP oil spill.

Business & Education
7:22 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Ala School Officials Consider Cutting Armed Guards

Houston County school officials hired the security guards in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.
Superintendent Tim Pitchford

School officials in Houston County are considering eliminating armed guards from schools and cite associated costs as a reason why.

Superintendent Tim Pitchford Tuesday told the Dothan Eagle ( ) the school system has installed automatic locks to allow principals to quickly lock schools down, installed more security cameras and have set in place other security measures to make schools safer.

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Alabama Accountability Act
6:46 am
Wed May 1, 2013

House Says Schools Don't Have to Take Transfers

The bill by Alabama Rep. Jim Carns says no public or private school has to accept a student transferring from a failing public school under the new Alabama Accountability Act.

The Alabama House passed a bill Tuesday night saying no public or private schools has to accept a student transferring from a failing public school under the new Alabama Accountability Act.

The bill by Republican Rep. Jim Carns of Mountain Brook passed 62-40 and now goes to the Senate. Proponents said the bill keeps some systems from being overrun with transfers they can't afford. Opponents said it gives affluent suburban school systems a reason to reject transfers from inner-city schools.