A plan by state Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan to hire another of his rivals from the 2010 campaign is off.
McMillan had planned to hire Shelby County businessman Dale Peterson, who ran against McMillan in the Republican primary in 2010, but Peterson announced Thursday he's not going to work at the state agriculture department. Peterson says he realized McMillan was trying to neutralize him and keep him from being a potential candidate in 2014.
The Alabama Public Service Commission has blocked Commissioner Terry Dunn's request for a formal review of the rate structures for Alabama's three largest investor-owned utilities.
Dunn made a motion Thursday for formal reviews of Alabama Power, Alabama Gas and Mobile Gas, but commissioners Twinkle Cavanaugh and Jeremy Oden said an informal process is the best way to proceed. That will begin later this month with Mobile Gas.
Gov. Robert Bentley has become the first Alabama governor to serve as chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
The commission is an organization of 38 states involved in oil and natural gas production. Bentley's office said his goals as the chairman for 2013 include providing more extensive training for oil and gas inspector certification and bringing the states' regulatory and technical staffs together to share ideas and best practices.
Officials say the Birmingham area's air-pollution rating is the best it has been in more than three decades.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management says the region including Jefferson, Shelby and Walker counties has met a set of federal pollution standards for the first time in more than 30 years.
The state asked federal officials to certify that the area was in compliance, and the Environmental Protection Agency agreed.
Members of the House and Senate Education Policy committees will hold a joint hearing to discuss keeping students and teachers safe in the event of a school shooting and preventing such incidents.
The hearing will include House Speaker Mike Hubbard, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, Alabama Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier and state schools Superintendent Tommy Bice. The meeting will also include other law enforcement and education officials.
The meeting is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday in room 617 at the Alabama Statehouse.
Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn has appointed representatives to fill committee leadership vacancies prior to the Feb. 5 start of the 2013 regular session.
Republican Rep. Lynn Greer of Rogersville will replace Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Capshaw as chairman of the Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee. McCutcheon recently became chairman of the House Rules Committee, replacing former Rep. Blaine Galliher of Rainbow City. Galliher resigned his House seat to take a position on the governor's staff.
A federal judge in New Orleans has scheduled a Feb. 14 hearing to decide whether to accept the Justice Department's criminal settlement with Transocean Ltd. over the company's role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Transocean, which owned the rig that sank after an explosion killed 11 workers and spawned the spill, agreed last Thursday to pay $400 million in criminal penalties and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act. The Switzerland-based company also agreed to pay $1 billion in civil penalties.
Former University of Alabama President Guy Bailey says he resigned because his ill wife would drive herself to meet the social obligations of being a president's wife and that would put her life at risk.
A Lee County judge handling the Toomer's Oaks poisoning case will consider a request from prosecutors Wednesday to revoke the bond for 64-year-old Harvey Updyke.
The Opelika-Auburn News(http://bit.ly/UPLpoC ) reports that the district attorney's office based its request on Updyke being arrested in Hammond, La., where he was accused of threatening an employee at a home improvement store.
The week prior to being placed on administrative leave, former Alabama State University President Joseph Silver got into a public disagreement with two administrators about the university's annual Turkey Day Classic parade.