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Payday Loans
4:11 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Alabama Legislature Mulling Payday Loan Regulation

The Alabama Legislature is considering better regulation of payday and title loan lenders.
Credit Jason Comely / Flickr

A coalition of groups is pushing legislation to place tighter regulations on payday and title loans, including limiting interest to 36 percent annually.

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2013 Legislative Session
7:36 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Ala. Nurse Practitioners Seek Prescription Power

The Alabama Senate Health Committee has passed a bill that will allow nurse practitioners and nurse midwives to write prescriptions for certain controlled substances.


The committee's unanimous vote Wednesday sends the bill to the Senate for consideration.


Proponents of the bill say it aims to increase access to medical care, especially in rural areas. They said some rural residents must travel 30 miles or more to get a prescription for cough syrup or to renew prescriptions.

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Gulf State Park
7:15 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Ala. House Panel Approves Coastal Convention Hotel

Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
cb4go.com

An Alabama House committee has approved legislation that would allow the construction of a large hotel and conference center on the beach at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.

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Abortion Clinic Bill
6:58 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Alabama Committee Sets Vote on Abortion Rules

State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin sponsors legislation that would establish tighter regulations for abortion clinics in the state.
Facebook/Mary-Sue-McClurkin-for-House-of-Representatives

A state Senate committee is scheduled to vote in one week on a bill that would establish tighter regulations for abortion clinics.


The Senate Health Committee heard public comments on the bill Wednesday and set a vote for next Wednesday.


The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Pelham, has already cleared the House. A favorable vote by the Senate committee would send the bill to the full Senate for a final vote.


Under the bill, doctors who perform abortions would be required to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Higher Education Day Rally
6:36 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Alabama Universities Hold Annual Higher Ed Rally

Students from Troy University joined more than 2,000 other students from Alabama's 13 public universities at the Higher Education Day rally in front the Alabama State House in downtown Montgomery on Thursday, March 4, 2010.
TROY photo/Matt Clower

University students from throughout the state are planning to gather at the Statehouse in Montgomery for the annual Higher Education Day Rally.


The event organized by the Higher Education Partnership starts at 11 a.m. Thursday. It traditionally draws more than 2,000 students, faculty, alumni and supporters. The executive director of the partnership, Gordon Stone, says participants will encourage state officials to give higher education a larger percentage of the state education budget.

Technical Education
4:32 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Alabama Closer To Getting $50 Million For Tech Ed

The state is getting closer to selling $50 million in bonds to buy equipment for technical programs in Alabama's public schools.
Credit http://www.alcareertech.org/ / Alabama Department of Education

The Alabama Legislature is getting closer to selling $50 million in bonds to buy equipment for technical programs in Alabama's public schools.


The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee on Wednesday approved bond issue legislation that passed the House earlier. The bill now goes to the Senate.


Alabama's director of technical education, Philip Cleveland, says public schools last received state funding for new technical education equipment in 2005. He says some are teaching students on outdated equipment that is no longer used by Alabama businesses.

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Pistol Permits
4:18 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Panel Oks Taking Guns To Range With No Permits

An Alabama House committee has approved a bill to allow people to carry a pistol in his or her vehicle without a permit if going to the gun range.

An Alabama House committee has approved a bill to allow a person to carry a pistol in his or her vehicle without a permit if the person is going to a range to practice firing the weapon.


The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee voted 5-3 in favor of the bill. It is opposed by some law enforcement officials who have argued it would give criminals a way to get around the law requiring them to have a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Some sheriffs have said it would reduce the amount of money their departments receive from selling pistol permits.

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Cooper Green Mercy Hospital
8:15 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Cooper Green Beds May be Sold to Gadsden Hospital

Cooper Green Mercy Hospital in Jefferson County.
Joe Songer/The Birmingham News

Jefferson County is taking another step in the ongoing process of ending inpatient care at Cooper Green Mercy Health Service.

