MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — One Alabama senator says it's time for the state to get out of the retail liquor business. State Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr is working on a bill for the legislative session beginning Feb. 5 that would do just that. Orr says closing state-run liquor stores and eliminating the 600 employees could save $46 million annually. He wants to use private liquor stores for all retail operations. The administrator of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Mac Gipson, says the current system is efficient.
Competing plans are being developed for achieving more efficiency in Alabama's law enforcement operations.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh unveiled legislation Friday that would consolidate and reorganize the state's many law enforcement functions into a new Public Safety Agency. It would include state troopers, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, marine police, the fire marshal and others. It would abolish the state Department of Homeland Security and divide its duties among other agencies.
The chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee is working on legislation to shift some Alabama judgeships to areas with heavy caseloads and backlogs in the court system.
Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster said Friday he will offer his bill when the Legislature convenes Feb. 5. It would set up a system to shift judicial positions when a circuit judge retires in a county with a low caseload.
Alabama House Republicans have announced an agenda for the upcoming legislative session of items that could put the state at odds with the Obama administration.
The agenda includes a measure aimed at slowing down Obama administration efforts to stiffen gun control regulations through federal laws or executive orders.
House Speaker Mike Hubbard proposed an amendment that would put the right to gun ownership in the Alabama Constitution. He says the amendment would give Alabama the "strongest gun protection" law in the country.
The Alabama Democratic Party is opening a field office in Birmingham.
The party has its headquarters near the Capitol in Montgomery. But party Chairman Mark Kennedy says it will have a field office in downtown Birmingham next to the Harbert Center. Kennedy plans to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon with Birmingham Mayor William Bell and the party's Jefferson County chairman, Richard Mauk.
Jefferson County and Montgomery County were two areas where the party did well in the November election.
The state of Alabama is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review part of its law cracking down on illegal immigration.
The state asked the judges Tuesday to review a section of the law that makes it a crime to assist, harbor or transport anyone who's in the country illegally.
Opponents of the law have called the section inhumane, but the state says it doesn't conflict with federal law. It also says the justices haven't reviewed a similar law in other states including Arizona.
Gov. Robert Bentley is creating a task force aimed at helping students better prepare for successful careers.
The governor signed an executive order Tuesday in Columbiana forming the College and Career Ready Task Force. He says it will bring together representatives of K-12 schools, two-year and four-year colleges and the business community to help the state offer a more coordinated approach to workforce development.
The French defense minister says France is preparing for a possible land assault in Mali, so it plans to increase its troop levels to 2,500. Back home in France, authorities are girding for possible terrorist attacks in response to their intervention. Eleanor Beardsley has that story from Paris.
Legislation has been prepared that would allow schools in a rural northwest Alabama county to train teachers and other school workers as reserve sheriff's deputies.
Democratic state Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow of Red Bay said he is having advertised a local bill that would allow workers in Franklin County and Russellville city schools to receive training as reserve deputies.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we get an update on developments in Mali in West Africa. That's a country known to many for its cultural heritage. French soldiers have started an assault to repel Islamist militants who have already taken northern territory. NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton is going to bring us up to date in just a few minutes.