Politics & Government

Politics, elections, law, military and veteran's affairs

Thousands of people still awaiting tax refunds

Jul 9, 2012

State officials say more than 25,000 individuals or married couples who are owed income tax refunds still haven't gotten them.

The state has paid more than a million personal income tax refunds so far this fiscal year.

Revenue Department spokeswoman Carla Snellgrove said state officials have sent personal income tax refunds totaling $480.8 million to 1,042,192 individuals or couples from Oct. 1 through Friday. The state's 2012 fiscal year started Oct. 1.

Video surveillance added at Alabama Statehouse

Jul 9, 2012
black indoor surveillance camera
psammy / Wikimedia Commons

Legislative committee rooms at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery are getting video surveillance equipment.

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security announced it has awarded a grant of $72,836 to perform the work. Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier is a former legislator. He says the investment will protect legislators, staff and visitors to the Statehouse.

Officials say the equipment is being added in space previously used by the state attorney general that has now been converted to meeting rooms for legislative committees.

Setting the stage for more election-year debate over taxes and economic policy, President Obama this morning challenged Republicans to support a plan to extend for one year — but only for families earning less than $250,000 annually — the so-called Bush tax cuts.

Republicans want the tax cuts, which expire at the end of 2012, to continue for everyone. Obama says it's time for wealthier taxpayers to pay more because that will help narrow future budget deficits.

The Nation: The Public Wants Public Sector Jobs

Jul 9, 2012

Bryce Covert is the Editor of the Roosevelt Institute's New Deal 2.0 blog and a writer for The Nation.

It's no secret anymore (particularly since Obama's The-Private-Sector-Is-Doing-Fine-Gate) that there have been huge numbers of government worker layoffs during the recovery. Many are rightly pointing out that this is only making the jobs crisis worse. But what's behind those losses?

There's been lots of talk about how the Supreme Court's landmark decision to uphold the health care law could affect the federal Medicaid program and President Obama's political standing. But days after the historic ruling, lawyers say they're still teasing out the consequences for other key areas of the law — including civil rights.

At first blush, it might seem odd that a case about the Affordable Care Act would send civil rights experts scrambling back to their law books.

The Nation: Threats In The Health Care Ruling

Jul 2, 2012

Aziz Huq is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School, and previously litigated national security cases at the Brennan Center for Justice

Some Alabama boards not following immigration law

Jun 28, 2012

Some state regulatory boards aren't abiding by a requirement in Alabama's new immigration law that they check the legal residency of people getting licenses to do business in the state.

The state Examiners of Public Accounts issued reports saying the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board and the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission have ``not taken action to comply with state law that requires its licensees to be either United States citizens or lawfully present in the United States.''

Governor Bentley disappointed with health care ruling

Jun 28, 2012

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he is ``deeply disappointed'' with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding much of the federal health care legislation.

Bentley issued a statement shortly after the Supreme Court's health care ruling was announced saying that the health care act created more regulation and bureaucracy.

Bentley calls the health care act the worst legislation to come out of Congress. He says the legislation must be repealed.

Interactive: Inside The Health Care Ruling

Jun 28, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Affordable Care Act. Use this interactive to see key portions of the ruling.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A federal agency says it has the legal authority to give Georgia more water from a disputed reservoir, though it has not made a final decision on how much to release.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in documents released Tuesday that it has the legal ability to give metro Atlanta communities access to 705 million gallons of water per day from Lake Lanier on the Chattahoochee River to meet needs through 2030.

That reservoir is the focus of a long-running legal dispute between Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

Gov. Robert Bentley picks new mental health leader

Jun 26, 2012

The governor has picked Jim Reddoch to take over as mental health commissioner when Zelia Baugh steps down at the end of the week.

Baugh joined Gov. Robert Bentley's Cabinet in January 2011. She said Tuesday she is leaving because her family needs most of her attention now.

Attorneys say a $64 million court judgment against VictoryLand casino in Macon County and its owner, Milton McGregor, won't be affected by the Macon County sheriff being dropped from the litigation.

Lucky Palace and 15 charities sued VictoryLand, McGregor and Sheriff David Warren, alleging they worked together to keep a second casino from being built in the central Alabama county to compete with VictoryLand. A jury in May returned a $64 million verdict against McGregor and VictoryLand. It ruled the sheriff misinterpreted the county's rules for electronic bingo.

Romney Outraises Obama In May

Jun 22, 2012



And with no primary opponent to worry about, President Obama's campaign had nearly a full year's head start for fundraising over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But as NPR's S.V. Date reports, the president's advantage is rapidly disappearing.

Auburn Toomer's Corner poisoning trial delayed

Jun 21, 2012
Toomer's Corner in Auburn Alabama
hz536n/George Thomas / Flickr

A judge is delaying the trial of an Alabama fan accused of poisoning Auburn's cherished Toomer's Corner oak trees.

Defense attorneys for Harvey Updyke have asked the judge to move the trial to a different location. Judge Jacob Walker said Thursday that he would set a hearing date to consider the request.

Siegelman to face resentencing hearing Aug. 3

Jun 21, 2012

Authorities have set a date for the resentencing of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

Siegelman is scheduled to appear in federal court for the resentencing on Aug. 3 in Montgomery. He is out of prison on an appeal bond after his 2006 bribery conviction.

