Huntsville

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is giving an open-ended call for next week's special session.  He says lawmakers can address any measure that would provide revenue to the state's ailing general fund budget.

The governor announced the items up for consideration in the special session. The governor wants a cigarette tax increase, the end of a state income tax deduction Alabama allows for FICA taxes paid and other budgetary changes.

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

Additional witness testimony is expected today in the federal trial of a former Madison police officer accused of using excessive force during a police stop.

Former officer Eric Parker is facing charges of civil rights violations after he seriously injured an Indian grandfather. His trial is scheduled to continue today in Huntsville.

Alabama and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Aug 19, 2015

What do Kermit The Frog, Alabama Coach Nick Saban, and Lady Gaga all have in common? Each of these celebrities stepped up to take what’s called the A-L-S ice bucket challenge. By August of last year, the internet based fundraising campaign for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease was credited with generating over one hundred million dollars for research and care. APR’s MacKenzie Bates headed to Huntsville to see how getting ice cold water dumped on your head is helping people with the disease…

The mayor of Huntsville turned down local firefighters' request for a pay raise.

Mayor Tommy Battle says he won't seek higher pay for firefighters in next year's budget after an audit presented at last night’s city council meeting found the current wages are fair.

The Huntsville Firefighters Association has been pushing for a raise since February. It says starting salaries of city firefighters and police officers should at least be equal. Currently rookie police officers make about $2,200 a year more.

People who sell alcohol and those who drink it are expected at two public hearings today.

The Alabama Alcohol Beverages Study Commission will convene today in Huntsville and Hoover.

A hometown company will design a massive bridge that's being planned across the Mobile River on Alabama's coast.

The state transportation agency says Thompson Engineering will develop plans for a new Interstate 10 bridge across the river. The existing bridge across Mobile Bay will also be widened.

Some work will begin almost immediately while details of the contract are being completed.

The project's goal is to ease traffic snarls that occur regularly in Mobile.

State lawmakers from Mobile and Baldwin Counties are drafting legislation to try and keep a large portion of the BP oil settlement money near Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

The proposed bill would request $500 million of the $1 billion currently destined for the state’s General Fund budget to instead be dedicated to the Gulf region. The projects that legislators would like to see funded in the area are primarily major road construction.

A Tuscaloosa abortion clinic is suing the state of Alabama over a regulation that could cause the facility to permanently close.

The West Alabama Women's Center filed the federal lawsuit against state health officials last week. The suit deals with a regulation requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, or a contract with a physician who does to handle patients with complications.

The Alabama Senate is headed to a budget vote as they wrap up a session marred by frustrations and disagreements over a hole-filled general fund.

Senators are expected to vote this after  on a budget that includes significant cuts to state agencies. Lawmakers failed to reach an agreement this session on revenue.

Democratic Senator Bobby Singleton says Republican legislators should be ashamed of the budget.

Football, Bowling and Rifle are coming back to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

President Doctor Ray Watts decided Monday morning to reverse the earlier decision after meetings with UAB supporters went through the weekend. 

Doctor Watts announced six months ago the University could not support the football, bowling and rifle programs due to financial reasons.  UAB commissioned a report saying it would cost $49 million over five years to field a competitive program.

The Alabama Senate will start debating some sweeping changes to the state's prison system today.

Republican Senator Cam Ward is bringing the bill to the Senate floor, which would change sentencing and probation standards to try and reduce prison overcrowding.

The proposed legislation is based on a year of study by the state prison reform task force. One of the main changes is the creation of a new Class D felony level, which will keep low-level, non-violent offenders out of prison entirely.

Alabama state agencies could see funding cuts of 11.5 percent or higher next fiscal year unless lawmakers find additional money.

Members of the legislative General Fund committees on Wednesday distributed copies of a rough draft of a budget without additional revenue.

House General Fund budget chairman Rep. Steve Clouse said the results were "bleak."

Yesterday was a busy day in the Alabama Senate. Two bills passed the Senate floor and are on their way to be heard in the House of Representatives.

The first is a bill that looks to change how Alabama recruits businesses and industry. The Alabama Jobs Act would create a pay-as-you-go model for incentives like tax breaks that the state uses to recruit companies.

Under the old model, the state would provide millions of dollars of funding up-front. This bill will allow Alabama to peg those incentives to the companies' performance.

Cal Tech

Freezing precipitation is causing more travel problems and delays in north Alabama.

Icy spots forced officials to close a number of roads in the Tennessee Valley early Monday. That includes Memorial Parkway in Huntsville.

Huntsville police removed barricades from the Parkway as temperatures warmed and conditions improved.

But more than two dozen school systems across the region delayed opening because of the threat of slippery roads, and at least two systems closed for the day.

Title: Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama
Author: Hester Bass
Illustrator:  E. B. Lewis
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 28
Price: $16.99 (Hardcover)

Title:  The Cat's Pajamas
Author & Illustrator:  Daniel Wallace
Publisher: Inkshares: Crowdfunded Publishing
Pages: 28
Price: $18.00 (Hardcover)

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