MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A driver's chances of being hit by an uninsured motorist in Alabama may go down after Jan. 1. That is when a new system will start verifying within a few seconds whether a motorist is abiding by Alabama's law requiring liability insurance. County license plate offices will verify insurance information when issuing or renewing car tags. Police will do it when they stop cars for traffic offenses. And the state Revenue Department will do random computer checks.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Department of Revenue is trying to streamline the process for state residents to file taxes and apply for licenses. Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee said Friday making more services available online will speed up the process, cut costs and make the filing and application process easier. . Magee said the new effort includes moving the majority of the remaining business taxes to online. The department sent out notices in June advising residents of plans to move to more electronic filing.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A new U.S. Census report shows the poverty rate in Alabama is mostly unchanged but has gone down some over the last year, while the median income in the state has gone up. The report released Wednesday shows Alabama 42nd among the 50 states in median household income. The census report found Alabama's median household income to be $42,590 compared to the national median household income of $50,054. The U.S. Census Bureau also reported the state was making some progress in the fight on poverty, The Census report showed the poverty rate in Alabama was 15.49 percent.
Flags are flying at half-staff at Alabama's Capitol, and people are pausing statewide to remember victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks 11 years after they occurred. Birmingham fire stations displayed their fire engines with the lights on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. Police in Decatur took time to salute people killed in the attacks. Students at Saint Pius X Catholic School in Mobile are giving out patriotic ribbons on the anniversary. Many people sent tweets about being in school in Tuscaloosa or stuck in traffic in Birmingham when they learned of the attacks.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say a half-dozen people in Alabama have been diagnosed with the West Nile virus this year. Alabama public health officials tell The Tuscaloosa News (http://bit.ly/NLpY5v ) that it's the highest number of cases in the state in three years. The virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, causes symptoms such as fever, body aches, joint paints, vomiting, diarrhea or rash in about one out of every five people who are infected. Authorities say most people infected with the mosquito-borne virus won't get sick.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is holding a public hearing about crackdowns on illegal immigration in Alabama and other states. The panel will meet in Birmingham on Friday to hear from both supporters and opponents of the laws. Speakers include Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who's pushed for such measures nationwide, and Republican state Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale, a sponsor of Alabama's law. Critics of the measures are on the agenda, but they're complaining that members of what they call hate groups are being allowed to participate.
A new study says Alabama is the nation's fourth-fattest state. The report released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 32 percent of Alabama's adults are obese. That's slightly better than the obesity rates in Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia. The state obesity rate for 2011 is a little less than the number from 2010, but the CDC says the two numbers can't be compared because it changed statistical methods. So it's hard to gauge whether there's been any real improvement in fighting obesity. Alabama health officials are trying to get people to slim down.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU has dismissed Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu from its football program for violating school and team rules. The junior defensive back, who was nicknamed Honey Badger, was a surprising Heisman Trophy candidate last season. He was suspended for a game last year for failing a drug test. Coach Les Miles would not specify the reason Mathieu was kicked off the team. The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, citing an unidentified person close to the player, reported that Mathieu failed another drug test.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Former Gov. Don Siegelman's daughter has created a petition on the Internet that asks President Barack Obama to grant him clemency. Dana Siegelman's petition says her father was wrongfully convicted on government corruption charges, and it asks the president to restore justice. She's already received more than 1,200 signatures. Siegelman's daughter created the petition after a federal judge resentenced him a week ago. U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller sentenced Siegelman to six and one-half years in prison, but he will get credit for nine months already served.
ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada (AP) — The island of Grenada has erupted in celebration over the small Caribbean nation's first-ever Olympic medal. People danced, cheered and waved flags in the streets Monday after Kirani James won the gold medal in the 400-meter run with a time of 43.94 seconds. Hundreds had gathered at outdoor viewing sites to watch the race. The 19-year-old is the first non-U.S. runner to break the 44-second barrier in the race. His time is the fastest ever by a Caribbean athlete in the 400-meter.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's unemployment rate rose to 7.8 percent in June, an increase that state officials are calling seasonal.
The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations released the state's jobless rate on Friday. It was up four-tenths of a percent from May's unemployment rate of 7.4 percent, but it's still well below the jobless rate from a year ago.
Alabama Public radio news director Pat Duggins reports on today's vote by the University of Alabama board of trustees to name Dr. Guy Bailey, of Texas Tech, as UA's new president. The appointment is a homecoming for Dr. Bailey, who earned a bachelors degree in Tuscaloosa, and then a masters in 1974.
New research by an Auburn University professor and other scientists suggests that the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill could have significant impacts on microscopic life that might not become apparent for years.
Auburn professor Ken Halanych and scientists from the University of New Hampshire, the University of California Davis Genome Center, and the University of Texas at San Antonio, published their work last month in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.
Savannah, GA – A federal agency says seaports in the Southeast region need the most help getting ready to trade with supersized cargo ships expected to arrive soon through an expanded Panama Canal.
A report to Congress released Thursday by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says ports on the southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts may need up to $5 billion to deepen their harbors to accommodate the giant ships. A major expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to wrap up in 2014, and the U.S. has no ports south of Virginia or between Florida and Texas with waterways deep enough for them.