Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery today for their third attempt at balancing the state’s general fund budget.

The special session begins at 5 PM this afternoon.

So far, legislators haven’t been able to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Todd Strange has been re-elected to serve his third term as the mayor of Montgomery.

In the capital city’s mayoral election yesterday, Strange carried 56 percent of the vote. Former U.S. Congressman Artur Davis finished at a distant 27 percent after reportedly spending over $600,000 of his own money on his campaign.

Davis said in his concession speech that he still intends to be the next mayor of Montgomery, it just may be four years later than he had hoped.

Federal judges want lawyers for black lawmakers to come up with their own map for redrawing Alabama's legislative districts.

The request came Tuesday in Montgomery during a hearing over the new voting lines.

Lawyers for black legislators contend Republicans illegally sorted voters by race when they drew new district lines.

The three-judge panel put tough questions to both sides during two hours of arguments.

The fight over political redistricting in Alabama is headed back to federal court.

A three-judge panel will hear arguments later today in Montgomery over whether legislators relied too much on race when they drew legislative district lines.

Alabama education professionals are attending this week’s MEGA Conference in Mobile.

Over 2000 individuals preregistered for the event including teachers, administrators, and school nurses. The conference provides professional learning opportunities to help educators enhance their job skills. It's also a chance to build skills to work with students in the classroom. The conference runs until Friday at noon.

The United States Supreme Court says same sex marriages are legal nationwide, but marriage licenses aren't going out yet in Tuscaloosa County.

Dozens of activists gathered outside the County Courthouse to celebrate the decision. But inside the courthouse, clerks had no plans to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Hardy McCollum says he's following the law...

The United States Supreme Court upheld a ruling yesterday declaring that tax subsidies for health care from the federal government are constitutional.

In Alabama, that’s good news for more than 130,000 people that purchased insurance through the Affordable Care Act. In most cases, the federal tax breaks on those plans were what made them affordable enough to purchase.

The TVA’s Widows Creek power plant near Stevenson is shutting down soon, and it’s already found a new tenant.

Google plans to build a $600 million data center at the site with construction beginning next year.

The data center will be Google’s seventh in the U.S. and fourteenth worldwide. They expect to add 75 to 100 high-paying jobs to the north Alabama region once the new data center is operational. The facility is expected to support general Internet traffic as well as the many user services that Google offers.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard is urging the Alabama Senate to approve an austere budget before addressing any short- or long-term revenue bills.

Hubbard said Thursday taking action too quickly could have "unintended consequences."

The House passed the state's general fund budget with $200 million in cuts earlier this month.

Gov. Robert Bentley sought $541 million in new taxes this year and has threatened to veto any budget that includes cuts to the state's $1.88 billion budget.

Alabama workers are facing layoffs at the state’s Blue Bell Creameries facilities and at Walter Energy.

Blue Bell is trimming its workforce nationally due to the temporary closure over listeria concerns. Over 250 Blue Bell employees in the state will be temporarily furloughed, with another 45 losing their jobs entirely. Blue Bell recently stated that they’ll be cutting a third of their workforce nationwide.

President Barack Obama will be in Birmingham this afternoon to talk about the economy.

The President will be speaking at Lawson State Community College on consumer protection issues and the contrast between his vision for the American middle class and Republican efforts to undermine that vision.

According to a White House press release, Congressional Republicans are continuing to roll back progress toward a safer financial system and stronger economy, encouraging the types of abuses that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

  The daughters of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and Governor George Wallace will meet with Governor Robert Bentley today. It’s all part of a ceremony to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march.    It was on this date in 1965 that Dr. King led the procession to Alabama’s State Capitol. APR spoke with Bernice** King during the remembrance of “bloody Sunday” in Selma.

She says voting rights are being challenged in the U.S. and the fight has to go on.

State prosecutors say indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard is once again manufacturing investigation leaks to distract the public from his criminal wrongdoing.

Yesterday, prosecutors asked a judge to reject Hubbard's motion to dismiss their indictment. Hubbard claimed there were violations of the grand jury secrecy act and other problems with the investigation against him.

State prosecutors said Hubbard's claims are baseless, and a “bogus narrative”.

“At that time, we’d been singing songs, we shall overcome, and before I’d be a slave…be dead and buried in my grave,” says Bennie Lee Tucker. He’s seventy four years old, and he spent the last fifty five of those years here in Selma. “And we gonna let nobody turn us around, no more Governor Wallace…no more white folk,” he says.

