The Associated Press


Unemployment Benefits
7:58 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Alabama Losing 9 Weeks of Unemployment Benefits

State officials say Alabama is no longer eligible for the extra nine weeks of unemployment benefits. Department of Labor

Unemployment benefits for some Alabamians who have been out of work a long time are changing.

Alabamians have been able to qualify for 63 weeks of benefits, but that is being reduced by nine weeks to 54 weeks. Alabama Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said the state is no longer eligible for the extra nine weeks of federally funded benefits because the state's unemployment rate fell below 7 percent in November, December and January.

Tuscaloosa Bar Shooting
7:24 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Trial Date Set for Man in Tuscaloosa Bar Shooting

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

A trial date has been set for a man accused in a July 2012 shooting that left 18 people injured at a Tuscaloosa bar.

Nathan Van Wilkins is accused of opening fire on patrons at the Copper Top bar in July 2012. The Tuscaloosa News Tuesday reported ( ) he's scheduled to appear in court May 6. The man is also accused to shooting a man at a house in Northport and setting fire to his former workplace and the house of his former co-worker.

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Governor Bentley Second Term
6:56 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Alabama Governor Seeking Second Term

Ala. Governor Robert Bentley says he'll seek a second four-year term in 2014.
The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley has announced he will seek a second term.

The 70-year-old Republican governor put to rest Tuesday any speculation about his future plans.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says he has no plans to run against Bentley.

Bradley Byrne, who finished second to Bentley in the GOP race in 2010, says he hasn't decided what he will do in 2014. Tim James, who finished a close third, says he's not running now, but you never say never in politics.

AEA Rally
5:26 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

AEA Rally Draws Big Crowd In Montgomery

Incoming AEA President Anita Gibson says a similar rally a year ago helped defeat a bill legalizing charter schools.

Several hundred members of the Alabama Education Association filled the Capitol steps to push for better working conditions and the repeal of new state tax credits for private school students.

The rally Tuesday was one of the biggest by any group during this year's legislative session.

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Alabama-Women Businesses
4:54 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Women-Owned Businesses Seeing Growth In Ala.

The report from American Express OPEN shows the number of businesses owned by women in Alabama has jumped significantly from 1997.
Credit American Express Open /

A new study says the number of businesses owned by women in Alabama has increased about 67 percent since 1997.

That makes the state No. 12 nationally in terms of the growth of female-owned companies during the period.

The report released by American Express OPEN says Alabama now has about 116,000 companies owned by women. Those Alabama-based companies will have sales estimated at $16 billion this year.

The report says Alabama has surpassed the national growth rate of women-owned firms of 59 percent over the last 15 years.

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Holocaust Remembrance
7:39 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Ala to Mark Holocaust Remembrance with Ceremony

Alabama officials are gathering at the Capitol Tuesday, April 9 for the Annual Day of Remembrance for Holocaust victims. Birmingham Holocaust Education Center

The state of Alabama is recalling victims of the Holocaust with a ceremony at the Capitol in Montgomery.

The Annual Day of Remembrance will be held Tuesday morning in the Old House Chamber at the Capitol.

The event is hosted by the Alabama Holocaust Commission each April. It's meant to remember those who were killed and suffered during the mass slaughter by Nazi Germany across Europe.

Rabbi Jonathan Miller of Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham will speak, and Gov. Robert Bentley will present a proclamation.

Abortion Bill
7:32 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Ala. Governor Signs Abortion Clinic Regulations

The Governor's Office

Alabama's governor has signed into law stricter abortion clinic regulations.

Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bill Tuesday at the Capitol while surrounded by legislators who supported it.

The new law requires clinics to use doctors who have approval to admit patients to local hospitals. Bentley, who is a physician, said a doctor who can't get admitting privileges from a hospital probably ought not to be practicing in the state.

The bill also sets stricter building standards for abortion clinics, and it gives them a couple of months to comply.

Airbus Mobile
8:15 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Airbus Breaking Ground on South Alabama Plant

Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Alabama.

Airbus is breaking ground on its new aircraft assembly plant in Mobile.

Top executives will be in the port city Monday for a ceremony to mark the start of construction on the Airbus plant at Brookley Aeroplex.

The $600 million factory is expected to employ 1,000 people once production of the Airbus A320 jet begins around 2015.

The state's first major Airbus supplier, Safran Engineering Services, is opening its new office in Mobile on Monday. The company plans to employ as many as 50 people at an engineering support facility.

Severe Weather
8:04 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Strong Weather System Could Spawn Severe Storms

Forecasters say severe storms will be possible in coming days over Alabama, bringing the threat of damaging straight-line winds and isolated tornadoes.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham says powerful storms will be possible during the overnight hours of Wednesday night and into Thursday.

Forecasters say a strong low pressure system will approach the region from the west on Wednesday, touching off the storms Wednesday night and Thursday.

Elder Abuse
6:05 pm
Sun April 7, 2013

Ala. Bills Make It Easier To Prosecute Elder Abuse

Ala. Senator Cam Ward is the senate sponsor of a bill bills that would make it easier to criminally charge people who abuse, neglect or financially exploit the elderly.
Credit Campaign to Elect Cam Ward

Alabama lawmakers have passed bills that would make it easier to criminally charge people who abuse, neglect or financially exploit the elderly.

The sponsors say they expect the governor to sign one of the bills into law once the two slightly different versions are reconciled.

The Senate sponsor, Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster, says only one word in the measure that passed the Senate is different from the House-passed version sponsored by Republican Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood.

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12:32 am
Sun April 7, 2013

Legislators Start Talking About Changing Medicaid

Lawmakers are considering a bill that will help streamline Medicaid in the state.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

Lawmakers are trying to ease the financial burden Medicaid places on Alabama by passing a bill designed to streamline the $5.63 billion program's operational system.

The bill under consideration could change the present "fee-for-service" basis of Medicaid payments to a for-profit, managed care plan or a combination of nonprofit and for-profit companies.

The Medicaid Advisory Committee commissioned by Gov. Robert Bentley does not want to use for-profit managed care companies.

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Metal Coils
12:27 am
Sun April 7, 2013

Feds Strike Down Ala. Law On Hauling Metal Coils

A federal agency has struck down an Alabama law aimed at preventing heavy metal coils from falling off trucks and causing wrecks.
Credit / U.S. Department of Transportation

A federal agency has struck down an Alabama law aimed at preventing heavy metal coils from falling off trucks and causing wrecks.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found the Alabama law placed "an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce." Passed by state lawmakers in 2009, the law required trucker drivers hauling metal coils on routes that either began or ended in Alabama to be certified in load securement techniques.

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Governor's Cabinet
5:16 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Collier To Lead New Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

Spencer Collier will head the newly created Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency.
Credit Office of the Governor

Alabama's governor has promoted his homeland security director, Spencer Collier, to secretary of law enforcement.

Collier will lead the creation of the new Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency. The agency is the result of a new state law combining many of Alabama's law enforcement programs, including the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Homeland Security.

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Unemployment Benefits Cut
5:09 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Benefits Cut For Long-Term Unemployed Alabamians

Many long-termed unemployed Alabamians will see their benefits cut later this month.
Credit Alabama Department of Labor

Many long-term unemployed Alabamians will see their benefits drop 12.8 percent on April 28.

State Labor Department spokeswoman Tara Hutchison said the reductions are the result of mandatory federal spending cuts that all states must make. The cuts will affect people who have been receiving unemployment benefits for more than six months. Currently, about 16,500 Alabamians receive the extended benefits.

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