Alabama

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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Alabama
6:10 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Ala. Senate Says Count OT On Public Workers' Pensions

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Senate has voted to count some overtime pay toward the pensions for Alabama's public employees.

The Senate rewrote a House-passed bill to allow public employees to include overtime pay that's up to 20 percent of their regular pay. The bill passed 33-0 Wednesday and now must return to the House for review of the Senate's changes.

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Alabama
6:08 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Mass. Gov. Slams Ala. And Ariz. On Immigration

Boston, MA – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is slamming Alabama and Arizona over their tough immigration policies.

The Boston Globe (http://bo.st/IsVl0x ) reports that in a speech earlier this week at Tufts University, Patrick said the actions of states on the issue have been ham-fisted, self-defeating and even racist. He also calls much of the debate over immigration reform hysterical and poisonous.

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Alabama
6:07 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Ala. House Committee Approves 2 Abortion Bills

Montgomery, AL – Two bills aimed at making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion have passed an Alabama House committee. A public hearing was held in a Senate committee, but no vote was taken on another bill that is seen as a step toward banning abortion all together

The House Health committee approved on a voice vote Wednesday a bill to allow the state to opt out of providing health insurance for abortions under provisions of the new federal health care law. The committee also approved a bill that establishes new rules for abortion clinics.

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Alabama
6:03 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

US Appeals Court Considers New Gulf Drilling Plans

Atlanta, GA – The federal appeals court in Atlanta is considering a challenge from environmental groups seeking to block Shell from drilling 10 new deepwater wells off the coast of Alabama, one of the first drilling approvals since the disastrous 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.

Attorneys from the Southern Environmental Law Center and other groups Wednesday told the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that federal regulators ``rubber-stamped'' Shell's plans.

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Alabama
6:13 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Ala. High Court Allows City Bankruptcies To Proceed

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Supreme Court paved the way for the city of Pritchard to move forward with a nearly 3-year-old filing for bankruptcy.

The ruling released on Friday says cities don't need to have bond debt in order to declare bankruptcy. That means Pritchard's filing can move forward, but also paves the way for Jefferson County's largest-in-history municipal bankruptcy.

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Alabama
6:11 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Bill Passes Setting Up Rating System For Schools

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama House has passed a bill that would establish a comprehensive system to grade the performance of schools and school systems.

The bill by Republican Rep. Terri Collins of Decatur passed the House late Thursday 89-5. It now goes to the Senate.

Collins said the ratings would give parents a way of knowing how their children's schools are performing. She said the ratings would by based on a data-based assessment of school performance. Schools would be given a grade of A, B, C, D or F just like students receive on their report cards.

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