Time is running out for the Alabama Legislature to work out a general fund budget. 

State agency heads told members of the Senate budget committee yesterday that proposed cuts will close circuit clerk offices, slash Medicaid services and send state prisons into a danger zone of crowding and violence.

Chairman Arthur Orr says there are close to $150 million in revenue generating bills under discussion that could reduce the cuts if they win legislative approval.

House delays votes on tax bills, UAB Alzheimer's study

May 12, 2015

The Alabama House is expected to delay votes on a series of tax bills aimed at solving the state's general fund shortfall.

The House rules committee today proposed a new agenda instead of a number of GOP-backed bills that had divided some members of the party.

The package would raise less than a third of the $541 million requested by Gov. Robert Bentley in a separate tax package.  The largest plank of the revenue plan is a 25-cents-per-pack cigarette tax increase.

Michelle Obama comments, Alabama Launchpad competition

May 11, 2015

Forecasters say scattered strong thunderstorms are possible across northern Alabama, with the potential that some could become severe.

The National Weather Service says the main threats from Monday's storms will be damaging winds of up to 60 mph, large hail and frequent lightning.

Forecasters expect the storms to develop Monday afternoon and evening ahead of a slow-moving cold front.

The state of Alabama is suing over a plan it says will harm water quality by holding water in a Georgia lake for recreational use.

Gov. Robert Bentley's administration says the suit asks a judge to block the U.S. Corps of Engineers from implementing a new water control plan for the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa river basin.

The lawsuit claims the plan will keep water in Lake Allatoona northwest of Atlanta to help boaters and other recreational users in the fall.

Red Snapper Season, Alabama High School Cycling League

May 4, 2015

Charter fishermen in Alabama are gearing up for a longer than usual red snapper season.

Thanks to a recent decision from NOAA’s Fisheries Division, recreational fishermen and commercial charter fishermen have separate seasons this year. Private anglers will only be allowed to fish in federal waters for ten days starting June 1. Charter captains' season will run 44 days, from June 1 to mid-July. Last year, both groups were lumped together for a nine day season.

Athens "Spring Fling" nets suspected drug dealers

May 3, 2015

Authorities say 17 suspects are facing a total of 26 charges following a drug bust in Athens.

The Athens News Courier reports the arrests were made Friday as part of the Athens Police Department's "Spring Fling 2015" operation.

Athens police Chief Floyd Johnson said the operation was carried out with investigators from the Limestone County Sheriff's Office. They say officers worked in two different waves to conduct the operation, which netted marijuana, crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and $2,000 in cash.

Bentley meets with Cullman County Chamber of Commerce

Apr 27, 2015

CULLMAN—Governor Robert Bentley on Monday met with members of the Cullman County Chamber of Commerce to discuss the current budget crisis in the General Fund and the impact to Cullman County if the Legislature’s severe cuts are enacted.

The State of Alabama is remembering the Tornado outbreak that happened on this day four years ago.  APR’s MacKenzie Bates sat down with Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox who describes the experience in just two words…

Avery Johnson: "I'm Your Guy"

Apr 13, 2015

The University of Alabama’s new basketball coach is into his first full week on the job.  UA Athletics Director Bill Battle named Avery Johnson their new head coach last Wednesday at the Mal Moore Athletic Facility.  He replaces Anthony Grant, who was fired after six seasons on the job.  Johnson was the 2006 NBA Coach of the Year with the Dallas Mavericks and also coached the Brooklyn Nets.  Johnson's biggest challenge is working at a school where football is king.

While the University of Alabama Athletic programs are known for championships.

Multiple outlets are reporting the University of Alabama has found its new men’s basketball coach.

ESPN and CBS Sports report that  Avery Johnson has agreed in principle to be the next head coach of the Crimson Tide program.

Johnson, who spent the past several years as an analyst for ESPN, previously coached in the NBA with Dallas, New Jersey/Brooklyn.

The University of Alabama has yet to confirm the hire of Johnson.  He is set to replace Anthony Grant, who was fired after six seasons as the head coach of the men’s basketball program.

Severe weather impacts Northern Alabama

Apr 4, 2015

Forecasters say severe thunderstorms may have also produced tornadoes in parts of northern Alabama and southern Tennessee.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Madison and Jackson counties in Alabama, and south Lincoln County, Tennessee on Friday night.

Madison County Emergency Management Agency operations coordinator Jim Pockrus says authorities were told of downed trees shortly after the tornado warning had expired.

Alabama state agencies could see funding cuts of 11.5 percent or higher next fiscal year unless lawmakers find additional money.

Members of the legislative General Fund committees on Wednesday distributed copies of a rough draft of a budget without additional revenue.

House General Fund budget chairman Rep. Steve Clouse said the results were "bleak."

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers are trying to shield the identities of companies that provide the state with execution drugs, but even without it, the Alabama Department of Corrections releases little information about the process of putting a person the death.

The prison system declined to release the suppliers and other information about the process of execution. The Associated Press requested information about drug purchases, as well as the execution protocol, including the procedures to make sure an inmate is unconscious.

The 2015 legislative session starts tomorrow. All eyes are on Governor Robert Bentley and what’s expected to be a politically unpopular tax increase proposal. 

The big issue is likely a half billion dollar tax hike. Bentley announced his plan on Friday and his annual speech is likely his first big opportunity to sell it to what may be a skeptical Republican majority in the state house and senate.


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A new program of the National Governors Association aimed at stopping prescription drug abuse is meeting in Montgomery. Gov. Robert Bentley is co-chairman of the NGA's Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction Policy Academy, and he will address its opening session Monday in Montgomery. The academy is spending a year looking at how to reduce prescription drug abuse in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia.

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) — Many state licensing boards have not yet complied with a requirement in Alabama's immigration law to verify the status of legal immigrants by using a federal database. A state official tracking compliance told The Anniston Star that few, if any, of the state's dozens of professional licensing board have been cleared to use the federal government's Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements. The law requires them to use the system to verify that legal status. John Norris of the Examiners of Public Accounts says the applications are filed with the U.S.


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.

The National Guard / Flickr

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 ( ) 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.

Florida Atlantic University

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.

Ala. Ranks 4th Nationally For Obesity

Aug 13, 2012
Paul H. / Flickr

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.

Alabama Jobless Rate Up to 7.8 percent in June

Jul 20, 2012

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.

Study says Gulf oil spill might have lasting impact

Jul 10, 2012
NASA Goddard Photo and Video / Flickr

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.

California has long been a trendsetter. But when it comes to reducing smoking and lung cancer, the Golden State's success hasn't taken the entire nation by storm.

Just take a look at the chart, which shows lung cancer death rates among white women by the year they were born.

For those women born since 1933, lung cancer death rates in California have dropped by more than half. In Alabama, they've more than doubled.