There's breaking budget news from several places this morning:
-- "President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say." (The New York Times)
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
Earlier this week, President Obama announced his new Brain Initiative. He said he wants $100 million to explore America's next great frontier in science: Mapping the human brain, to understand how the brains neurons and circuits communicate. But now that brain specialists have had a little time to reflect, some are wondering whether the president's announcement has more to do with politics and some good PR?
Automatic federal budget cuts that kicked in March 1 have had little initial impact in many parts of the government. For a few programs, however, the effect has been real and painful, as the government begins cutting $85 billion from its spending through the end of September.
Many of the earliest signs of the cuts are being seen on the local level, in state programs like education that rely in part on federal dollars.
The Alabama Senate has started a debate on easing some of the state's gun restrictions.
The Senate voted 26-7 Thursday to consider the bill, which was an indication of its support. The bill by Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale would allow workers to keep guns locked in their vehicles while at their jobs, and would allow people to get a lifetime permit to keep guns in their vehicles all the time.
The bill is supported by the National Rifle Association and opposed by some sheriffs and the Business Council of Alabama.
Some state employees and vendors who do business with the state are being notified that their personal information was accessed when hackers infiltrated a state computer system.
The state Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it was making the notifications, but wouldn't say how many state employees or vendors were affected. The department says the hackers accessed personal information such as names, Social Security numbers and taxpayer identification numbers, but they didn't access taxpayer records or tax returns.
The Alabama Legislature has passed legislation designed to attract Airbus suppliers to the state.
The Senate gave final approval to the bill 27-0 Thursday and sent it to the governor, who endorsed it. The bill limits lawsuits against a plane's manufacturer and suppliers to causes of action arising within 12 years after a plane is delivered. It applies only to commercial planes with at least 100 seats.
An Alabama Senate committee has stopped a bill that would have allowed the construction of public buildings without going through the traditional competition with sealed bids.
The chairman of the Senate Commerce, Transportation and Utilities Committee got his committee to vote Thursday to carry over indefinitely the bill that would create a new option for constructing public buildings. Chairman Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa said the construction industry was too divided over the bill, and the committee decided not to get involved.
Leaders of the Alabama Senate say they expect to consider a bill easing some of Alabama's gun restrictions.
The bill by Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale is on the Senate's proposed work agenda for Thursday. The bill is supported by the National Rifle Association and opposed by some sheriffs and the Business Council of Alabama.
It would allow people to carry a pistol in their car without getting a pistol permit, and it would allow people to keep guns locked in their vehicles at work.
The Alabama House is to vote on final passage of a bill to clear the names of the Scottsboro Boys.
The action comes more than 80 years after the nine young black men were convicted by all-white juries of raping two white women. Legislation allowing the state parole board to issue the pardons posthumously is scheduled to be first up in the House Thursday.
Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 11:27 am
Saying that on this "profoundly emotional day" he hoped that his state would serve as an example to the rest of the nation, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy sat down Thursday at 12:20 p.m. ET to sign into law what's being described as the most sweeping gun control legislation in the nation since the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Malloy praised lawmakers and those who helped craft the legislation for coming together "as few places in our nation have demonstrated the ability to do."
Los Angeles is getting ready to elect a new mayor, and the field is down to two: city comptroller Wendy Greuel and city councilman Eric Garcetti. Now, while Garcetti speaks often of his Mexican ancestry on his father's side, neither candidate is seen as a product of L.A.'s Latino community or political establishment.
And this is notable because of all the attention paid to the current mayor's background when he came to office. Here's NPR's Kirk Siegler.
President Obama was in Colorado Wednesday to highlight the state's gun control efforts as a model of what is possible for the country. Obama plans to visit Connecticut next week, to highlight that state's efforts.
Robert Mueller became FBI director just days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, he's been the U.S. government's indispensable man when it comes to national security.
But Mueller's term has expired, and the clock is ticking on an unprecedented extension that Congress gave him two years ago.
The first time the Obama White House thought about a replacement for Mueller, back in 2011, officials threw up their hands and wound up begging him to stay. Congress passed a special law to allow it. Then Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa put his foot down.