As President Obama starts his second term, host Michel Martin takes a look at his foreign policy agenda. She speaks with NPR's Juan Forero about upcoming opportunities and challenges in Latin America — from drug trafficking, to changes in leadership, to the evolution of the U.S. relationship with Cuba.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley plans a news conference to detail a plan for "increasing efficiency" among state-level law enforcement agencies.
Bentley plans to sign an executive order creating the position of Senior Law Enforcement Adviser. Bentley said in a news release Monday that Alabama Department of Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier will serve in this role and will help coordinate activities among state law enforcement agencies.
An Alabama state lawmaker has pre-filed legislation that would require the state auditor to keep a searchable public database listing any piece of personal property owned by the state and valued at $500 or more.
Homewood Republican Rep. Paul Demarco announced Monday that he is sponsoring the legislation in an attempt to bring more transparency and accountability to government.
DeMarco says taxpayers should be able to see what exactly is being purchased with their tax money.
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.