Government

Republicans and Democrats split over response to Sweet 16 party shooting

Democrats called for gun control measures while Republicans argued for a crackdown on crime.

Commission approves billing agreement with Birmingham Water Works Board

The agreement between the Jefferson County Commission Tuesday follows months of negotiation between the two entities.

Birmingham City Council working on a plan for overhaul of water works board

As the Alabama Legislature considers a complete overhaul of the Birmingham Water Works Board, the Birmingham City Council is mulling its own legislation to meet state lawmakers halfway.

School choice bill now on lawmakers’ agenda

Alabama legislators also advanced a bill banning teaching “divisive concepts” in the classroom

As grocery prices soar, push grows to end sales tax on food

Alabama is one of only three states that tax groceries at the same rate as other purchases. But as food prices soar — and as the state sees a record budget surplus — Alabama lawmakers are considering removing, or phasing out, the state's 4% sales tax on food.

Suit accuses Jefferson County of racial gerrymandering in commission districts

The lawsuit accuses the commission of intentionally packing Black voters into two supermajority Black commission districts based in and around Birmingham.

54% of support comes from members

Tougher penalties on fentanyl trafficking now law

Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law Thursday after the measure, which sets mandatory minimum sentences, passed both legislative chambers without opposition.

Alabama leaders propose four bills to boost state’s economic competitiveness

Backers of the bills said the bills will provide more opportunities for rural areas and expand entrepreneurship.

After botched executions, Alabama will try lethal injection again

Alabama paused executions for three months after the state failed to execute two men and took more than three hours to kill another man. Now, after an internal review and a rule change, prison officials will resume the procedure.

Bills tackling fentanyl trafficking and ‘good time’ limits in prisons advance

The bills would set a mandatory minimum sentence for trafficking or possessing fentanyl and reduce good time incentives, which can shorten prisoners’ sentences.

Proposed Ivey budgets: Income tax rebates; public money for charter schools; modest pay raises

Gov. Kay Ivey’s proposed budget for 2024 will call for state money for start-up charter schools, tax rebates for those who filed income taxes in 2021 and some pay raises for state employees. 

Lawmakers wrap up special session on COVID relief funds

Gov. Kay Ivey signed a more than $1 billion plan to spend federal pandemic relief funds after lawmakers approved the package Thursday.

Lawmakers say prison plan will continue despite cost jump

The Alabama Corrections Institution Finance Authority on Wednesday increased the spending cap for a 4,000-bed prison now under construction in Elmore County, from $623 million to $975 million.

Spurred by slow deportation wait times, Louisiana ICE detainees attempted a hunger strike

A man held at the ICE facility in Jena said detainees are being held in some cases up to three months after receiving their final deportation notices.

A months-long landfill fire in Alabama reveals waste regulation gaps

An unregulated landfill that accepts vegetative waste has burned underground for months. Neighbors were inundated with smoke and left wondering why the site wasn't regulated in the first place.

Public transit in the Gulf South is in need of an overhaul. The solution could lie in the past

The Gulf South is not known for its great public transit systems. Some believe Bus Rapid Transit could solve lingering issues and lead to a better future.

New exhibition driving bill would stiffen penalties, including fines and jail time

People have been injured, even killed, in exhibition driving-related incidents in Birmingham. Now, lawmakers are addressing the issue on a statewide level.

After deadliest year on record, families remember loved ones lost in Alabama prisons

Two hundred sixty-six incarcerated people died inside Alabama's prisons in 2022, and dozens have died so far in 2023.

Special session underway on spending federal pandemic funds

On Thursday, an Alabama House committee passed a plan to spend about $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act on mostly health care reimbursements, water and sewer infrastructure and broadband expansion.

Ivey calls session on relief funds, proposes tax rebates

Gov. Kay Ivey delivered her state of the state address on the opening night of the 2023 legislative session where key issues include how to use the state's remaining pandemic relief funds as well as a $2.8 billion education budget surplus.

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54% of support comes from members

City relinquishes power over old Powell School, raising concerns about historic preservation

The property has the distinction of being the site of the city’s first public school, though it closed its doors in 2002 due to a sharp decline in enrollment.

The 2023 Alabama legislative session starts Tuesday. Here’s your preview

Lawmakers return to Montgomery at a time when money is flush thanks to federal COVID funds. Education is among the top issues expected to generate discussion.

‘It’s a fight for freedom.’ Ukraine backers call for continued arms support 1 year into war

A group of supporters gathered at Railroad Park in Birmingham to draw attention to human rights violations in the country and call for continued arms support from the U.S.

Alabama governor says state will resume executions

The governor in November directed the state prison system to undertake a “top-to-bottom” review of death penalty procedures after the state was forced to cancel three lethal injections because of problems with intravenous lines.

JeffCo Commission agrees to support Magic City Classic for 1 year, will consider longer contract later

The annual football game between Alabama State and Alabama A&M Universities has been played 80 times at Birmingham’s Legion Field.

Alabama prison chief says lack of staffing remains top issue

Commissioner John Hamm said the department is looking to a combination of outsourcing, pay raises and benefit changes to increase the number of workers.

Commission considering funding to keep Magic City Classic in Birmingham

The Jefferson County Commission is deciding on a resolution about the level of support the county will provide to the annual football game.

Alabama ‘close’ to finishing nitrogen execution protocol

Alabama has authorized the use of nitrogen hypoxia, but it has never been used to carry out a death sentence.

Alabama prison staff shortage worsens despite court order

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson said Friday the state can not continue with what he called horrendous staff levels.

Advocates criticize state environmental commission about response to Moody landfill fire

Speakers at the meeting argued the Alabama Department of Environmental Management took too long to act on the fire and that steps must be taken to regulate these types of landfills.

Jefferson County approves $5 million toward construction of amphitheater

The appropriation is a key step in making the $50 million amphitheater development on the campus of the former Carraway Hospital a reality.

Who would put out a landfill fire near Moody? That question consumed officials for weeks

A private landfill near Moody smoldered for almost two months, inundating residents miles around with noxious smoke, before the EPA stepped in.