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Science & Health
6:47 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Alabama Closes Mystery Illness Probe

State Health Officer Don Williamson says the total number of respiratory illnesses has increased to 10, but the health department is closing the investigation.
al.com

Alabama health officials investigating a cluster of respiratory illnesses say the total has increased to 10, but they are closing the investigation.

   State Health Officer Don Williamson said Thursday the cases are unrelated and all have reasonable explanations. He said health officials took extraordinary caution because of two new viruses - one in China and another in the Middle East. But they found no evidence of new or unexpected viruses or bacteria in the cluster of cases in southeast Alabama.

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Politics & Government
6:43 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Jo Bonner Announces Resignation from Congress

U.S. Congressman Jo Bonner of Mobile says his resignation is effective in August to take a job at the University of Alabama.
bonner.house.gov


Republican U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, of Mobile, has announced his resignation from Congress to take a top job at the University of Alabama.

   Bonner, a congressman since 2003, is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and announced his resignation Thursday afternoon.

   A letter explaining Bonner's resignation was delivered to Alabama lawmakers' offices in Washington.

Business & Education
7:37 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Auburn Among Fastest-Growing US Cities

A look at the Auburn University campus. New information from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Auburn was among the top 15 fastest-growing cities with populations fo at least 50,000 people.
http://en.wikipedia.org

A new estimate shows Auburn is among the fastest growing in the country.

   The estimate released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows Auburn was among the top 15 fastest-growing cities with populations of at least 50,000 people.

   AL.com reports (http://bit.ly/11cP9j0 ) the city had an estimated population growth rate of 3.71 percent during the one-year period starting July 1, 2011.

   Eight Texas cities made the ranking of 15 with San Marcos, located between San Antonio and Austin, topping the list with a 4.91 percent increase.

Politics & Government
7:16 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Alabama Governor Signs Bill on Carrying Guns

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says the governor's signature makes Second Amendment rights more secure in the state.

Alabama's governor has signed legislation that expands where people can carry guns in Alabama.
   The bill by Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale passed the Legislature Monday, and Bentley's office announced he signed it into law Wednesday.

   House Speaker Mike Hubbard said the governor's signature makes Second Amendment rights more secure.

   The new law says employees can have firearms in their cars at work, and businesses can't be sued for any harm resulting from the use of those weapons.

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Politics & Government
6:47 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Obama to Sign Bill for Birmingham Bombing Victims

President Obama will sign a bill Friday, May 24 that awards the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to the four girls killed in the '63 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.
crossfitharlem.com

President Barrack Obama plans to sign a bill Friday that awards the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to the four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church.

   Alabama Reps. Terri Sewell and Spencer Bachus sponsored the bill, which received final approval May 9. Sewell told al.com (http://bit.ly/Z0FxeP ) that some members of Alabama's congressional delegation will attend the signing ceremony at 12:15 p.m. Friday.

   Also planning to attend are some family members of the four girls killed in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.

Politics & Government
7:36 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Animal Protection Groups Praise Alabama Bill

aspca.org

Animal protection groups are urging Alabama's governor to sign legislation toughening the penalties for animal cruelty.

   The Legislature passed a bill on the last night of its session to increase the penalty for animal cruelty from a maximum of six months in jail to a maximum of one year. The bill also adds a definition for torture that can cause the punishment to increase to a felony carrying up to 10 years in prison.

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Auburn Pool Party Shootings
7:29 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Judge Sets Hearing Date in Pool Party Shootings

23-year-old Desmonte Leonard is accused of killing three people at a pool party at an Auburn apartment complex last year. His hearing has been set for October 15.
www.wsfa.com / WSFA-TV

A Lee County judge has scheduled a hearing for a man accused of killing three people at a pool party at an Auburn apartment complex last year.

   Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker set the date for the hearing for 23-year-old Desmonte Leonard for Oct. 15 in Lee County Court.

   The Opelika-Auburn News reports (http://bit.ly/119hRkJ ) that one aspect of the hearing would be Walker saying that both sides have indicated that the case is not yet ready for trial.