WBRC-TV reports (http://bit.ly/YzzRU4) that Jefferson County commissioners are scheduled to vote Thursday on a plan to sell eight psychiatric beds to Gadsden Regional Medical Center.


The county commission earlier decided to quit admitting patients to the Birmingham hospital because of the cost to taxpayers in Jefferson County, which is both bankrupt because of its sewer debt and struggling to balance its main operating budget.

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Ten Commandments Alabama
6:58 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Ala. Senate Approves Ten Commandments Displays

The Ten Commandments monument is pictured through the glass front doors of the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala. in this Aug. 25, 2003, file photo.
blog.al.com

The Alabama Senate has approved a proposed constitutional amendment to protect the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings.


The Senate voted 23-1 Tuesday for the legislation sponsored by Republican Sen. Gerald Dial of Lineville. The bill still must be approved by the House and by voters in a statewide referendum before it can take effect.

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George Lindsey Film Festival
6:52 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Alabama a Theme for 2013 Lindsey Film Festival

This year's George Lindsey Film Festival is the first time it's been held since Lindsey's death last year.
lindseyfilmfest.com

The George Lindsey Film Festival is beginning in Florence, but without its namesake.


The University of North Alabama's annual event starts Wednesday. It's the first time the festival has been held since the death last year of actor George Lindsey.


The festival includes several films that include the state of Alabama as a theme.


One of those movies is "Muscle Shoals," a documentary about the music industry in northwest Alabama. Another is "Eating Alabama," which looks at the state and its food.

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Federal Budget Cuts
6:42 am
Wed February 27, 2013

16,000 Alabamians to See Cut in Jobless Benefits

The long-term unemployed in Alabama will be among the first to feel automatic federal budget cuts scheduled to take effect Friday.

A spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Labor says federal officials have advised the department to prepare for a cut of 9 percent to 10 percent in unemployment benefits for Alabamians who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits and are now getting the extended 37 weeks of federal benefits.

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Aviation Jobs
5:16 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Alabama Looks To Limit Lawsuits For Airbus Suppliers

The state looks to to cut down on competition from Mississippi and Florida for Airbus suppliers by limiting lawsuits commercial aircraft manufacturers and companies that supply them with parts.
Credit timesfreepress.com

Alabama officials are trying to cut down on competition from Mississippi and Florida for Airbus suppliers by limiting lawsuits against commercial aircraft manufacturers and companies that supply them with parts.


The Senate and House committees voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a bill that would limit lawsuits to 12 years after a large plane is delivered. The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster, says there is no limit now. His bill is narrowly tailored for planes exceeding 100 seats.

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Airport Expansion
5:07 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

New Terminal Opens At Birmingham Airport

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is set to open its new terminal.
Credit flybirmingham.com / Birmingham Airport Authority

Birmingham City leaders are set to cut the ribbon on a new terminal at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. 


The terminal will feature 13 new gates, a ticketing counter a new security checkpoint area and a new baggage claim area.


The new terminal is part of a $201 million modernization project being done in two phases. Airport officials say the modernization project brings the new terminals into compliance with TSA regulations that were passed after the September 11th attacks.

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School Flexibility
4:42 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Ala. Senate Delays School Flexibility Bill

It will be Thursday before the Alabama Senate considers a school flexibility bill approved by the state House.

A school flexibility bill recently passed by the Alabama House won't come up in the Senate until at least Thursday.


The Senate's Republican leadership had planned to ask the Senate to pass the bill Tuesday. But Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, says they decided to wait because three Republican senators were either absent or late Tuesday. He says he hopes to bring up the bill Thursday.

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Medicaid Expansion
4:37 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Alabama Democrats Push For Medicaid Expansion

Ala. Senate Democrats has prepared legislation to require the state to expand its Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Credit texastribune.org

The Democratic minority in the Alabama Senate has prepared legislation to require Alabama to expand its Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.


Democratic Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma said Tuesday the legislation is a life-or-death matter for some of the 300,000 people who would be covered by Alabama's Medicaid program.

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