Alabama

Alabama
6:07 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Health Groups Advocate Higher Ala. Cigarette Tax

Montgomery, AL – Many of the state's leading health care organizations are encouraging the Alabama Legislature to raise the state's cigarette tax by $1 a pack to prevent cutbacks in health care for the state's poor and elderly served by the state Medicaid Agency.

Eighteen organizations announced their support Friday, including the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, the Alabama Dental Association, the Alabama Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.

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Alabama
6:06 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Court Rules OnlineTravel Companies Can't Be Taxed

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that 16 online travel service companies, like Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia and Priceline, do not have to pay lodgings taxes on part of the fees they charge customers.

The court ruled in a lawsuit filed by nine municipalities including, Birmingham, Huntsville and Gulf Shores. The court found that the companies should not have to pay the tax because the travel service companies do not own or operate hotels in any of the cities involved in the lawsuit.

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Alabama
6:03 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Ala. Governor, Senate Differ Over Road Repairs

Montgomery, AL – Alabama's Republican-led Senate and the Republican governor disagree over the best way to borrow money to address the state's road and bridge needs.

The Senate has approved legislation providing for the state to sell up to $650 million in bonds over the next year. The bill by Sen. Paul Bussman now goes to the House. Gov. Robert Bentley said he's already working on a plan to pay for road and bridge construction that doesn't need legislative action. He said Bussman's bill is unnecessary.

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Alabama
5:56 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Alabama Education Assoc. Organizes Capitol Rally

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Education Association is organizing a rally Saturday afternoon at the state Capitol in Montgomery that is expected to draw educators from throughout the state.

AEA Executive Director Henry Mabry said the rally called ``Save Our Schools'' grew out of educators' concerns that their voices were not being heard by the governor and some legislators.

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Alabama
6:33 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Surgeon General To Talk About Smoking Illnesses

Montgomery, AL – With the U.S. surgeon general returning to her home state to talk about the dangers of smoking, some legislators are pushing an increase in the state cigarette tax, but they say it doesn't have much chance of passing the Legislature.

Regina Benjamin is scheduled to join the president of the state medical association and the state health officer in Birmingham on Friday to talk about smoking-related illnesses.

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Alabama
6:32 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Ala. Legislator Recounts Abortion For 1st Time

Montgomery, AL – The crowd attending the annual ``Pro-Life Legislative Day'' in Montgomery on Thursday got a surprise when Republican Rep. Ed Henry of Hartselle talked publicly for the first time about going with his pregnant girlfriend to have an abortion.

The freshman legislator from Hartselle said it happened in 1991. He told the crowd, ``I murdered my first child.''

He said the impact of it hit him nearly eight years later when his wife was pregnant with their daughter and they went for an ultrasound. He said he will live with regret for the rest of his life.

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Alabama
6:28 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Birmingham Schools To Be Investigated By State

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama State Board of Education wants an investigation into the embattled leadership of the state's third largest school district.

The state board voted Thursday to launch an investigative review of the government of the Birmingham City Board of Education. The board has been mired in personal feuds between members and allegations of open meetings violations.

The Birmingham News reports the city board in a Tuesday meeting made two separate motions to fire the besieged superintendent. Birmingham board members had called for the state to intervene.

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Alabama
6:26 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Bill To Restore Alabama Tuition Settlement Passes

Montgomery, AL – The Alabama Legislature has approved a bill aimed at restoring a settlement over Alabama's financially troubled prepaid college tuition plan.

The board of the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition plan had reached a settlement to pay tuition at 2010 rates rather than current rates, but the Alabama Supreme Court struck it down in March. The court said the settlement violated a law the Legislature passed in 2010 to provide extra funding to PACT. That law provided for the program to be 100 percent funded.

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Alabama
6:24 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Alabama Legislative Pay Change Advances To Senate

Montgomery, AL – A proposed constitutional amendment to tie the compensation of Alabama legislators to the state's median household income has cleared a state Senate committee.

The pay plan sailed through the Senate Constitution and Elections Committee unanimously Thursday. It has already passed the House. If approved by the Senate, it will be up for a statewide vote in the general election Nov. 6.

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Alabama
6:24 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Alabama Legislative Pay Change Advances To Senate

Montgomery, AL – A proposed constitutional amendment to tie the compensation of Alabama legislators to the state's median household income has cleared a state Senate committee.

The pay plan sailed through the Senate Constitution and Elections Committee unanimously Thursday. It has already passed the House. If approved by the Senate, it will be up for a statewide vote in the general election Nov. 6.

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Alabama
6:11 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Ala. Legislature Addresses Looting After Tornadoes

Montgomery, AL – Before the anniversary of the killer tornadoes on April 27, the Legislature may create a new crime that provides up to 10 years in prison for looting following a natural disaster.

The looting legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep. John Merrill of Tuscaloosa, cleared the House last month and the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, all by unanimous votes. All the bill needs to become law is approval by the Senate and signing by the governor. Merrill said he's optimistic that will happen before April 27.

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Alabama
6:09 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Opponents Mostly Dominate Immigration Bill Hearing

Montgomery, AL – More than 20 people have spoken at a public hearing on a bill to make changes to Alabama's ``toughest in the nation'' immigration law.

Many of the speakers at Wednesday's meeting of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee said the changes do not go far enough to fix what some called Alabama's ``terrible immigration law.'' Many wanted legislators to repeal the original immigration law.

Steve Jones, pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Birmingham, said the bill does not reflect the values of most Alabama residents,

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Alabama
6:08 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Senators Delay Work On Ala. Education Budget

Montgomery, AL – A state Senate committee has delayed work on Alabama's next education budget for one week.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee was scheduled to take up the education budget Wednesday, but the committee chairman, Republican Sen. Trip Pittman of Daphne, got it postponed it for one week because he said he's still talking with senators about their priorities.

That means the first committee vote on the education budget won't come until the legislative session is two-thirds over.

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Alabama
6:53 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Legislative Panel To Discuss Ala. Immigration Law

Montgomery, AL – Alabama legislators will begin the task of reviewing a bill that rewrites Alabama's toughest in the nation immigration law.

The bill by Republican Rep. Micky Hammon of Decatur was introduced last week and will be debated Wednesday morning at a meeting of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.

The bill was introduced in an attempt to ease some of the concerns that have been raised by religious groups and others to the new immigration law, approved by the Legislature last year.

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Alabama
6:12 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Rule Bans Commercial Harvest Of Ala. Turtles

Mobile, AL – The thriving Asian market for turtle meat is going to have to look elsewhere for the highly desirable meat.

A rule banning the commercial harvest of freshwater turtles passed in March by the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board went into effect on April 1. The Center for Biological Diversity says the rule makes Alabama one of the most protective states of wild turtles.

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