Judges to be picked Thursday to hear Moore appeal

18 hours ago

Judges will be named this week to hear suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's bid to return to the bench.

Alabama Supreme Court Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart says in a Tuesday order the judges for Moore's appeal will be randomly selected Thursday afternoon in a public proceeding at the Alabama Judicial Building.

A judicial panel last month suspended Moore for the remainder of his term after finding he urged state probate judges to defy the federal courts on gay marriage. Moore is appealing the decision.

Alabama could see record number of voters on election day

18 hours ago

Alabama could see record number of voters at the polls on Election Day.

Secretary of State John Merrill says he anticipates between 2.2 million and 2.4 million state voters to cast ballots in the upcoming election. He says either number would be a record turnout.

Merrill believes high voter enthusiasm will drive turnout in the race that pits Republican Donald Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Alabama asks to let execution go forward

Oct 24, 2016

The state of Alabama is asking an appellate court to let the November execution of an inmate go forward.

The state attorney general's office on Friday asked the 11th U.S. circuit Court of Appeals to reject Tommy Arthur's request for a stay.

The state argues Arthur has used abusive litigation tactics to "escape" execution. Arthur had been scheduled for execution on six previous occasions, but was given court-issued reprieves.

Study looks at tornadoes on Alabama's Sand Mountain

Oct 23, 2016

Researchers want to determine why the Sand Mountain area of northeast Alabama seems so prone to tornadoes.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville says scientists and students will spend the next year studying the role the region's mountains and valleys play in twister formation.

The work is being performed with a nearly $250,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A release from the school says the area was affected by 49 tornadoes in the last decade.

Elba to divide $2M in flood funds through drawing process

Oct 23, 2016

The city of Elba will host a town hall meeting to decide how to distribute $2 million of FEMA flood mitigation funds.

The city is using the money to buy and tear down houses damaged during the 2015 Christmas flood.

Coffee County Emergency Management Director Larry Walker says there isn't enough funding for everyone who's applied for the buyout.

He adds homeowners with major damage will be guaranteed assistance.

Walker says there are about 40 homes with minor damage and they're not sure if there's enough money to cover them all.

Ethics panel dismisses complaint against Tom Parker

Oct 21, 2016

A judicial ethics panel dismisses a complaint against Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker over comments he made about the court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Parker's attorney announced today that the complaint had been dismissed by the Judicial Inquiry Commission. Attorney Mat Staver called it a victory for free speech.

Parker, in a 2015 interview on a Christian-themed radio show, said the U.S. Supreme Court decision jumped outside of legal precedents to "impose their will on this country."

Alabama jobless rate unchanged

Oct 21, 2016

Alabama's unemployment rate for September is unchanged at 5.4 percent.

A statement released by the governor's office today says the jobless rate represents a total of 117,125 unemployed people in the state. Just over 2 million people were employed at the same time.

The state's unemployment rate remains above the national rate, but the gap is closing. The U.S. unemployment rate inched up to 5 percent in September, compared to 4.9 percent in August.

The Alabama Association of School Boards is seeking public input, including parents and employees, on what they want to see in the Huntsville City Schools district's next superintendent.

WAAY-TV reports the association has held at least two sessions to gather the information and planed Thursday to hold at least two more. The association also has opened an online survey that can be taken anonymously through Friday.

Moore won't remove items from courthouse office

Oct 19, 2016

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has not cleared out his courthouse office despite a request by the acting chief justice to remove his personal items.

Moore is appealing his suspension from the bench. He says he has several large paintings, a grandfather clock and other items that cannot be quickly removed.

Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart asked Moore to clear out his office by Tuesday evening. Moore's lawyers have asked the Alabama Supreme Court to overrule Stuart.

Alabama Auditor Jim Zeigler is opposing a November ballot measure that clarifies the threshold to oust an impeached public official.

Amendment 6 specifies that a two-thirds vote of the Alabama Senate is required to remove an impeached public official.

Zeigler says the change would make it almost impossible to remove Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. Zeigler called it the "Get Out of Impeachment Free Card."

Former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of an Alabama death row inmate he says could be "very likely actually innocent."

Meese filed a brief on behalf of inmate Bill Kuenzel with the U.S. Supreme Court which will decide whether to hear Kuenzel's case.

Kuenzel was convicted of killing store clerk Linda Jean Offord in 1987.

Tuscaloosa officials seek return of passenger air service

Oct 17, 2016

Tuscaloosa officials are making a concerted effort to return passenger air service to the city's airport.

The city council has approved a contract with Sixel Consultants Group to help lure a passenger airline to the Druid City.  They want upgrade the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport's existing facilities to accommodate the service.

A commercial airline has not operated at the airport in nearly 20 years.

Prison Reform: Alabama's overcrowding problem

Oct 14, 2016

Alabama’s prison system has been in the news a lot this year, and not for good reasons. Inmate riots, as well as allegations of mismanagement and corruption have pointed out plenty of problems. The Alabama Public Radio news team has spent the past several months examining what happens as people go into the state’s prison system and what happens when they come out. Today, APR’s MacKenzie Bates hears from critics of Alabama’s prisons are run and how plans to fix things may just throw money at the problem…

Alabama is answering a call for help from its neighbor to the Southeast.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit the Florida coast very soon. In anticipation of the damage, Florida made a request for state assistance from Alabama.

Governor Robert Bentley says Alabama will send an Emergency Operations Augmentation team to help the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard is appealing the ethics conviction that removed him from office.

Hubbard's lawyers filed the notice of appeal yesterday with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

The appeal comes after the trial judge denied Hubbard's request for a new trial.

A jury in June convicted Hubbard of using his public office to obtain work and investments in his companies. A judge sentenced Hubbard to four years in prison. He is free on bond while he appeals his conviction.

