More than two dozen Alabama legislators have taken state officials up on an invitation to visit schools in their districts and talk with students, teachers and school administrators.
Legislators said they were impressed with the teachers and students they met during the visits Tuesday. But several legislators said they were disappointed to find overcrowded classrooms and not enough money for supplies.
Republican Rep. Greg Wren of Montgomery says he's disappointed teachers have to spend so much time filling out paperwork when they could be teaching students.
Demetrius Newton, a civil rights attorney who represented icons like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. before becoming the first black person to serve as speaker pro tem of the Alabama House, has died. He was 85.
Rep. John Rogers of Birmingham, a longtime friend of Newton, says he was notified by the lawmaker's family that Newton died Wednesday morning.
Newton was former city attorney for Birmingham and had served in the Legislature since 1986.
The Alabama Legislature is starting a massive reorganization of Alabama's law enforcement programs that proponents predict will save millions.
The Senate voted 17-2 Tuesday night to grant final approval to a law enforcement reorganization bill developed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley. The bill now goes to the governor for signing into law.
The Alabama House has approved legislation that supporters say will give local school districts the authority to make changes in rules and regulations to improve education in Alabama public schools.
The House voted 65-37 mostly along party lines to pass the legislation called the Local Control Flexibility Act. The Republican majority in the House supported the bill and said it would allow local schools to in some cases change rules and regulations that school officials feel are getting in the way of quality education.
A north Alabama lawmaker is suggesting possible legislation that he said would streamline the state's election process by eliminating some party primary runoffs.
Republican state Rep. Mike Ball of Madison told the Florence Times-Daily the primary runoffs are costly. He said sometimes in special elections the runoff could cause a district to go through most of a legislative session without representation.
Ball said he's researching the idea and hopes to file a bill by the end of March to discontinue most primary runoffs.
One of Alabama's longest serving legislators, former Democratic state Senate President Pro Tem Hinton Mitchem of Union Grove, has died. He was 74.
Direct Communications President Rick Heartsill, a friend of Mitchem, says the former senator died Tuesday after a long illness.
Mitchem was a longtime tractor dealer in Albertville. He was first elected to the Albertville City Council in 1968 and then to the state House of Representatives in 1974. After serving four years in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 1978 and in 1982.
Participants in a Statehouse summit meeting have agreed that preventing and reacting to incidents like the Connecticut elementary school shooting will be the top priority for the Alabama Legislature in the regular session that begins Feb. 5.
That was the consensus among speakers Wednesday at a meeting of lawmakers, law enforcement officers and educators at the Alabama Statehouse.
The meeting was called by House and Senate leaders to discuss the issue following the shooting last month that killed 26 at a Connecticut elementary school.
Two state legislators say they will introduce a bill in the Legislature that allows local school boards to set start and stop dates for the school year in their systems.
The bill by Republican Sen. Bill Holtzclaw of Madison and GOP Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood is being pre-filed this week. It would change a law passed by lawmakers this year that requires the first day of school be no earlier than the Monday two weeks before Labor Day and the last day be no later than the Friday before Memorial Day.
The Alabama Legislature's black caucus has filed a lawsuit against the plan passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate to redraw lawmakers' districts.
The Legislature's 33 black members claim the redistricting plan approved by lawmakers earlier this year is racial gerrymandering and reduces the voting influence of blacks by packing black residents into as few districts as possible. The lawsuit was filed Friday morning in federal district court in Montgomery.