Politics & Government

Politics & Government
9:57 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Senate Approves Gun Bill

The Alabama Senate has approved a bill to allow people to carry loaded handguns in their vehicles without getting pistol permit.

The bill by Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale cleared the Senate 20-7 Wednesday night and now goes to the House for consideration.

Currently, people without a pistol permit can carry a handgun in their vehicles provided it is unloaded and out of reach. They need to buy a pistol permit from a county sheriff to carry a loaded gun in their vehicles. Beason said citizens shouldn't have to buy a permit to protect themselves.

Politics & Government
9:55 am
Thu March 20, 2014

House Approves Legislative Reorganizing Bill

Trance Mist Flickr

The House of Representatives has approved a bill that would reorganize much of the legislative branch of state government.

Representatives voted 64-30 for the bill Thursday.

Republicans said the changes would streamline a hodgepodge of existing oversight. Democrats expressed concerns that it will give the majority party too much power over legislative functions.

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Politics
4:06 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Obama's Surgeon General Nominee Stuck In Limbo

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 5:37 am

President Obama's nominee for surgeon general has a medical degree and an MBA, but his confirmation is being held up in the Senate because of special-interest politics and Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns.

It's All Politics
4:04 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

White House Launches Climate Change Data Website

People walk along Venice Beach in Los Angeles. A new climate-focused U.S. government website will provide data on sea level rise and coastal flooding.
Damian Dovarganes AP

The White House on Wednesday rolled out a new initiative designed to make climate data more accessible to researchers and industries trying to adapt to global warming.

The project includes the introduction of a climate-focused section of the federal government's open data platform at climate.data.gov; an innovation challenge to solicit ideas from the private sector to demonstrate coastal flooding; and collaboration with companies like Google and Ersi to provide technological support.

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General Fund-Prisons
3:38 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Governor Bentley Supportive Of Prison Ombudsman

A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley says he's supportive of $250,000 added to the state General Fund budget for hiring a prison ombudsman in the governor's office.
Credit The Associated Press

A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley says he's supportive of $250,000 added to the state General Fund budget for hiring a prison ombudsman in the governor's office.

Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr added the money to the General Fund budget when his committee approved it on Wednesday. Orr says the ombudsman would start by focusing on complaints from inmates at Tutwiler Prison for women in Wetumpka. Some inmates at Tutwiler have complained about sexual abuse. Orr says the ombudsman would give the governor a direct line to what's going on in Tutwiler.

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Lethal Injection Drugs
3:34 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Committee Approves Secrecy For Execution Drugs

Alabama lawmakers are getting close to approving a bill that would keep secret the identities of manufacturers and suppliers of lethal injection drugs used in state executions.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

Alabama lawmakers are getting close to approving a bill that would keep secret the identities of manufacturers and suppliers of lethal injection drugs used in state executions.

The Senate Health Committee approved the legislation Wednesday in a 7-0 vote. It now moves to the Alabama Senate floor.

Rep. Lynn Greer, a Rogersville Republican, says states are struggling to get execution drugs because pharmacies and companies fear lawsuits and backlash from death penalty opponents.

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Politics
3:31 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Even Amid Tensions, Russia's PR Team Is At Home In D.C.

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 6:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Even as the United States and Europe ratchet up pressure on Russia, the Russian Federation has a lobbying team here in Washington. That might seem odd but it's not unusual, as NPR's Peter Overby reports.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: There's no mistaking how the United States feels toward the Russian Federation. Today, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration strongly condemns Russia's use of force in Crimea.

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Politics
3:31 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Capitol's Immigration Stagnation Gets Dreamers Moving On The Border

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 6:59 pm

With deportations at a record high under the Obama administration, and with immigration reform stalled in Congress, Dreamer protest groups are trying to keep the issue alive with actions of their own.

General Fund
3:18 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Alabama State Employees Might Get $400 Bonus

State employees may end up with a one-time pay bonus of $400 in the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
Credit MoneyBlogNewz / Flickr

State employees may end up with a one-time pay bonus of $400 in the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr of Decatur announced he will propose the bonus when the Senate considers the state General Fund budget.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-General Fund Committee approved a General Fund budget for non-education agencies Wednesday that would spend $1.84 billion. That's $15 million more than the budget approved by the House.

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Politics & Government
7:25 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Marijuana Oil Bill Moving Ahead

Laurie Avocado Wikimedia Commons

A proposal to study the impact of using a marijuana derivative to treat seizures is one step closer to becoming state law.

A House Committee on Tuesday voted to fund a $1 million University of Alabama At Birmingham study on the effectiveness of using cannabidiol to control seizures.

Parents of children with seizure disorders are seeking the marijuana oil, which does not get users high, based on anecdotal evidence that it is effective.

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Politics & Government
6:55 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Alabama House Passes Education Budget

The Associated Press

The House of Representatives narrowly approved an education budget that divided lawmakers over the lack of a teacher pay raise.

Representatives approved the $5.9 billion budget in a 51-47 vote Tuesday.

Tuscaloosa Republican Rep. Bill Poole says the plan puts more money toward insurance. He says that should help avoid large premium increases for current and retired education employees.

Poole argued that was the best use of limited funds. Democrats contended teachers deserve a raise after going several years without one.

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Politics
4:08 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Is Organizing For Action Too Close To The White House?

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Next we're going to unravel another potential political scandal. It involves a tax-exempt advocacy group with ties to President Obama. Organizing for Action is saying it broke its own rules against hooking up big donors with White House officials. Critics are unimpressed. NPR's Peter Overby breaks it down for us.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, OFA. Hey.

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Politics
4:08 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Potential Charges Against Incumbent Throw D.C. Mayor's Race Up In Air

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:28 am

The possible indictment of incumbent D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has turned what many expected to be a routine election into a referendum on whether voters trust him.

The Salt
5:58 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

A Bittersweet Goodbye: White House Pastry Chef To Move On

Among Bill Yosses' many confectionary creations for the first family: this nearly 300-pound gingerbread model of the White House, on display in the State Dining Room in November 2012. The house featured not just Bo, the family dog, but also a vegetable garden.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 6:58 pm

The first family must be crust fallen.

Bill Yosses, the White House pastry chef, is moving to New York in June.

"Though I am incredibly sad to see Bill Yosses go, I am also so grateful to him for his outstanding work," first lady Michelle Obama said in a statement. She credited Yosses as "a key partner helping us get the White House Kitchen garden off the ground and building a healthier future for our next generation."

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It's All Politics
5:47 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Obama's Foreign Policy: More Second-Term Misses Than Hits

Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions are beyond President Obama's control, something that holds true for most of the foreign policy issues vexing the U.S. president's second term.
Sergei Ilnitsky AP

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 6:43 pm

Second-term presidents who find their ability to shape domestic affairs limited by congressional constraints often view foreign policy as the arena in which they can post some successes.

Ronald Reagan had his second-term breakthrough with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union's general secretary. Bill Clinton had the U.S. lead its NATO allies into taking military action against the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosevic. Much further back in time, Woodrow Wilson successfully negotiated the League of Nations Treaty (though he couldn't win Senate passage for it).

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