The Associated Press


School Flexibility bill
6:37 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Alabama School Flex Bill with Tax Credits Passes

The Alabama Legislature has passed a school flexibility bill that was expanded by Republicans to include tax credits for parents who move their children from failing public schools to private schools.

The revised version of the bill got passed by the House 51-26 Thursday night and then 22-11 by the Senate after a long shouting match. The bill now goes to the governor, who says he will sign it.

State school Superintendent Tommy Bice dropped his support for the bill. He said what started out as a good bill will now have a negative impact on public schools.

Read more
Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage
6:28 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Lawmakers' Visit Marks Segregated Past at Alabama

Attempting to block integration at the University of Alabama, Governor George Wallace stands defiantly at the door while being confronted by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach.

Members of Congress are visiting the University of Alabama to see the place where former Gov. George C. Wallace made his "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" against racial integration 50 years ago.

The leaders will be in Tuscaloosa on Friday for commemoration program.

The event will held at the auditorium where Wallace tried to block the enrollment of black students at Alabama in 1963.

Among those greeting the delegation will be a daughter of Wallace, Peggy Wallace Kennedy.

Read more
Arts & Life
4:39 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Resolution Seeks Parks' Monument At Ala. Capitol

A resolution in the Alabama legislature looks to erect a monument to Rosa Parks at the state Capitol in Montgomery.
Credit USIA / Wikimedia Commons

One day after a monument to civil rights icon Rosa Parks was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, a resolution was introduced in the Alabama House for a similar monument to be placed at the state Capitol in Montgomery.

The resolution was introduced Thursday by Democratic Rep. Alvin Holmes of Montgomery. Parks helped spark the Civil Rights Movement when she was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man.

Holmes' resolution says Parks was a source of pride for Alabama residents.

Read more
School Flexibility
4:22 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Alabama School Flexibility Bill Divided By Tenure

The Alabama House and Senate remain divided on school flexibility bill.
Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

The Alabama House and Senate are divided over whether a school flexibility bill should include flexibility with teacher tenure laws.

The House passed a bill Feb. 14 to allow city and county school systems to have flexibility in complying with state education laws, including tenure. The Senate rewrote the bill Thursday to exclude tenure. The House refused to go along with the Senate's changes and sent the bill to a six-member conference committee to try working out the differences.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

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

Ala. House Panel Approves Coastal Convention Hotel

Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

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.

Read more
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.

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 / 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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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 ( 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.

Read more
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.

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.

Read more
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.

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.

Read more
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.

Read more