University of Alabama football

Demonstrators emptied liquor bottles outside the Alabama Capitol to protest the closing of driver's license offices in Black Belt counties.

Selma state senator Hank Sanders told the Montgomery Advertiser that state agencies are leaving money-losing liquor stores open in the impoverished areas while closing rural driver's license offices.

The crowd chanted "Give us the ballot, not just the bottle" during the Monday protest.

The event was one of several demonstrations over the closures.

Downtown Rescue Mission

The city of Huntsville is working to make the holiday season special for local families.

Every year the Downtown Rescue Mission helps the homeless and families in need during the Thanksgiving holidays. The Mission provides Thanksgiving boxes filled with items to prepare a Thanksgiving meal. The boxes include a frozen turkey, stuffing, yams, a fruit cocktail and rolls.

Tonia Beverly is the Director of Events and Business Partnership at the Downtown Rescue Mission. She says that these packages give families something to be thankful for during the holidays.

Elliott Spillers
Pete Pajor / Crimson White

Students at the University of Alabama repeated a list of demands for more diversity on the Tuscaloosa campus.

A student march started at Malone-Hood Plaza and ended at Gorgas Library, where the students' eleven goals were restated. The group “We Are Done UA” wants a safe space for students of color, a diversity class for freshmen, and a way to report hate crimes and sexual abuse on campus, among other things.

Alabama’s Governor Robert Bentley is putting his rhetoric against Syrian refugees settling in the state into action.

The governor has directed state agencies to try to block the relocation of any Syrian refugees in Alabama.

Bentley signed an executive order Monday after announcing his opposition to Syrian refugees settling in Alabama over the weekend. The order directs state agencies to use all "lawful means" to prevent the resettlement of refugees.

Governor Robert Bentley has announced he won’t allow any Syrian refugees to relocate to Alabama.

Bentley released a statement Sunday saying, "After full consideration of this weekend's attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm's way."

Tommy Bice

Alabama Department of Education Superintendent Tommy Bice says he will propose raising teacher salaries over the next three years.

Bice said yesterday his department would recommend raising teachers' salaries 5 percent in fiscal year 2017, which begins next October.

The state government will have the final word on public school spending next year. According to the department, the raise would cost $160 million.

Bice says he will seek additional raises in 2018 and 2019, with the goal of bringing teacher salaries in line with inflation.

A lawyer for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says he hopes to have the casino reopened by Christmas, despite a court order allowing the state to keep his seized gambling machines.

McGregor's attorney Joe Espy says VictoryLand will have to obtain new machines in order to reopen. However, Espy believes the casino will be able to do that.

The state has been in a long-running legal battle over the slot machine look-alikes.

The attorney general's office seized over 1600 electronic bingo machines and $260,000 in cash during a 2013 raid at VictoryLand.

Three Tuscaloosa Police officers are on paid leave following a videotaped incident that went viral on the internet. According to APR’s Pat Duggins, even Police Chief Steven Anderson admits he was disturbed by it.

The graphic video shot from inside a Tuscaloosa apartment shows local police officers pushing their way inside, and pulling two University of Alabama students out. A Taser and a nightstick are used as the officers forcibly subdue and arrest the young man and woman. Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson says the images left him with some questions.

The Tuscaloosa Police Department has launched an internal investigation after videos emerged of a team of officers using a Taser and baton during an arrest early Saturday morning.

The officers were responding to a loud music complaint at an apartment near the University of Alabama campus. Multiple videos of the incident show an officer speaking to the apartment’s occupants, who refused to exit the apartment and questioned whether the officer was within his rights to search the residence.

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / AP

A second trial for an Alabama police officer accused of using excessive force on an Indian man ended yesterday in a hung jury.

U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala declared a second mistrial yesterday in the case involving former Madison police officer Eric Parker. Parker’s defense attorney asked the judge to acquit his client.

Alabama has reopened most rural driver license offices for one day each month.

The offices began reopening this week on a limited basis following national backlash over a plan to close them permanently.

In September, The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced plans to close 31 offices where state workers had given driving tests one day per week.

The agency said the closures were necessary because of budget cuts. Critics said the closures created a hardship for rural residents and only saved the state $100,000 a year in travel costs.

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / AP

Federal prosecutors are trying for a second time to convict former Madison police officer Eric Parker of using unreasonable force when questioning an Indian man in February.

57 year old Sureshbhai Patel appears to have been slammed to the ground by Parker in a police dash camera video.

Robert Posey is the first assistant U.S. attorney for the northern district. He says the prosecution has good evidence on their side.

Alabama death row inmates are seeking alternative methods for execution. APR student reporter Parker Branton reports on their latest arguments.

Death row inmate Tommy Arthur says he’d rather face a firing squad rather than undergo lethal injection in Alabama.

He and Anthony Boyd are pleading their case to change their method of execution. They join five other death row inmates who have filed lawsuits claiming the state’s current three-drug lethal injection protocol for executions as cruel and unusual punishment under the United States constitution.

Pilgrim's Pride
John Bonzo / Wikimedia

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed multiple lawsuits against chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride.

According to an report, the agency is accusing the company of discriminatory hiring practices in Alabama and North Carolina.

A complaint filed last month by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Compliance Programs accuses Pilgrim’s Pride of systematically discriminating against African-American, Caucasian and female job applicants at its poultry plant in Athens.