Fire Danger Warning Issued for North Alabama

Oct 5, 2016

Drought conditions in the state is putting 46 of Alabama’s 67 counties under a Fire Danger Warning.

Officials say 142 wildfires in the last seven days throughout the state that has burned 1,500 acres of land.

Coleen Vansant is the spokeswoman for the Alabama Forestry Commission. She explains what factors determine which counties are under a warning…

Polls open until 7 p.m. for municipal runoff elections

Oct 4, 2016

Municipal runoff elections are underway throughout the state of Alabama.

Six weeks following the primary elections on August 23rd voters return to the polls to elect some local officials.

John Merrill is the Alabama Secretary of State. He says some of the larger municipalities are in an off year.

Moore issues statement after court ruling

Sep 30, 2016

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued a statement after being permanently suspended as Alabama chief justice for ethics violations.

Moore is calling his punishment Friday by Alabama's Court of the Judiciary the result of a "politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups," who targeted him because of what he calls his "outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda."

Moore was removed from the bench Friday for defying the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage.

Alabama House committee: subpoenas in impeachment probe

Sep 29, 2016

Alabama's House Judiciary Committee is issuing subpoenas to Gov. Robert Bentley and others in an ongoing impeachment investigation.

The subpoenas being delivered today come after special counsel Jack Sharman said he wasn't securing voluntarily cooperation.

Alabama drivers advised to watch out for deer

Sep 29, 2016

Drivers in Alabama are getting a costly reminder to look out for deer.

Officials with State Farm, Alabama's largest auto insurer say there were almost 29,000 insurance claims connected to deer collisions from July 2015 to the end of June.

The company says one in 135 Alabama drivers are likely to hit a deer, a figure that's higher than the national odds of one in 164.

The national cost per claim average is $3,995.

Judge to decide Moore's fate "as soon as possible"

Sep 28, 2016

The chief judge on an Alabama disciplinary panel says they'll decide "as soon as possible" whether to remove Chief Justice Roy Moore from office.

The nine-member Court of the Judiciary has concluded its hearing on allegations that Moore intentionally misused his office to try to block gay couples from marrying in Alabama.

Chief Judge Michael Joiner says he does not anticipate a decision would come today.

"Renew our Rivers Black Warrior River" cleanup underway

Sep 28, 2016

The Black Warrior River in central Alabama could be looking a lot cleaner after today.

The first “Renew Our Rivers Black Warrior River” campaign kicked off today. Thirty two river cleanup events are planned this year and will continue throughout November on the Alabama, Black Warrior, Cahaba, Chattahoochee, Coosa, Mobile and Tallapoosa rivers.

11th Circuit upholds Alabama PAC transfer ban

Sep 27, 2016

An appellate court has upheld Alabama's ban on transfers of campaign contributions between political action committees.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled the 2010 law is not an unconstitutional prohibition on free political speech. The court said Alabama had a sufficient interest in trying to prevent corruption to justify the restriction on political activity.

The Alabama Democratic Conference, a grass roots political organization, had sued over the ban.

Special counsel wants to subpoena documents from Bentley

Sep 27, 2016

The special counsel in the impeachment investigation against Gov. Robert Bentley is asking a House committee to subpoena documents from the governor and others after getting few voluntarily turned over.

Special counsel Jack Sharman told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that he had requested documents from Bentley and others but had "few or no documents" voluntarily produced.

Alabama inmate scheduled for execution files appeal

Sep 26, 2016

A 74-year-old Alabama inmate scheduled to be executed in November is asking an appellate court to review his claim that Alabama's lethal injection procedure is inhumane.

Lawyers for Thomas Arthur filed the appeal with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Arthur's attorneys argued a federal judge prematurely dismissed Arthur's challenge and had misapplied a requirement for inmates to name an alternate execution method. Arthur suggested a firing squad and another lethal injection drug.

Lawsuit challenges Alabama's felon voting rights ban

Sep 26, 2016

A federal lawsuit is challenging Alabama's practice of stripping convicted felons' of their right to vote.

Greater Birmingham Ministries and a number of Alabamians who are not allowed to vote because of a past felony conviction filed the lawsuit today in Montgomery federal court.

The Alabama Constitution dictates that people convicted of felonies involving "moral turpitude" will no longer be able to vote, although politicians and courts have wrestled with what crimes should be on that list.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley will make an announcement tomorrow regarding the Alabama Medicaid Industry.

Bentley will hold the news conference tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Old House Chamber in Montgomery.

Joining Bentley for the announcement will be Stephanie Azar, the Commissioner of the AMA.

Earlier this month, Lawmakers agreed to using settlement money from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010 to help fill an $85 Million shortfall in Medicaid’s budget.

Board approves community college merger

Sep 14, 2016

The state’s community college system trustees approved a merger of three south Alabama colleges.

The Alabama Community College Board of Trustees unanimously approved the consolidation today.

Faulkner State Community College, Alabama Southern Community College and Jefferson Davis Community College will merge into a multi-campus institution known as Coastal Alabama Community College.

Judge hears arguments in Gulf State Park lawsuit

Sep 13, 2016

Lawyers for Alabama officials are pleading their case to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the use of oil spill settlement funds to build a beach hotel.  APR Student Reporter Parker Branton has more…

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin heard arguments Tuesday in the request to dismiss the case.

The state auditor and a legislator sued Gov. Robert Bentley.  They say the money is being allocated without legislative approval

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signs a compromise bill to use the state's oil spill settlement funds for debts, Medicaid and roads.

The Alabama Legislature gave final approval to the bill last night after lawmakers agreed to a compromise on how to use the money.

The plan sends $400 million to repay money borrowed during past budget shortfalls. It will also steer $120 million to the state's Medicaid program and $120 million to build roads in two coastal counties.