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Science & Health
6:27 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Mysterious Illness Kills 2 in Southeast Alabama

State health officials say the CDC is analyzing lab tests from all seven infected by the mysterious illness.
gawker.com

State health officials say a mysterious respiratory illness has left five people hospitalized and two dead in southeast Alabama.

   In a statement, Alabama Department of Public Health spokeswoman Mary McIntyre says seven people have been admitted to hospitals with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Two of the seven have died and McIntyre says the department and the Centers for Disease Control Respiratory Laboratory are analyzing lab tests from all seven.

Voting Rights Center
7:22 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Alabama State To host Voting Rights Center

A new facility at Alabama State University will be home to the last stop on the route memorialized as the Voting Rights Trail.
Credit meetmycollege.com

The board of the Alabama Public Historical Sites and Parks Improvement Corporation has authorized $1.2 million in bond money for a landmark voting rights center in the capitol city.

A new facility at Alabama State University will be home to the last stop on the route memorialized as the Voting Rights Trail, officials said Tuesday.

Finance Director Marquita Davis told Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mike Hubbard the center had been funded in 2001, but the project didn't get off the ground.

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State Boards
7:12 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

More Than 70 Confirmations Die At Session's End

Governor Robert Bentley is exploring his options after 70 nominations to state boards died without a vote.
Credit governor.alabama.gov

When the Legislature adjourned Monday just before midnight, more than 70 nominations to state boards died without a vote.

The affected bodies range from university governing boards to the state environmental management board and the Real Estate Commission.

Of the pending nominations, 56 were from Gov. Robert Bentley, while another 14 came from legislative leaders or self-perpetuating boards.

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Budget-Courts
7:07 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Ala. Courts Facing Layoffs Without Extra Money

Chief Justice Roy Moore says latest budget not enough to stop layoffs.
Credit Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press

Alabama's chief justice expects to lay off 150 employees after the state's new fiscal year starts Oct. 1 unless the court system gets more money than the Legislature appropriated.

Chief Justice Roy Moore says he's grateful that the General Fund signed by the governor on Monday increases the court system's appropriation by $5.6 million to $108 million for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

But he says that is $8.5 million short of what's needed to maintain the current staff.

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Proposed Amendment
7:01 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Ballot Question Could Add Foreign Law Protections

Alabama voter will get to decide if they want to prohibit the state from recognizing laws of other states in making legal decisions if they violate the public policy of Alabama.

In a swift-moving late-night session, the Alabama Legislature approved a bill that will put a Constitutional amendment in the hands of the voters.

If passed, the amendment would prohibit the state from recognizing laws of other states in making legal decisions if they violate the public policy of Alabama. Further, it would prohibit applying foreign law in violation of the rights of citizens.

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Politics & Government
7:54 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Alabama Governor Signs Both State Budgets

Ala. Governor Robert Bentley has signed the state's education and general fund budgets into law.
governor.alabama.gov

Gov. Robert Bentley has signed the state General Fund budget and state education budget into law.

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Politics & Government
7:39 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Alabama Legislature Targets Elder Abuse

New legislation makes it easier to prosecute people who abuse, neglect or financially exploit senior citizens.

The Alabama Legislature is making it easier to prosecute people who abuse, neglect or financially exploit senior citizens.

   The House and Senate passed different versions of the bill earlier in the Senate and then agreed on the same version on Monday night shortly before the 2013 legislative session ended.

   The Protecting Alabama's Elders Act was pushed by Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster and Republican Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood. Proponents said it better defines what constitutes elder abuse and increases the penalties for the most serious offenses.

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Politics & Government
6:43 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Ala. Legislature Responds to Caylee Anthony Case

New legislation makes it a felony for a parent to neglect to promptly notify authorities when their child is missing or dead. It's in response to the Caylee Anthony case in Florida.
www.forbes.com

The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill making it a felony for a parent to neglect to promptly notify authorities when their child is missing or dead in response to the Caylee Anthony case in Florida.

   The bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Juandalynn Givan of Birmingham, received final passage in the Senate and House Monday and now goes to the governor for his review.

   The bill was inspired by Anthony, who was not reported missing for 31 days.

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