The U.S. Supreme Court this month rejected Siegelman's latest appeal.

Current Program Headlines

Jun 21, 2012

Talladega, AL – The starter's flag has already dropped to signal the beginning of this year's race for the White House. We used the imagery of a starters flag since the world of politics and NASCAR will meet here in Alabama on Saturday. A conservative political organization will be at Talladega this weekend to persuade fans to vote. Alabama Public Radio's Maggie Martin sat down with Ned Ryun, the founder and President of American Majority, to talk about the effort.

Tuscaloosa, AL – Alabama Public Radio's Ryan Vasquez talks with APR reporter Stan Ingold about last night's Republican rally in Birmingham ahead of Alabama's primary election. Stan spent the day at the event, attended by candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Ryan and Stan discuss all four of the GOP presidential candidates and what Alabama's primary could mean for the parties eventual nominee.

Birmingham, Alabama – Alabama Public Radio's Maggie Martin talks with APR reporter Stan Ingold about last night's Republican rally in Birmingham ahead of Alabama's primary election. Stan spent the day at the event, which featured comments by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and supporters of Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama – Republican Presidential contender Rick Santorum stopped by Tuscaloosa ahead of Tuesday's primary election in Alabama, and Mississippi. The former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator pressed the flesh at Dreamland Bar-B-que, as voters prepared to head the polls. Alabama Public Radio's Pat Duggins reports...

Spanish Fort, AL – Construction is slated to begin on Alabama's first state veteran's cemetery this Friday. The groundbreaking ceremony comes just a little more than a month after the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs approved a $7 million grant for the project. Alabama Public Radio's Maggie Martin sat down with Colonel Bill Callendar. He's the Cemetery Committee Chairman with the South Alabama Veterans Council and says finding out about the grant approval was welcome news to council members.

Anniston – ANNISTON, Al. (APR-ALABAMA PUBLIC RADIO) - The Calhoun County Commission has received $3.9 million from the federal government to prepare for chemical weapons accidents.

The commission adopted the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program budget at a regularly scheduled meeting.

The money falls short of the $5.2 million that was budgeted for the program last year and well behind the almost $70 million dollar annual budgets of years past.

Tuscaloosa, AL – Today is Election Day, and Alabama Public Radio will be with you tonight as the returns come in. We've been looking at the four constitutional amendments up for a vote, and we end with a look at Amendment Two. Alabama Public Radio's Ryan Vasquez talked with Shannon Bridgmon, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville to break down Amendment Two. She explains it could make it easier to change local taxes to raise money for education.

Tuscaloosa AL – There are four constitutional amendments to be decided by voters on Tuesday (11-2). Amendment 3 calls for taking a billion dollars from the Alabama Trust Fund to pay for improvements to roads and bridges across the state. APR's Brett Tannehill reports the measure has stirred strong reactions about whether the plan is worth it ...

Tuscaloosa, AL – Election day is just around the corner, and Alabama Public Radio will be with you as the returns come in Tuesday night. Between non and then, we'll be looking at some of the items on the ballot. There are four constitutional amendments up for a vote, and today (10-29-10)-we'll look at Amendment One. Alabama Public Radio's Ryan Vasquez sat down Gary Hoover, a professor of economics at the University of Alabama to decipher Amendment One and to talk about what it aims to change.

Tuscaloosa, AL – A panel of University of Alabama students watched last week's gubernatorial debate that took place on campus. These undecided voters also took part in a television special to share their views on the debate and the race for governor that will re-air this weekend. Alabama Public Radio's Ryan Vasquez had a chance to speak with two of the voters Wade Houston and Sydney Page about the reactions to the debate.

Orme TN – We've been taking an in-depth look at the water dispute between Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Our series concludes with a warning from the tiny town of Orme (Orm), Tennessee, just across from the North Eastern Alabama border. The town ran out of water two years ago. And as Georgia Public Broadcasting's John Sepulvado reports, the residents say it's a sign of bigger water problems for the Southeast ...


photo by Mike Gonzalez

Atlanta GA – The state of Georgia has three years to get congressional approval to use Lake Lanier as a drinking water source for metro Atlanta. Recently, some politicians and environmentalists have suggested metro Atlanta turn to sources other than the Chattahoochee River for water. But as Georgia Public Broadcasting's John Sepulvado reports, there are four reasons why Lake Lanier is the only answer for metro Atlanta's water woes ...


photo by Linda Raffield

Tallahassee FL – The 19-year court battle among Florida, Georgia and Alabama over the river system they share has flared up again. Last month, a federal judge gave Georgia three years to get Congressional approval or lose Atlanta's main water source. But Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue vows to fight the ruling, and for those at the other end of the river system, the judge's deadline may come too late. In the first of a four part series on this issue, Florida Public Radio's Margie Menzel reports ...

photo by Brett Tannehill

Eufaula AL – In part one of this series, we met a Florida oysterman who wants to protect the future of Apalachichola Bay. A little ways upstream, the state of Alabama is also looking to the future and hopes the middle section of the A-C-F basin can fulfill one of its original intended functions as a commercial shipping channel. Alabama Public Radio's Brett Tannehill reports ...