Politics & Government

Politics & Government
6:43 am
Wed January 9, 2013

NAACP Planning Montgomery Health Care Rally

President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act.

The Alabama NAACP is planning a rally Saturday at the Capitol in Montgomery to show its support for the Affordable Care Act.

Organizers say the rally is also to express concern about Gov. Robert Bentley not using the law to expand Medicaid coverage in Alabama.

House Committee Heads
7:02 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Hubbard Names Leaders For Some Ala. House Panels

House Speaker Mike Hubbard names leaders for some House panels ahead of next month's legislative session.
Credit Alabama House of Representatives

Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn has appointed representatives to fill committee leadership vacancies prior to the Feb. 5 start of the 2013 regular session.

Republican Rep. Lynn Greer of Rogersville will replace Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Capshaw as chairman of the Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee. McCutcheon recently became chairman of the House Rules Committee, replacing former Rep. Blaine Galliher of Rainbow City. Galliher resigned his House seat to take a position on the governor's staff.

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Politics & Government
5:52 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Farm Bill Critics Claim Partial Victory Despite Stalemate

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 9:20 am

It's amazing how many different kinds of people have been trying to abolish or at least change the government's payments to farmers. They include economists, environmentalists, taxpayer advocates, global anti-hunger advocates and even a lot of farmers. Some have been fighting farm subsidies for the past 20 years.

This past year, those critics laid siege to offices on Capitol Hill because the law that authorizes these programs — the farm bill — was about to expire. (It has to be renewed every five years.)

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Politics & Government
5:07 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

House Gears Up For Immigration Battle

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the new House Judiciary Committee chairman, is a former immigration attorney who has taken a hard line against Democratic proposals.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:05 pm

With immigration expected to be a top issue in the new Congress, lawmakers in both parties continue to call for a bipartisan approach — while also preparing for battle.

The messaging from many House Democrats and Republicans about the chances of passing an immigration overhaul remains optimistic. And some of them, such as Republican Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California, have begun to meet privately.

But other moves indicate that lawmakers are hedging their bets and girding for a fight.

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Politics & Government
3:53 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Gun Control Advocates Say ATF's Hands Have Been Tied

Officers transfer confiscated weapons after a news conference to announce the arrests of scores of alleged gang members and associates on federal racketeering and drug-trafficking charges in Lakewood, Calif., in 2009.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:37 pm

After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead a group tasked with drafting policies to reduce gun violence. One of the issues sure to come up in the Biden group's discussions is the role of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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Politics & Government
7:54 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Judge Sets Feb. 14 Hearing on Transocean Plea Deal

Drilling company Transocean Ltd. plead guilty to charges stemming from the 2010 oil spill.
The Associated Press

A federal judge in New Orleans has scheduled a Feb. 14 hearing to decide whether to accept the Justice Department's criminal settlement with Transocean Ltd. over the company's role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean, which owned the rig that sank after an explosion killed 11 workers and spawned the spill, agreed last Thursday to pay $400 million in criminal penalties and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act. The Switzerland-based company also agreed to pay $1 billion in civil penalties.

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Politics & Government
6:56 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Liquor License Hearing for Ala. Casino Moved Back

Alabama's liquor control agency has moved back a hearing to determine if the newly reopened VictoryLand casino in Shorter will get a license to serve liquor.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board initially set the hearing for Jan. 23 and then moved it up to Jan. 10 because VictoryLand requested an earlier date. ABC attorney Bob Hill said Friday the hearing has now been moved back to Jan. 23 because all the participants couldn't make the earlier date.

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Politics & Government
2:56 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

Anniston Nears Completion of New Justice Center

A four-man cell is shown in the incarceration section of the Justin Sollohub Justice Center in Anniston. The center is expected to open its operations sometime this spring.
Trent Penny/Anniston Star

Anniston's new $15 million justice center is scheduled for completion in mid-March.

The 57,500-square-foot building will include a jail, the police department and the municipal court. Police Chief Layton McGrady told The Anniston Star that the jail and the administrative and investigative divisions of the police department should move in late March or early April. The new justice center is named for Officer Justin Sollohub, who was killed in the line of duty in 2011.

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Politics & Government
6:34 pm
Sat January 5, 2013

Alabama AG Commissioner Hires Another Opponent

Rancher Dale Peterson, of Birmingham, Ala. Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan is hiring 2010 campaign rival Peterson to serve as his confidential assistant at an annual salary of $72,686.
AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan is hiring another rival from the 2010 campaign.

Deputy Commissioner Brett Hall says McMillan is bringing Shelby County businessman Dale Peterson on board. Peterson will serve as his confidential assistant with an annual salary of more than $72,000.

The two men faced off in the Republican primary in 2010. McMillan had previously hired the Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner, Glen Zorn, to be his assistant commissioner.

Politics & Government
3:02 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Ala. Democrats Interviewing for Federal Positions

The Alabama Democratic Executive Committee will conduct interviews in Montgomery for persons interested in being recommended for appointment to a position in the Obama administration's second term.

Alabama Democratic Party executive director Bradley Davidson said party officials will be making recommendations to the Obama administration of people to serve in federal positions in Alabama for the next four years. Davidson said party officials plan to make recommendations to the president by the time he is sworn-in for his next term.

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Politics & Government
9:02 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Alabama Reps. 6-1 Against Fiscal Cliff Bill

Republican U.S. Representative Jo Bonner is one of six Alabama lawmakers who voted "no" on legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff.

All six Republicans in Alabama's House delegation voted against legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff, while the state's lone Democrat voted for it.

Republican U.S. Reps. Jo Bonner, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Spencer Bachus and Mo Brooks cast no votes, and Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell voted yes on the legislation that passed 257-167 Tuesday.

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Politics & Government
6:37 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Ala. County Facing Backlog of 300 Drug Cases

Court officials in one southeast Alabama county say they're starting the New Year with a backlog of more than 300 felony drug cases after a satellite crime lab was closed.

The Dothan Eagle reports the drug cases in Houston County are in limbo as prosecutors await lab results from the state Department of Forensic Sciences so they can take the cases before a grand jury.

Politics & Government
5:55 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Oil prices rise following "fiscal cliff" deal in Congress


HONG KONG (AP) — Oil prices rallied today after U.S. lawmakers passed legislation to avoid a "fiscal cliff" that would have pushed the world's biggest economy into recession. The U.S. House of Representatives voted near midnight to send the bill to President Barack Obama after a frantic day of political brinksmanship in Washington. Benchmark crude for February delivery rose 95 cents late afternoon in Hong Kong to $92.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.02 to finish at $91.82 per barrel in New York on Monday.

11:39 am
Sun December 30, 2012

"Fiscal cliff" bill done--taxes may still go up


WASHINGTON (AP) — The tax package negotiated by President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans and passed by Congress will protect 99 percent of Americans from an income tax increase. But that doesn't mean that most of them won't see their taxes rise. In fact, the vast majority of workers will pay higher federal taxes in 2013, largely because a temporary reduction in Social Security payroll taxes expired on New Year's Day. The tax package did nothing to prevent that from happening.

Politics & Government
3:58 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

Alabama lawmaker proposes pro-gun amendment


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama legislator has proposed a measure that would make the right to bear arms a fundamental right in the Alabama Constitution. That right is already in the U.S. Constitution as the Second Amendment. Republican Rep. Mike Jones of Andalusia told the Web site al.com his proposal would allow state voters to make it part of the state constitution. He said this would make it more difficult for state courts to restrict the right to gun ownership.