Alabama

Jury selection is ongoing in the trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

About 100 of the 140 Lee County residents were on hand as the selection process began in Opelika. 

Republican Speaker Mike Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges of using his political position for personal gain back in October 2014. Hubbard has maintained his innocence throughout the indictments. 

Hubbard faces removal from office if he’s convicted.

The tug of war continues over the fate of Alabama death row inmate Vernon Madison. An appellate court stopped tonight’s execution. That prompted the state of Alabama to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. APR’s Pat Duggins reports the case also involves part of Alabama’s legal system that remains controversial…

Lawyers for the state of Alabama are asking an appellate court to allow the execution of a death row inmate this week.

Vernon Madison is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday night for the 1985 murder of Mobile police office Julius Schulte.

The state attorney general's office told the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday that a lower court decided correctly that Madison is mentally competent and can be executed.

Alabama’s Chief Justice could soon be kicked out of office, again, due to his defiance of a federal court order. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more about the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission’s investigation.

The commission is investigating six counts of judicial ethics violations against Chief Justice Roy Moore. The charges stem from an order Moore issued in January instructing all of the state’s probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses, defying a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Common threads link the effort to remove Roy Moore as Alabama's chief justice with the case that resulted in his ouster from the same post more than a decade ago.

Each case involves Moore's conservative Christian beliefs and his views on the power of federal courts.

The Republican is suspended and faces a trial after judicial investigators filed a complaint Friday.  It accuses him of failing to respect U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal court decisions that cleared the way for gay marriage.

Lawyers for an Alabama death row inmate are asking a federal court to stop his execution next week, saying he is incompetent because of mental illness, strokes and dementia.

Attorneys for 65-year-old Vernon Madison filed the emergency stay request Wednesday in federal court in Mobile.

Madison is scheduled to get a lethal injection May 12. He was convicted in the 1985 slaying of Mobile police Officer Julius Schulte.

Lawmakers have left Montgomery after the Legislative Session ended Thursday morning.  The House and Senate could not agree on a wide range of issues like how to use the BP Settlement Money and the Prison Construction Bill.

Craig Ford is the Alabama House Minority Leader.  The Gadsden Democrat says a plan to fully fund Medicaid by allowing Alabamians to vote on a gaming bill should have been approved…

Lawmakers are continuing to disagree over how much of the state's oil spill settlement funds should go to road projects and how much to the Gulf coast.

The roadblock threatened to doom legislation doling out the settlement dollars.

A Senate budget committee was scheduled to vote today on legislation to use $191 million for coastal road projects and $450 million for state debt repayment.

Students took part in a program that teaches the history of the blues in Alabama.

The Dothan Eagle reports that Mixon Elementary School students jammed with members of the Alabama Blues Project to learn more about the genre's history through the Blues in the Schools program.

The band performed for students at the school for about an hour Thursday, interjecting lessons about the blues and its roots in the Wiregrass between songs.

DraftKings, FanDuel agree to cease operations in Alabama

Apr 30, 2016

Alabama's attorney general says online fantasy sports betting sites have each entered into a settlement to cease operations in the state in a few days.

Attorney General Luther Strange said in a statement Friday that DraftKings and FanDuel will cease operations effective May 2. Strange said his office issued the cease and desist letters to both in early April.

Gas tax, lottery bills dead as legislature nears end

Apr 30, 2016

Lawmakers return to Montgomery on Tuesday for the two days of the 2016 legislative session. Legislators have a number of high-profile bills left to consider before sine die, but many noteworthy bills have already met the chopping block. Though Gov. Robert Bentley in March said he thought Alabama voters would overwhelmingly approve a state lottery if given the chance. A variety of lottery and gambling legislation failed to gain traction during the 2016 session. 

Embattled Gov. Robert Bentley is maintaining he has done nothing illegal or unethical, a day after Alabama lawmakers revived an impeachment effort against him.

Bentley initially tried to sidestep impeachment questions. He says the past year has been "difficult" and implored people to trust him.

Bentley last month acknowledged making inappropriate remarks to a female political adviser.

A state lawmaker says he has enough signatures to re-ignite an impeachment effort against Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Republican Rep. Ed Henry says he’s obtained 23 signatures on impeachment articles.

The announcement came after the House passed a rule change requiring 21 votes to start an impeachment investigation. That thwarted Henry's earlier effort with 11 signatures.

It was on this date five years ago when a super tornado outbreak hit parts of west and west-central Alabama in 2011.

Over fifty people were killed in the city of Tuscaloosa and twelve percent of the town was destroyed. 

Tuscaloosa’s Acting Planning Director Phillip O’Leary spent the first hours after the tornado in his office. When he finally visited the damage zone, one thing stuck with him…

A bill to prohibit a commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure has advanced in the Alabama Legislature.

The Senate voted 30-2 today for Republican Sen. Phil Williams' bill. A companion bill in the House has passed out of committee.

The legislation would prohibit a procedure called dilation and evacuation, or "D&E." The bill would allow the procedure in the event of a "serious health risk to the mother."

The bill's supporters describe the procedure as "heinous" and "barbaric."

A state tax break that some say sparked a renaissance in downtown Birmingham and elsewhere will end unless Alabama senators agree to extend the program.

