Alabama

Alabama
6:06 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Alabama Home Brew Legalization Nears Passage

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Legislature is getting close to make it legal to brew beer and wine at home.

The Senate Job Creation and Economic Development Committee voted 3-1 Tuesday for a bill allowing adults to make 15 gallons every three months. The bill by Republican Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Capshaw cleared the House in 44-33 last month. All it needs now is a vote in the Senate and signing by the governor.

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Alabama
6:03 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Ala. Senate Panel Oks General Fund Spending Plan

Montgomery, AL – An Alabama Senate Committee has passed a General Fund budget that depends on voters approving the transfer of money from an oil and gas revenue savings account and from education funds to pay for the state's Medicaid program.

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee voted 7-0 for a $1.4 billion budget that would require voters to approve a constitutional amendment in the Nov. 6 general election. The amendment would partly fund the cash-strapped Medicaid Agency by transferring $184 million from the oil and gas account and from education funds.

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Alabama
6:02 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Gov. Bentley Signs Law Banning Texting While Driving

Montgomery, AL – Texting on Alabama's public roads will soon be prohibited under a law signed Tuesday by Gov. Robert Bentley.

Bentley says he believes the law will save lives, much like the state's statute requiring motorists to wear seat belts.

The bill prohibits sending text messages, instant messages and e-mails while behind the wheel. It provides exceptions for contacting emergency services and for using global position services.

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Alabama
6:01 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Chairman's Budget Cuts Fewer Alabama Teachers

Montgomery, AL – House budget committee Chairman Jay Love has devised an education budget that would cut fewer teachers' jobs than the one passed by the Alabama Senate.

Love outlined his proposed budget for the House Ways and Means-Education Committee on Tuesday. The committee will vote on the budget Wednesday and the House could consider it Thursday.

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Alabama
6:08 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Condoleezza Rice To Co-Chair Civil Rights Events

Birmingham, AL – Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is set to serve as co-chair of events for the 50th anniversary of Birmingham's civil rights activities in 1963.

Mayor William Bell on Monday announced Rice's participation in the commemoration. He says he expects to have more big names lined up for the events in the months to come.

Important events that year included Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from the Birmingham jail, the children's marches and the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church that killed four young girls.

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Alabama
6:03 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Proposed Ala. Legislative Plans Debut Wednesday

Montgomery, AL – The leaders of the Alabama Legislature's reapportionment committee intend to unveil their proposed plans Wednesday for drawing new legislative districts.

The Senate co-chairman, Republican Gerald Dial, says he will recommend Senate districts that don't pit any incumbent senators against one another.

The House co-chairman, Republican Jim McClendon, says people will have to wait until Wednesday to see if any incumbents get their districts combined in his House plan.

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Alabama
6:02 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Ala. House Expected To Consider New Pension Plan

Montgomery, AL – Newly hired public employees would pay less of their pay toward pension benefits and get smaller retirement checks than current public workers under a bill up for final passage in the Alabama House.

The House is expected to consider the bill shortly after coming into session Tuesday that would set up a new pension plan for newly hired public workers.

The bill has already passed the Senate and could go to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley if it passes the House,

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Alabama
6:08 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Justice Dept. Sends Letter On Ala. Immigration Law

Montgomery, AL – The U.S. Justice Department says Alabama's immigration law is having a significant impact on the state's Hispanic students.

The department writes in a letter to state Superintendent Tommy Bice that a review of state records shows the law has caused Hispanic students to skip and drop out of school in higher rates.

The letter released late on Thursday says the law has also chilled or prevented parental participation in children's education and made some schools less safe and welcoming for Hispanic students.

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Alabama
6:07 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Ala. Democrats Offer Maps For Legislative Seats

Montgomery, AL – Democrats in the Alabama Legislature have proposed what they say would be fair plans to redraw the state's 105 House districts and 35 Senate districts.

The Legislature must redraw district lines every 10 years after the results of the U.S. Census are released.

Lawmakers are expected to meet in a special session beginning May 14 to consider redistricting.

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Alabama
6:03 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Constitution Revision Going To Alabama Voters

Montgomery, AL – After years of talking about modernizing Alabama's 111-year-old Constitution, the Legislature is going to let voters decide in November if they want to revise the portions regulating corporations and banks.

Republican Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood worked for six years to get the two articles approved by the entire Legislature. He finally succeeded this week. The next step is a statewide referendum on the general election ballot Nov. 6.

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Alabama
6:03 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Alabama Streamlining Tax Filings For Businesses

Montgomery, AL – Gov. Robert Bentley has signed legislation designed to make it easier for businesses to handle tax filings.

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Alabama
6:28 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Date Pushed Back For Start Of BP Spill Trial

New Orleans, LA – A federal judge has pushed back the start of a civil trial for claims against BP PLC and other companies involved in the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier on Thursday set a date of Jan. 14, 2013. Trial had been scheduled to start on Nov. 8.

The litigation centers on the oil spill that began in April 2010 from BP's Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast.

The Justice Department and the state of Alabama had wanted the trial to start this summer, but BP asked for a January 2013 date.

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Alabama
6:26 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Ala. Legislature Creates Looting Law After Storms

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Legislature has voted to create the crime of looting because of experiences following the deadly tornadoes that hit Alabama a year ago.

Attorney General Luther Strange recommended the legislation. The Senate gave it final approval 27-0 Thursday. The bill now goes to the governor.

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Alabama
6:25 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Ala. Lawmakers Honor Marshall Space Flight Center

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Legislature paused briefly from the frantic activities of the final days of the 2012 session to honor NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

Marshall acting director Gene Goldman told legislators Thursday the space flight center still has an important mission even though the space shuttle program has been discontinued.

He said Marshall, which developed the Saturn V moon rocket, is currently working on the new ``Space Launch System,'' a long-range rocket to take ``us exploring again beyond Earth's orbit.''

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Alabama
6:11 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Judge Allows Gulf Oil Spill Settlement To Proceed

New Orleans, LA – A federal judge in New Orleans has preliminarily approved a proposed class-action settlement that would resolve billions of dollars in claims against BP over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's ruling Wednesday allows the settlement process to proceed, but he will hold a ``fairness hearing'' later this year before deciding whether to give his final approval.

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