State Health Officer Don Williamson says Alabama's flu season started earlier than a year ago and there are more cases. But he said it's not out of line with some of the busiest years during the last decade.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says Mobile, Pike and surrounding counties have been approved for disaster assistance because of damage sustained in the Christmas Day outbreak of tornadoes.
Bentley says the assistance will come in the form of low interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The two primary counties listed on the disaster declaration are Mobile and Pike. But it also includes Baldwin, Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Crenshaw, Dale, Montgomery and Washington counties in Alabama and George, Greene and Jackson counties in Mississippi.
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.