A bill to extend the tax credits for seven years has stalled amid opposition from Senate leaders. Sen. Trip Pittman says that he did not anticipate any action on the legislation this year.

The three-year program, approved in 2013, gave up to $20 million in tax credits each year for historic building renovation.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he is not responding to the state auditor's order to testify before him.

Bentley issued the statement today, a day after State Auditor Jim Zeigler ordered Bentley to appear before him to answer questions about the use of state funds and his relationship with a former staffer.

Bentley says the appropriate legal process was through the Alabama Ethics Commission where Zeigler has already filed a complaint.  The governor said he is cooperating fully with the commission.

As Alabama's 2016 legislative session quickly nears its end, a state senator is making a final push for a lottery.

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee voted today for a bare-bones constitutional amendment that would allow Alabamians to vote on the issue but provides few other details.

Several senators say they voted in favor of the amendment with the understanding Republican Sen. Jim McClendon would rework his bill with more details before bringing it to a vote on the Senate floor.

Tuscaloosa officials are seeking money to replace the city's old passenger train station.

A City Council committee voted Tuesday to select an architect to design the new station and to apply for a grant through the Southern Rail Commission.

Mayor Walt Maddox tells The Tuscaloosa News he fears the city will lose Amtrak service unless it invests in a new station.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's former law enforcement secretary is suing his former boss, claiming he was wrongly fired.

Spencer Collier, who the day after his firing accused Bentley of having an affair with an adviser, filed the lawsuit today in Montgomery.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include the governor and the former adviser, Rebekah Mason.

The Alabama Education Association has  a new executive director.

AEA spokeswoman Amy Marlowe says Brenda Pike will start her new position on May 16. Pike serves as the executive director of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Pike received her master's degree from the University of Tennessee, and a doctorate of education from the University of Memphis. She worked for 12 years as a classroom teacher before joining the staff of the Tennessee Education Association.

Runoffs in 2 state school board races Tuesday

Apr 10, 2016

Some Alabama voters head to the polls Tuesday for primary runoffs.

Two Republican incumbents face runoffs for seats of the state school board seats

Incumbent Matthew Brown faces Jackie Ziegler, the wife of state Auditor Jim Ziegler, in a runoff to represent south Alabama's District 1 on the Alabama state school board.

Brown was appointed by Gov. Robert Bentley to fill a vacant post in July. Ziegler is a former school principal. The winner faces Democrat Ron Davis in November.

A South Korea-based automotive part manufacturer will bring a $19 million expanding its existing location in eastern Alabama.

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller says Mando America Corp. will expand their North American headquarters in the city. As a result, 32 jobs will be created.

Fuller says the expansion process should begin to take place over the next couple of weeks. The mayor made the announcement after the city council meeting Tuesday.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of five institutions that are researching the possibility of using genetically modified pig tissue for human kidney transplants.

UAB is receiving a $19.5 million grant from United Therapeutics Corp. to begin a xenotransplantation program. School officials announced the five-year grant on Friday.

UAB is a leading kidney transplant center, and the program aims to transplant genetically modified kidneys created from pig tissue within five years.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is not happy the state legislature voted to override his veto on the General Fund Budget.  Lawmakers yesterday voted to enact the $1.8 billion general fund budget which will go in to effect on Oct. 1.  Bentley spoke to the media today along with Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar.  Bentley had sought an additional $100 million for Medicaid. The Legislature only increased the funding for Medicaid by $15 million.

The Alabama Legislature is back in Montgomery working on the General Fund Budget.  But lawmakers are also turning their attention to the scandal that has rocked Governor Robert Bentley’s Administration.

Republican Rep. Ed Henry plans to introduce impeachment articles today. The action comes as Bentley admitted that he made inappropriate remarks to his former aide, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. However, Bentley denied suggestions that the two had an affair.

Henry says there is no time to waste on impeaching the Governor…

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says he will reopen his casino later this year despite losing a three-year legal battle over the legality of electronic bingo machines.

McGregor hopes to have the casino open by early summer.

McGregor criticized last week's Alabama Supreme Court ruling that electronic gambling machines that had been seized are illegal.  The court ruled that the state could keep 1,615 gambling machines seized from VictoryLand in a 2013 raid.

The fight over gambling in Alabama has a new chapter. The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled against the Victoryland casino and in favor of the state in arguments over electronic bingo. A-P-R student reporter Allison Mollenkamp has more…

The Alabama Supreme court says electronic bingo machines qualify as gambling. This overturned an earlier circuit court decision that placed the machines in the same category as in-person bingo games which are legal.

Forecasters say storms moving toward Alabama could produce hail, damaging winds and tornadoes throughout the state.

Officials say there's a moderate chance for tornadoes and large hail in the Mobile area and throughout north and central Alabama, where meteorologists expect winds of up to 70 mph.

They say an elevated threat area covers Birmingham, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa and other parts of central and west Alabama.

A top political aide to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is stepping down. Rebekah Mason’s departure follows an admission by Bentley that he made inappropriate remarks. The governor denies the two ever had an affair.

Mason announced her resignation in a statement sent by the governor's office. She says she would no longer be his senior political adviser and would no longer be paid by his campaign fund.

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