Alabama

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.

A civil rights group challenges Alabama's practice of electing appellate judges by statewide vote.  Officials with the NAACP’s Alabama Chapter say the practice has resulted in all-white courts in a state where one of every four people is African-American.

The chapter and four black voters sued the state in Montgomery federal court today.  They argue electing judges through at-large elections in Alabama violates the Voting Rights Act.

The federal government will take comments at a public meeting tomorrow in Mobile regarding the environmental impacts of two oil-lease sales scheduled for 2018.  APR Student Reporter Parker Branton has more…

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced back in August that it would hold what are known as scoping meetings. The gatherings will establish of criteria and possible alternatives to the two oil leases in question.

A house in Southern Alabama that was the site where authorities say five people were killed by a Mississippi man has mysteriously burned down.

Sheriff's officials say they received a tip that the home in Citronelle, would be burned - and then it went up in flames Sunday morning.

Citronelle Mayor John McDonald says no one knows how the blaze started. He says it's unclear whether it was arson.

Small earthquake reported near Aliceville

Sep 5, 2016

A small earthquake rattled the ground near the Alabama-Mississippi border.

A report from the U.S. Geological Survey says 2.6 magnitude earthquake occurred shortly after 3 a.m. Monday morning.

The quake was centered about 12 miles south of Aliceville. No damage was reported.

The quake occurred west of another area where a cluster of earthquakes has occurred since late 2014 in Greene County.

An east Alabama hospital is collecting items for Louisiana flood victims.

The East Alabama Medical Center is holding a flood relief drive for hospital employees affected by the floods in Louisiana last month.

Clothing donations won't be collected by the center. Instead, The center will be collecting cash, household items, toiletries, cleaning and school supplies, pet food, cases of water and other items.

An estimated 150,000 homes across south Louisiana were ravaged by the floodwaters.

Judge refuses investigation of speaker's ethics trial

Sep 2, 2016

A judge is refusing a request by former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard to have a sheriff investigate whether there was juror misconduct at his ethics trial.

But Judge Jacob Walker says he is open to taking testimony from a juror who says another juror made biased remarks.

Hubbard wants a new trial after being convicted on 12 felony ethics charges and removed from office. His lawyers submitted an affidavit from a juror who says another made biased remarks.

Physical and mental health is the subject of a town hall tomorrow at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center.

A representative from the Veterans Benefits Administration will be on hand to teach veterans how to file claims for illnesses or injuries while they were on active duty.

Damon Stevenson is the Public Affairs Officer for the Tuscaloosa VA. He says learning how to file claims can help veterans take care of their health.

Man accused of south Alabama massacre pleads not guilty

Aug 31, 2016

A Mississippi man accused of killing five people in a south Alabama home with blows from an ax and gunshots has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say 27-year-old Derrick Dearman of Leakesville, Mississippi, attacked the three men and two women as they slept on Aug. 20. He then allegedly kidnapped his estranged girlfriend, who had sought shelter in the house to get away from a violent relationship with him.

Bentley appeals refugee lawsuit dismissal

Aug 30, 2016

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is appealing the dismissal of the state's lawsuit against the federal government over refugee placement.

Officials with the governor's office filed the appeal today with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Bentley asked a federal judge in January to block refugees from coming to the state unless federal officials provided a full background check and medical information on each refugee.

Tennessee Valley Authority operations chief retiring

Aug 29, 2016

The Tennessee Valley Authority says its chief operating officer will retire at the end of the year.

Chip Pardee joined TVA in April 2013.

Pardee's contributions include improvements to the power generation fleet and the operations team. The utility says those improvements are helping it cut pollution from its plants and keep rates low while also providing reliable energy to customers.

Little impact expected in Alabama from Gulf system

Aug 29, 2016

Forecasters say a tropical weather system in the Gulf of Mexico probably won't have much of an effect on Alabama.

The National Weather Service says a tropical depression located southwest of Key West, Florida, will mean bigger waves and increase the risk of rip currents on Alabama's beaches.

But the system is expected to make a turn to the northeast eventually. That means it will likely head toward the western coast of Florida rather than Alabama and the rest of the northern Gulf Coast.

Lottery bill dies in Alabama Senate

Aug 26, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed state lottery has failed in the Alabama Senate.

Senators voted 23-7 to reject changes the House of Representatives made to the bill today. Sen. Jim McClendon, the bill's sponsor, said the legislation is "dead" for the session.

Senate support for the bill crumbled after Democrats said they could no longer support it. Democrats objected to House language that prohibited electronic lottery terminals, arguing that guaranteed the Poarch Band of Creek Indians a monopoly on gambling machines.

Alabama coal communities receive money through grant

Aug 26, 2016

New funding is set to help Alabama coal communities. APR Student Reporter Allison Mollenkamp has more…

The Southern Research Institute and the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center are teaming up to fund an entrepreneurship program and a business development plan.

A total of one hundred twenty thousand dollars will be split between the programs. It will target the Appalachian region of Alabama with an aim at spurring small business in the area.

Federal aviation investigators say a pilot told air traffic controllers that fuel pumps aboard the plane were failing before it plunged to the ground and caught fire near Tuscaloosa, killing six people from Mississippi.

A preliminary report on the crash released this morning by the National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot reported one fuel pump failure.  After that, when he was a few miles from Tuscaloosa's airport, reported that the plane lost "the other fuel pump."

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says he believes a November lottery referendum is no longer possible, but is seeking an opinion from the attorney general's office.

Merrill believes the law is clear that today is the deadline for Alabama Lawmakers to approve a constitutional amendment and addit on the November ballot.  They missed that deadline.

Governor Robert Bentley is sending assistance to protect the U.S. Border. APR Student reporter Parker Branton reports…

Governor Robert Bentley approved a notion that will send Alabama National Guard helicopter and pilot to Marana, Arizona to assist with protecting the U.S. border with Mexico.

This is the second time this year that Alabama National Guard has sent assistance to the Southwest Border Team.

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