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Court Finances
4:56 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Chief Justice Moore Orders Clerks' Offices Closed Wednesdays

Chief Justice Roy Moore has ordered that Ala. circuit and district clerk offices be closed to the public on Wednesdays starting March 20.
Credit Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has ordered that circuit and district clerk offices in Alabama be closed to the public on Wednesdays because of a financial crisis facing the court system.


The order was released Thursday. Moore ordered the clerks' offices be closed every Wednesday beginning March 20. Moore ordered clerks to place notice of the closings in public places inside and outside their offices. The chief justice said the employees of the clerks' offices would continue to work their regular office hours on Wednesdays.

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Right-To-Work State
4:48 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Ala. Senate Votes To Strengthen Right-To-Work Law

Republican Sen. Gerald Dial sponsored the bill to put Alabama's right-to-work law into the state constitution.
Credit blog.al.com

The Alabama Senate has approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would put Alabama's right-to-work law into the state constitution.


The Senate's 21-10 vote Thursday sent the legislation for the House. If passed by the House, it will require approval by Alabama voters in next year's general election.

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Private School Tax Credits
6:38 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Private School Tax Credits at Ala. Supreme Court

The Alabama Supreme Court can decide whether Gov. Robert Bentley can sign private school tax credits into law.
The Birmingham News file

The Alabama Supreme Court can decide whether the governor gets to sign private school tax credits into law.

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Beach Convention Hotel
8:15 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Ala. Senate Panel Delays Voting On Gulf Hotel Bill

An Ala. Senate panel has delayed a vote on efforts to help build a hotel and conference center on the beach at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.
Credit picture by Brett Tannehill

  An Alabama Senate committee has delayed consideration of a bill to support efforts by Gov. Robert Bentley's administration to build a hotel and conference center on the beach at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee meeting was postponed Wednesday because there were not enough members present to have a quorum and conduct business. Committee Chairman Republican Sen. Paul Scofield of Guntersville says he will call another meeting either later this week or next week to consider the bill.

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Youthful Offender
8:02 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

House Panel Says Exclude Some As Youthful Offenders

An Ala. House panel has approved a bill to exclude youthful offender status from those charged with the most serious crimes.
Credit istockphoto

The House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill to exclude those charged with the most serious crimes from having their cases settled under youthful offender status.

State Rep. Phil Williams of Huntsville is sponsoring the bill. It passed the committee Wednesday and would exclude those charged with Class A felonies from youthful offender status.

Youthful offender status means young people, usually younger than 21, can in most cases keep their convictions secret.

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Private School Tax Credits
7:43 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Governor Bentley Blocked From Signing School Tax Bill

A circuit court judge has extended an order preventing the governor from signing a private school tax credit bill.
Credit Al Whitaker / WHNT News 19

A judge is extending is an order preventing the governor from signing a private school tax credit bill. 


  Circuit Court Judge Charles Price ruled Wednesday that a temporary restraining order will remain in effect until a court hearing on March 15.


Spokesmen for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and House Speaker Mike Hubbard say they will appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.

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Landscape Olympics
7:36 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Auburn Hosts 60 Colleges In Landscape Competition

Auburn University will host the "Landscape Olympics" this weekend.
Credit facebook.com

  More than 800 students from 60 colleges will be at Auburn University this weekend for a national event known as the "Landscape Olympics."

Auburn's team of 40 students will show off their skills in 28 events, including tree climbing.

The National Collegiate Landscape Competition attracts recruiters from 50 companies, including Caterpillar and John Deere. They will be at Auburn scouting for the nation's top prospects during the event.

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General Fund
5:03 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

No Raise For Ala. Workers In Panel Approved Budget

Alabama state non-education employees would not get a cost-of-living raise or merit pay raises under a General Fund budget approved by a Senate Committee.
Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama state non-education employees would not get a cost-of-living raise or merit pay raises under a $1.74 billion General Fund budget approved Wednesday by the Senate Finance and Taxation-General Fund Committee.


The budget for 2013-14 is mostly level with the budget for the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. It is just a slight increase from the budget recommended by Gov. Robert Bentley. The chairman of the committee, Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur, said the economy is improving but there is still a shortage of tax revenue for the General Fund budget.

