Politics & Government

It's All Politics
2:33 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Colorado's Undecided Voters Are A Hot Election Commodity

A rare thunderstorm produced hail, torrential rain and a double rainbow in downtown Fort Collins, Colo., last month.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 12:08 pm

Throughout the series First and Main this election season, Morning Edition is traveling to contested counties in swing states to find out what is shaping voters' decisions.

The series started in Florida and the hotly contested county that includes Tampa, then continued to a county in Wisconsin that voted twice for George W. Bush and then swung to Barack Obama.

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Solve This
2:32 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Candidates Say Little On Difficult Issue Of Housing

Despite millions of troubled mortgages around the country, housing hasn't been a major issue in the presidential race so far.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 12:08 pm

Housing continues to be a big issue for the economy, and for many voters. But so far it hasn't been a major issue in the presidential campaign. Perhaps that's because both sides agree that there's no easy fix for the problem of millions of troubled mortgages.

The Problem:

Cathy Busby and her husband co-owned a realty office in Denver when they bought their house in 2006. The next year, the market for houses dried up, leaving them with little income as their house lost value.

Now, she says, she considers herself "poverty level."

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Morning Edition
2:32 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Both Candidates Leave God Off The Campaign Trail

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 12:33 pm

Religion used to be everywhere in the presidential elections. George W. Bush courted conservative believers in 2004. In 2008, Sarah Palin excited evangelicals and — unexpectedly — so did Barack Obama.

What a difference a few years make. In 2007, then-candidate Obama used evangelical language to describe his Christian conversion: He was a young, secular community organizer who occasionally visited the local Chicago church, when one day he walked to the front of the sanctuary and knelt before the cross.

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Latin America
2:20 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Uruguay's Drugs Policy: Regulating Market For Pot

Supporters of legalization of cannabis in Montevideo march toward the Legislative Palace in May as part of the 2012 Global Marijuana March.
Miguel Rojo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 7:16 pm

Increasing drug use and narcotrafficking has made some Latin American countries among the most violent places on Earth. But tiny, progressive Uruguay, where it's always been legal to use marijuana, is leading the way with an alternative drug policy.

The government of President Jose Mujica has proposed a law that would put the state in charge of producing and selling marijuana to registered users.

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New Meth Law
5:13 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

New Law Makes It Harder To Buy Key Meth Ingredient

A new law looks to make it tougher for people to get a key ingredient needed to produce methamphetamine.
Radspunk Wikimedia Commons

A new law has taken effect that's aimed at making it tougher for people to get a key ingredient needed to produce the illegal drug methamphetamine.

At the same time, the new law insures that allergy sufferers will still have access to the same substance, pseudoephedrine, which can mean the difference between clogged sinuses and being able to breathe.

The new law stops a process called "smurfing" where manufacturers of meth ask various people to buy pseudoephedrine in small amounts from different locations.

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Tax Preparer Test
4:51 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

IRS Urges Tax Preparers To Schedule Testing

The Internal Revenue Service is urging Alabama tax preparers to take their competency test as the deadline nears.
Ray Tsang Flickr

The Internal Revenue Service is urging the nearly 6,000 tax preparers in Alabama to schedule their competency test now as the exam deadline nears.


The IRS said in a statement Monday that the appropriate test for most of the tax preparers will be the Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) competency test.


The RTRP test has been available since November 2011 and is being administered at 260 testing sites nationwide. However, if too many preparers delay, available seats will be scarce.

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Politics & Government
8:37 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Census: Alabamians Pay Second-Lowest Taxes

facebook.com

State, city and county governments in Alabama collected fewer tax dollars per resident than any other state except Idaho in fiscal 2010.

The Birmingham News (bit.ly/VeL2DQ) reports that figures from the Census Bureau show Alabama at $2,779 per resident, while Idaho was $10 lower at $2,769. The national average was $4,112 per person.

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Politics & Government
8:34 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Tuscaloosa County to Vote on Employee Pay Raises

Tuscaloosa County employees should soon know if they can expect a pay raise in the coming year.

The Tuscaloosa News reports (http://bit.ly/St1b7O ) that county commissioners are scheduled to take up the pay raise in their vote Wednesday on an $84.7 million budget for fiscal 2013.

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Politics & Government
8:30 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Bessemer Looks to Increase Budget to $41M for 2013

The Birmingham News/Toraine Norris

Officials in Bessemer will soon vote on a spending plan that would boost the Alabama city's overall budget by $2.4 million over the previous year.


The Birmingham News reports (http://bit.ly/PPYueo ) the Bessemer City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the $41 million budget for fiscal 2013.


The proposed budget slightly increases spending from $38.6 million in the fiscal year that ended Sunday. The new budget would include a 4-percent cost-of-living raise for city employees.

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Politics & Government
8:26 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Alabama GOP Sending Volunteers to Battlegrounds

fox10tv.com

Alabama's Republican Party chairman is traveling across the state to announce that the party will send volunteers to battleground states because Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is expected to carry Alabama by a wide margin.

Party Chairman Bill Armistead is calling the effort Alabama Battleground Patriots.


A party spokeswoman says Armistead plans stops Monday in Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile and Dothan. He will be in Hoover on Tuesday.


The Republican nominee for president has carried Alabama in every election since 1980.

Politics & Government
10:34 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Haikala to Take Federal Bench Monday in N. Alabama

blog.al.com The Birmingham News

A new federal judge will soon take the bench in Alabama.

New Orleans native Madeline Haikala will start her new job Monday as a U.S. magistrate judge hearing cases in a district composed of 31 counties in the northern part of Alabama. The Birmingham News reports (http://bit.ly/QpmFyA ) that Haikala is the first new magistrate judge in 14 years.

Magistrate judges hear federal misdemeanor cases and conduct pre-trial proceedings.

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Politics & Government
10:26 am
Sun September 30, 2012

District Attorney Retiring From 35th Circuit

District Attorney Tommy Chapman is stepping down from his post as district attorney for the 35th Judicial Circuit.
http://blog.al.com

The district attorney prosecuting cases in Monroe and Conecuh counties will soon retire.

Tommy Chapman will step down Monday from his post as district attorney for the 35th Judicial Circuit. Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Chapman's chief assistant, Steve Wadlington, to fill the remainder of Chapman's term.

Gov. Guy Hunt first appointed Chapman as the local district attorney in 1990. He was re-elected four times.

Politics & Government
4:58 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Army Plan Would Limit Lock Usage on Ala. Rivers

People fish at the downstream lock of he Claiborne Lock and Dam on the Alabama River Wednesday, June 29, 2011, near Claiborne, Alabama. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to restrict traffic through the locks to save money.
Press-Register/Mike Kittrell

State officials are criticizing a plan that would limit lock usage on the Alabama and Chattahoochee rivers.

Citing budget cuts and low river traffic, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said starting Oct. 7 it will allow commercial boats to transit the locks if boat operators make an appointment 72 hours in advance. The locks allow boats to bypass dams that obstruct river travel.

Recreational boats can use the locks only if the locks are being used for another purpose.

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Politics & Government
4:55 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Bentley Appoints Jay York to Mobile County Court

blog.al.com

Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed a workers compensation attorney to a judgeship in Mobile County.

Jay York will replace retiring District Judge Michael McMaken. The Mobile Press-Register (http://bit.ly/PAil07 ) reports that McMaken's last official day is Sunday.

York was among three lawyers recommended by the Mobile County Judicial Commission. By law, Bentley had to select one of the candidates endorsed by the commission.

Bentley said that York brings experience and "sound judgment" to the court.

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Politics & Government
3:24 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

No Massachusetts Murder Trial for Amy Bishop

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