On the front porch of his home on Eugene Avenue, Tucker recalls March 7th, 1965. It was the height of the voting rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior wasn’t the name on everyone’s mind that day.

Mohammed Fairouz
Samantha West

This weekend, tens of thousands of people will make their way Selma to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

This means a lot a work for city workers to prepare for the crowds. James Benderson is the director of city planning and development for Selma. He says they have a lot of help.

“We have state police agencies, a lot of the local police municipalities within the area will be helping out. We have the national parks service helping out, so it’s a collaborative effort between a lot of different agencies making it work out for everybody.”


          Weather forecasters along the Tennessee Valley are warning residents of the Shoals to be on guard for icy roads tonight and tomorrow. The overall threat of snow and sleet has eased over much of Alabama. But, towns like Florence could still see some of the wintry weather that been plaguing areas of New England. Lauderdale and Colbert Counties are under a winter storm warning until 6 p-m. this evening while the majority of the northern counties are a winter weather advisory for most of Monday.

Montgomery citizens with unpaid traffic tickets may be getting a reprieve.

The Montgomery County District Court recently announced it will offer amnesty to those wanted for arrest in relation to traffic tickets over 90 days unpaid.

To be eligible, citizens must have a 90-day old unpaid traffic ticket and be wanted for arrest. Under the new program, those that pay half of the outstanding balance on the ticket will have their arrest warrant cancelled. Participants will then have six weeks to pay off the remainder of the balance.

Jordan Kirtley via

One of the best-known planes from World War II is scheduled to visit Montgomery in October, giving area residents the chance to fly in it.

The restored B-17 bomber, known as the "Flying Fortress," will be at Dannelly Field and available for tours and flights from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that the plane is one of few remaining B-17s in the world that is still airworthy.

A building that has stood out in Montgomery for many years is getting a new role.

Mayor Todd Strange says an Indiana couple has purchased the Bell Building in downtown Montgomery. The 187-foot-tall office building was constructed in 1907 by businessman Newton Bell, and it was the tallest building in downtown for years.

The Montgomery City Council has approved a law letting nightclubs employ armed security guards.

Council members say they hope the ordinance passed Tuesday will prevent violence like a shooting that left two people dead at a now-defunct bar in December.

The new law lets nightclubs use armed security workers as long as they are certified by the Alabama Security Regulatory Board.

Council member Jon Dow says the workers will have to go through weapons training, and they'll have to keep a certification card with them at all times.

USIA / Wikimedia Commons

Montgomery is observing the 100th anniversary of the birth of civil rights icon Rosa Parks with a public art project downtown.

A 96-foot by 40-foot wall is covered in chalkboard paint and has space for people to complete the sentence "Before I die I want to..."

Montgomery's director of development, Chad Emerson, told the Montgomery Advertiser that citizens came up with the idea and volunteers did the work.

The Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless is gearing up to count the number of homeless people in Montgomery and conduct interviews to determine their needs.

Homeless population counts are required for community agencies to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Volunteers will target areas of the city where homeless people are known to gather and will distribute food, hygiene items, blankets and coats.

Volunteers in 2012 found 144 people living on the streets of Montgomery, and 507 staying in local shelters.

Feds Provide $100K Grant For Passenger Rail Study

Aug 16, 2012
Bruce Fingerhood / Flickr

Federal railway officials are providing $100,000 to study the possibility of passenger train service linking Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham. The Federal Railroad Administration said Thursday it is earmarking the money in response to an application from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Amtrak used to run passenger trains linking the three cities, and the study will look at restoring the service.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The victims slain by a gunman in a Wisconsin temple will be honored during a memorial in Alabama. The Civil Rights Memorial Center will join churches and other organizations Sunday to mark the attack the killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. The gunman, Wade Michael Page, took his own life after shooting at police responding to the scene. In Alabama, the event will be held in front of the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, which honors those who died during the Civil Rights movement. The memorial is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Maggie Martin/APR News

When you go to any cemetery, you hear the sound of weed cutters and lawn mowers carefully cutting grass around graves for maintenance. But at Lincoln Cemetery, it’s a new sound of progress.

“We’re looking at a cemetery that has been neglected for many years that right now we are trying to restore and save it,” says volunteer Phyllis Armstrong, as she carefully navigates through the cemetery. She’s been cleaning up Lincoln for a decade and is familiar with its dark history.