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School safety legislation
6:42 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Ala. Governor Vetoes School Firearms Legislation

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has vetoed a Franklin County school safety bill that would have authorized some teachers to carry firearms.


The bill would allow teachers and other school personnel in Franklin County and Russellville city schools to train as reserve county sheriff's deputies and then carry firearms in school.

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Brewery church fundraiser
6:36 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Ala Church Holding Fundraiser in Brewery

Birmingham's Church of the Reconciler will have a fundraiser at a downtown brew pub.
The Birmingham News/Tamika Moore

Brew pubs are springing up across Alabama since the state updated its alcohol laws, and one church is making the best of the trend.

A church is sponsoring a fundraiser at a brew pub in downtown Birmingham on Wednesday night. The event at Good People Brewing Co. will benefit the Church of the Reconciler, which serves a congregation that includes urban homeless.


Church pastor Matt Lacey says some people will think it's unusual for a church to hold an event at a pub. But he says many people don't see fellowship at church and in other places to be separate.

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Private School Tax Credits
4:49 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Ala. Judge Plans To Rule On School Tax Credits

A judge plans to rule Wednesday on whether the governor can sign into law a bill providing private school tax credits.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

A judge plans to rule Wednesday on whether the governor can sign into law a bill providing private school tax credits.


Gov. Robert Bentley had planned to sign the bill Tuesday afternoon, but Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Charles Price temporarily put that on hold while he considers a lawsuit filed by the Alabama Education Association.


Price heard arguments Tuesday afternoon on whether the Legislature violated Alabama's open meeting law and its own operating rules in passing the bill in a series of quick votes Thursday night.

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Legislature-Abortion
4:42 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Governor Bentley Endorses Abortion Clinic Regulations

Governor Robert Bentley says if the state Senate approves tougher abortion clinic regulations then he will sign them.
Credit State of Alabama

Alabama's governor says he will sign tougher abortion clinic regulations if the state Senate approves them.


Gov. Robert Bentley spoke Tuesday at a rally organized by abortion opponents in Montgomery. Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mike Hubbard also attended the rally.


The clinic regulatory bill has passed the House and is scheduled for a vote Wednesday in the Senate Health Committee. Committee Chairman Greg Reed says he expects the committee to approve the bill and send it to the Senate.

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Extremist Groups
4:36 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Researchers Report Sharp Rise In 'Patriot' Groups

This graph from "The Year in Hate and Extremism" shows the rise in patriot and militia groups in the U.S. since 1995.
Credit Southern Poverty Law Center

A civil rights group that tracks extremist groups warns that President Obama's tenure and the gun control debate after the Connecticut school shooting have led to surging numbers of anti-government "patriot" groups.


The Southern Poverty Law Center on Tuesday reported the rising numbers as it released its annual report on extremist groups.


The number of patriot groups, one category of extremist organizations tracked by the center, has risen dramatically over the past four years, from 149 groups in 2008 to 1,360 today.

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Birmingham School Closings
6:38 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Concerns Raised About Birmingham School Closings

Daniel Payne Middle School students are protesting at the community meeting.
Jonathan Hardison

Parents and teachers are expressing concerns about plans to close seven schools and lay off 133 workers in Birmingham City Schools.

At a Monday night meeting, community members said they feared the consequences of one aspect of the plan: Consolidating some seventh- and eighth-grade students with high school students.


Stephannie Huey says she's taught at the middle school and high school level, and doesn't think the two groups will mix well. She said middle school students would be exposed to more sexual activity, drugs and cigarettes.

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Private Schools Tax Credit
6:25 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Ala. Governor to Sign Private School Tax Credits

Gov. Robert Bentley says he'll sign legislation that provides tax credits to parents who move their kids out of failing public schools into private schools.
governor.alabama.gov

Gov. Robert Bentley is ready to sign legislation providing tax credits to parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools.

Republicans in the Legislature passed the bill on a party-line vote Thursday night, but the Legislature can't officially deliver the bill to the governor until Tuesday afternoon. Bentley says he will sign it after getting it. He calls it one of the best pieces of legislation passed in years.


The Alliance for School Choice says Alabama with become the 12th state with a tax credit program.

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