U.S. Justice Department

Jefferson County and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for North and Central Alabama have come to a settlement on voting access for the disabled.

An investigation began nationwide earlier this year with combined efforts from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Joyce White Vance is the U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Alabama. She says they checked 36 polling sites in Jefferson County, and had a lot of work to do.

Holman Correctional Facility
Sharon Steinmann / AP

Yet another correctional officer has been assaulted at a troubled state prison in south Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Corrections says a lieutenant at Holman prison in Atmore was attempting to control an inmate when the man assaulted the officer with a makeshift weapon yesterday.

The officer was treated for a cut above his eye, and 27-year-old inmate Robert Washington has been charged with assault. He is currently serving 20 years for a robbery conviction in Montgomery.

A legislative committee will hold a public hearing later today on a lottery bill that narrowly passed the state Senate last week.

The House of Representatives Economic Development and Tourism Committee will hold a hearing this afternoon on the proposal to amend the state’s constitution to establish a state lottery. Senators approved the bill Friday on a 21 to 12 vote.

Tornado
Scott Peake / Basehunters

The threat of flooding in parts of Alabama follows up a pair of tornadoes that hit west central Alabama last night.

Dozens of homes near Aliceville were reportedly damaged, but police report only minor injuries and no deaths. Damage assessment teams from National Weather Service will spend the morning examining the aftermath of two tornadoes that marched single file just west of Tuscaloosa.

Forecaster Jason Holmes says the clues those teams find today will establish what kind of storm hit specific areas.

Alabama legislators are desperate to end a legislative session marked by frustration and disagreements over how to handle a gaping hole in the state's General Fund budget.

The Alabama Senate will vote today on a General Fund budget expected to include significant cuts after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on new taxes or moving revenue from the state's education budget.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says a special session to try and patch some of those budget holes is looming.

    

A federal judge will review an agreement to settle a desegregation case involving Huntsville city schools.

The school system and the Justice Department released the agreement on Monday. It's aimed at resolving disputes over the racial fairness of a student attendance plan devised last year.

The federal government objected to the plan arguing it didn't improve academic opportunities for black students.   The school system agrees to take several steps in the settlement, which follows mediation sessions.

Office of the Governor of Alabama

The Alabama Department of Corrections says it is working with a consulting group to make changes at Alabama's prison for women, including providing more privacy in the bathrooms.

Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas said Friday three months of working with the Moss Group is having a positive impact on Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka. Shower curtains, toilet partitions and privacy curtains have been installed in part of the prison and the full installation should be complete by Oct. 1.

en.wikipedia.org

The government is seeking the early release from prison of a former Alabama politician whose daughter died in a racist church bombing in Birmingham in 1963.

The Justice Department filed papers Thursday supporting the compassionate release of Chris McNair, a former Alabama county commissioner convicted of taking thousands of dollars in bribes.

McNair is 87 and suffers from numerous health problems. The request asks a judge to reduce McNair's five-year sentence to the time he's served since 2011.

Matt Wade / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Feb. 27 in efforts by an Alabama county to stop enforcement of part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The court initially agreed in November to hear the case brought by Shelby County, and it has now set the date for attorneys to present their arguments.

Rivers A. Langley / Wikimedia Commons

A Justice Department report is criticizing the way female inmates are treated at Alabama's lone prison for women.

A study by the National Institute of Corrections says there have been reports of sexual abuse of female prisoners, and officials haven't always treated those complaints in the proper manner.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

The U.S. Justice Department has cleared Alabama's new legislative districts for use in the 2014 elections. Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez notified state Attorney General Luther Strange of the decision Friday. The Justice Department has to review new political boundaries in Alabama to make sure they don't violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act by disenfranchising black voters. The co-chairman of the Legislature's Redistricting Committee, Republican Rep.