Alabama

Alabama
6:08 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Alabama's Unemployment Rate Drops For 8th Month

Montgomery, AL – Alabama's unemployment rate has fallen for the eighth straight month to 7.3 percent for March.

That's down from a revised rate of 7.5 percent in February and a high of 10.0 percent in July. The state Department of Industrial Relations reports that the last time Alabama's unemployment rate was this low was December 2008. Alabama's rate was also below the national figure of 8.2 percent.

State Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said initial claims for unemployment have fallen to pre-recession levels.

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Alabama
6:11 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Thousands Displaced By Ala. Twisters

Tuscaloosa, AL – Thousands of people still lack permanent homes in Alabama, a year after a swarm of killer tornadoes pummeled the state.

The government says about 3,200 homeowners statewide are either receiving rental assistance or living in mobile homes provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The head of the state emergency management agency, Art Faulkner, says that number doesn't include people who were renting homes before the twisters. He says officials aren't sure how many displaced renters still might lack permanent housing.

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Alabama
6:10 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Alabama Restricting Some Cold, Allergy Medicines

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Senate has given final approval to a bill designed to fight the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine by restricting where cold and allergy medicine containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine can be sold.

The bill by Republican Rep. Blaine Galliher won approval in the House last month and cleared the Senate 27-4 on Thursday. It now goes to the governor for signing into law.

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Alabama
6:08 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Obama Honors Crimson Tide For BCS Championship

Washington, D.C. – President Barack Obama is honoring the University of Alabama football team for winning the BCS championship in January.

It was the Crimson Tide's 14th championship. Alabama entered the game ranked second and beat top-ranked Louisiana State University 21-0.

Obama says it was a ``fun season to watch'' but also a ``deeply meaningful season'' for the Crimson Tide.

Obama praised the team for their efforts in the Alabama community, noting the importance of athletes helping rebuild Tuscaloosa, Ala., after devastating tornadoes touched down in April 2011.

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Alabama
6:07 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Deputy Ag Secretary To Tout Women's Programs In Ala.

Montgomery, AL – The deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture wants women farmers in Alabama to know how the department can help them.

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan will give the keynote address at the National Women in Agriculture Association conference in Tuskegee on Thursday. She says she'll outline the department's programs to help women and minority farmers.

Merrigan says women and minorities are traditionally underserved, despite the fast-growing population of women in the agriculture industry.

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Alabama
6:03 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Immigration Bill Debate Stalls In Alabama House

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama House is expected to spend much of Thursday debating a bill that makes changes to Alabama's immigration law.

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Alabama
6:02 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Compromise Sought On Pay For Alabama Legislators

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama House and Senate are looking for a compromise on their different versions of a bill to tie legislators' pay to the state's median household income.

The House voted 77-8 Thursday and the Senate voted 30-2 to send the pay bill to a conference committee of six legislators to seek a compromise.

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Alabama
6:34 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Strange Sees Work On BP Case Coming To Fruition

Montgomery, AL – Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has spent much of the 15 months he has been in office pursuing efforts to recover losses by Alabama and other states because of the massive BP oil spill.

With the second anniversary of the April 20, 2010 spill coming Friday, Strange believes he can see light at the end of the tunnel.

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Alabama
6:33 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

House Panel Delays Vote On Ten Commandments Bill

Montgomery, AL – A state legislator has renewed his efforts to pass a constitutional amendment to allow copies of the Ten Commandment to be posted on walls in state buildings, including schools.

The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee on Wednesday delayed consideration of the bill by Rep DuWayne Bridges of Valley for a week so the committee could study whether or not the bill is constitutional. Bridges has introduced the bill several years in the past. The amendment would have to be approved by Alabama voters.

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Alabama
6:31 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Bill Would Require Doctor Give Morning After Pill

Montgomery, AL – Women seeking to take emergency contraception like the so-called ``morning after'' pill would have to do so in the presence of a doctor under a bill before the Alabama Legislature.

A Senate panel approved the measure on Wednesday, sending it before the full chamber. An earlier version would have required women to undergo an exam by a physician before taking the pill.

The proposal also requires a follow-up visit to determine whether the contraception was effective.

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Alabama
6:28 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Proposed Alabama School Budget Contains Cuts

Montgomery, AL – A state Senate committee has approved an education budget that reduces funding for K-12 schools and higher education next year.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee voted Wednesday to approve a $5.5 billion education budget for the 2012-2013 school year that is about $150 million smaller than this year's budget. The state expects to take in about the same amount of education revenue next year as this year, but a state law enacted last year limits how much can be spent in order to build up a reserve. That's why the proposed budget is less.

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Alabama
6:28 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Panel OKs Bill To Allow Home Sale Of Some Goods

Montgomery, AL – An Alabama state Senator took action after a county health department threatened to shut down a constituent's home bakery.

Sen. Rusty Glover says an old woman from his district would bake and sell cakes from her house, until the health department threatened to shut her down if she didn't submit to an inspection.

A Senate panel on Wednesday signed off on Glover's bill to exempt that type of so-called cottage industry from inspection. Alabamians would be allowed to sell from their homes baked goods, canned jams or jellies or dried herbs.

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Alabama
6:26 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Ala. Senate Panel Changes Charter School Bill

Montgomery, AL – An Alabama state Senate panel approved a number of changes to its charter schools bill, including a requirement that the people operating the schools be U.S. citizens and Alabama residents.

Republican sponsor Sen. Dick Brewbaker also wants charter schools to keep detailed records of students who drop out or transfer in the middle of the year in order to better gauge their effectiveness.

Charter schools receive taxpayer money, but are run by private companies and aren't subject to the same rules as public schools.

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Alabama
6:24 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Judge Asked To Sign Off On BP Oil Spill Settlement

New Orleans, LA – BP and a team of plaintiffs' attorneys have presented a federal judge with the details of a proposed class-action settlement designed to resolve billions of dollars in economic damage claims spawned by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company and lawyers representing more than 100,000 individuals and businesses are asking U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier to give his preliminary approval to the agreement filed Wednesday in New Orleans.

Barbier hasn't indicated when he will rule.

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Alabama
6:23 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Ala. Legislature Approves Tornado Shelter Bill

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Legislature has approved a bill to assign oversight of prefabricated storm shelters to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

A compromise version of the bill cleared the House and Senate on unanimous votes Tuesday and now goes to the governor. A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley said he's reviewing the bill.

The bill requires manufacturers to post a $20,000 bond with EMA, and it requires random inspections of manufacturers and installers of residential storm shelters for fewer than 17 people.

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