Elmore County Courthouse
courthouselover / Flickr

A probate judge in Alabama is asking the state's Supreme Court for a way out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Elmore County Probate Judge John Enslen filed a petition earlier this week saying the federal government should issue same-sex marriage licenses, not state or county offices. Enslen says the federal government is responsible for upholding and enforcing other laws created at the federal level.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the closure of 31 Alabama driver's license offices.

Sewell sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch yesterday saying the closures disproportionately impact rural, African-American and poor communities.

Sewell says the closures will severely limit access to a state issued driver's license, the most popular form of photo identification used in voting.

It may have been the first time since the 2009 SEC Championship that Alabama wasn't favored to win a game. But the 38-10 result of a rain-soaked contest in Athens left no doubt that the Crimson Tide was the best team on the field.

Despite the weather, Alabama QB Jake Coker had his best game of the season in terms of quarterback rating. He completed nearly 70% of his passes and gained just shy of 200 yards through the air. RB Derrick Henry had a productive day as well, rushing for nearly 150 yards and adding a touchdown.

The Alabama Attorney General's Office is seeking an execution date for a death row inmate convicted in the 1992 rape and murder of a Homewood woman. reports the Attorney General submitted a motion to the Alabama Supreme Court last week saying inmate Christopher Brooks has exhausted his direct appeals and should be scheduled to be executed.

A Selma-based auto supplier is continuing its lawsuit against a former employee they fired, after a Montgomery County judge ruled whistleblower protections don’t apply.

Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange is asking the state Ethics Commission to reconsider an opinion that he says may undermine the state ethics law.

Strange sent a letter earlier this month asking commissioners to revisit advice they gave to state representative Patricia Todd. The commission told Todd she could advocate and vote on bills backed by her employer, an organization that works on gay and lesbian issues. The opinion says that’s OK, as long as the votes were on issues and not a financial benefit to her employer.

Planned Parenthood
Getty Images

Planned Parenthood is taking the state of Alabama to court after Governor Robert Bentley halted Medicaid payments to the organization's clinics in Alabama.

A federal judge will hold a hearing later this morning on Planned Parenthood Southeast's request for a preliminary injunction. Last month, Governor Bentley announced that he planned to terminate agreements allowing Planned Parenthood to be paid for providing services to Medicaid patients.

Oasis Tabernacle Church
Alaina Denean Deshazo / Selma Times-Journal / AP

Selma police have arrested a man after three people were shot in Selma’s Oasis Tabernacle Church yesterday.

26 year old James Junior Minter is being held without bond in the Dallas County Jail. He’s accused of shooting his former girlfriend, their 1-month-old son, and the church pastor during services yesterday. Authorities believe Minter was most likely upset about a recent breakup and visitation issues with his son.

The 24-year-old woman and her 1-month-old baby were both rushed to Birmingham for medical treatment. Both are currently in stable condition.

The state of Alabama has a general fund budget in place for the new fiscal year beginning in less than two weeks.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed the state's general fund budget yesterday morning. He says the spending plan isn’t perfect, but it is a step in the right direction for the state.

Lawmakers passed a $1.7 billion budget on Wednesday after months of negotiations over a substantial budget shortfall. Legislators approved a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase and a transfer of $80 million in education funds to minimize cuts to state services.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama Senators will continue budget talks today after a late-night meeting yesterday failed to end in agreement.

A conference committee will meet again this morning to keep discussing a proposal to shift education funds to the cash-strapped general fund budget.

The committee met for over an hour last night but couldn’t reach an agreement. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh described the talks as productive, but fragile.

Senators want to shift $100 million from education funds. House members voted to move half of that.

Indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard has given a litany of complaints about his case in a recently unsealed document.

Hubbard says the state’s ethics law is unconstitutionally vague, did not apply to him as Republican party chairman and that he had a free speech right to lobby for his clients.

Late last week, a judge unsealed Hubbard's motion to dismiss his ethics case on the grounds that the ethics law is unconstitutional.

The jury has deadlocked in the civil rights trial of former Madison police officer Eric Parker. They will continue deliberating this morning.

U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala instructed the jury to come back today and re-evaluate the evidence and testimony presented in the case. Parker is charged with violating the civil rights of Indian grandfather Sureshbhai Patel when he threw the man to the ground during a police stop. Patel was seriously injured in the fall and remains partially paralyzed.

Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery today for their third attempt at balancing the state’s general fund budget.

The special session begins at 5 PM this afternoon.

So far, legislators haven’t been able to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Huntsville Federal Court

Former Madison police officer Eric Parker’s defense team is expected to present their case today as his civil rights trial continues.

Parker is accused of violating the civil rights of 58 year old Indian man Sureshbhai Patel when he assaulted and partially paralyzed him during a police stop in February.

Eric Parker confrontation
Madison Police Department

A former Madison police officer stands trial today on a federal charge of using excessive force against an Indian man who was partially paralyzed during a confrontation.

Eric Sloan Parker is accused of violating the civil rights of 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel in February when he threw the man to the ground during a police stop.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says he will not back down as he battles with members of his own party over tax increases.

The governor says the cuts currently proposed to state services will cause a tremendous amount of pain to the citizens if lawmakers fail to plug a revenue hole.

The Alabama Senate will vote later today on a budget that slashes $200 million from Alabama’s state agency funding. Governor Bentley calls that budget unworkable and unacceptable. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says Republican senators remain largely opposed to any tax increases.