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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Montgomery, AL – A bill making some changes to Alabama's immigration law has been approved by a House committee, but Democrats complained it does not go far enough alleviate concerns that the law allows police to engage in racial profiling.
Washington, D.C. – Members of a presidential commission that investigated the Gulf Oil spill say they are encouraged by safety improvements made by industry and the Obama administration, but give Congress poor marks for failing to enact major legislation newly two years after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Legislature is getting closer to clarifying the value of gifts that can be given to state employees and public education employees.
The Legislature rewrote Alabama's ethics law in late 2010 to allow only gifts of minimal value, but the law didn't give an amount. That caused questions about students' gifts for teachers. The House recently passed a bill to allow gifts of less than $25 in value.
Montgomery, AL – Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has made another effort to say animal cruelty is wrong, urging Alabama lawmakers to increase penalties for cockfighting.
Vick says in a statement Monday that Alabama's cockfighting law is the nation's ``weakest'' because the $50 fine is the maximum punishment. Vick has been outspoken against animal cruelty since he served 16 months in federal prison on a dog-fighting conviction.
Vick says he doesn't want others to make the same mistake of being cruel to animals.
Tuscaloosa, AL – The Tuscaloosa News has won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting for its coverage of a deadly tornado last April.
The Pulitzer judges announced the selection Monday afternoon.
The newspaper's former executive editor, Doug Ray, said the storms knocked out power for more than 48 hours. But the newspaper had enough generator power to run its computers and used social media to get out real-time updates and help make sense of what was happening in the city. The newspapers' print editions were done in Birmingham for two days.
Montgomery, AL – A Montgomery County grand jury has decided not to issue any indictments from investigating complaints that some Republican and Democratic organizations allegedly violated Alabama's campaign finance laws.
The grand jury issued a report citing several problems with the laws, including no individual being identified to be held responsible for any criminal violation. The grand jury says Alabama's new law banning transfers between political action committees does not make it clear whether it's the chairman, the treasurer or someone else who violates the law.