Government

Ivey signs grocery tax reduction into law

Alabama is one of only three states that tax groceries at the same rate as other purchases. Advocates had long argued that taxing food at such a rate placed an unfair burden on families.

Ride the Birmingham Xpress for free, at least for now

The Birmingham Bus Rapid Transit system, also known as Birmingham Xpress, will be free for riders for at least the next few months — though exactly how long remains up in the air.

New voting districts could change again in some states before the 2024 elections

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that Alabama’s congressional districts likely violated the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting the political power of Black voters. The ruling also could lead to new U.S. House districts in Louisiana, and potentially Georgia.

Chief suspect in Natalee Holloway disappearance pleads not guilty to extortion charges

Joran van der Sloot pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges that he tried to extort money from the missing teen’s mother in exchange for revealing the location of her body.

Supreme Court rules in favor of Black voters in Alabama redistricting case

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined with the court's liberals in affirming a lower-court ruling that found a likely violation of the Voting Rights Act in Alabama's congressional map.

Voting rights marcher recalls being clubbed, hearing fatal gunshot during pivotal day of protests

Della Simpson Maynor was just 14 when she marched for voting rights in her hometown of Marion, Alabama. But while events in Alabama helped give birth to the Voting Rights Act, court cases originating in the state have led to its steady erosion over the years.

54% of support comes from members

Alabama lawmakers close out 2023 legislative session

A proposal to exempt overtime pay from state income tax made it out on the last day. A bill that would have put more teeth in the state’s public records law did not.

Major bills cross the finish line with one day left in legislative session

Gov. Kay Ivey signed both budgets and supplemental spending packages Thursday. A plan to reduce the state sales tax on food is on the way to her desk as well.

After decades of attempts, major bill to cut state’s 4% grocery tax wins final passage

The legislation now heads to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey, whose office said she will review it when she receives it. Alabama is one of only three states that tax groceries at the same rate as other purchases.

A water leak led to a $20K bill for an Alabama couple. A smart meter could have saved them

When smart water meters work, they can detect expensive leaks early. But the tech’s costly to do right — and even more so when it’s done wrong.

Alabama sets July execution date as state resumes lethal injections after a series of problems

The governor's office set a time frame for the execution of James Barber. The 30-hour window is designed to give the state prison system more time after two most recent executions were called off because of trouble with intravenous lines.

Former governor says Alabama’s approach to the death penalty should shock the conscience

Don Siegelman served as both Attorney General and Governor in Alabama. He says he’s come to believe that the state’s approach to the death penalty is flawed.

Budgets head to the governor after early morning vote

Alabama lawmakers gave final passage to an $8.8 billion education budget and $3 billion general fund budget early Friday morning. That doesn’t count supplemental spending plans.

Alabama lawmaker agrees to plead guilty to federal charges and resign

Rep. Fred Plump Jr., a Democrat from Fairfield, will plead guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges related to misusing state funds and resign his position.

Alabama lawmakers debate legal definition of ‘woman’

The “What is a Woman” Act drew a full crowd to a public hearing Wednesday and LGBTQ advocacy groups marched outside the statehouse.

Woodfin’s budget proposal would be another record high

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said budget highlights include funding for street paving, public transit and pensions.

School choice bill advances after spending cap added

An Alabama Senate committee passed a bill this week that would give families almost $7,000 per child in taxpayer money to be used for private school tuition or home-schooling costs. It’s a change from the mixed response the measure received the first time it went before lawmakers.

Suspect in Natalee Holloway disappearance faces extradition to US on fraud charges

Dutch citizen Joran van der Sloot will be sent to the U.S., Peru announced Wednesday, to face trial on extortion and wire fraud charges, stemming from an accusation that he tried to extort the Holloway family after their daughter's disappearance.

McConnell opposes Tuberville’s blockade of military nominees over Pentagon abortion policy

Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville is objecting to the normally routine practice of confirming dozens of military nominations, a move that would force the Senate to hold potentially hundreds of votes to confirm non-controversial senior military officers.

Tuberville defends hold on defense nominations, says Pentagon wrong to screen out white nationalists

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville defends his hold on DOD nominations, and speaks about his bill to ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports and his objections to what he says are attempts by the Pentagon to screen out white nationalists.

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54% of support comes from members

‘Unprecedented’ education budget passes Alabama Senate

The proposed spending package includes a 2% pay increase for teachers along with more money for K-12 schools, higher education and community colleges. 

Feds say Alabama ignored sewer issues, harmed Black residents

The departments of Justice and Health and Human Services announced the results of the environmental justice probe and a settlement agreement with state health officials to address longstanding wastewater sanitation problems in Lowndes County, a high-poverty county between Selma and Montgomery.

Ban social media for kids? Fed-up parents in Senate say yes

Sen. Katie Britt says she hears about it constantly when she is at home in Alabama. “Parent after parent” come up to her wanting to discuss the way social media was harming their kids.

Alabama church shooter gets life for killing 3 at potluck

Robert Findlay Smith, 71, pleaded guilty to capital murder and waived his right to appeal. A judge sentenced Smith to life in prison without parole in the killing of three people at a Vestavia Hills church dinner in June.

A Ukrainian dressmaker and his family find refuge and a new beginning in Vestavia Hills

Mykola Vyshyvanyuk and his family were forced to flee Ukraine when Russia invaded in 2022. Thanks to local support, they’ve found a new place to call home.

Rocky start for Alabama school choice bill

The PRICE Act would give families $6,900 in taxpayer money which could be used for private school tuition or homeschooling.

Alabama senators back bill to cut state sales tax on food

The bill introduced by Republican Sen. Andrew Jones of Centre would gradually reduce the sales tax on food from 4% to 2% — taking off .5% each year — provided there is more than enough state revenue to offset the loss to the education budget, which relies on sales and income taxes.

Alabama judge denies bond for suspects in Sweet 16 shooting

Five suspects charged with reckless murder in connection with a shooting at a birthday party in Dadeville that killed four people and injured dozens were not granted bond. A sixth suspect, a 15-year-old, is awaiting a hearing.

Birmingham City Council opposes water works bill that would dilute its influence

The bill would reduce the number of Birmingham Water Works Board seats from nine to seven, removing two of the four currently appointed by the council.

Alabama police say 89 shots fired into crowded Sweet 16 party

The lead investigator in the case testified at a court hearing Tuesday that could determine if the three adults accused in last week's shooting will be held without bond. The three juvenile defendants will have separate hearings.

Alabama education director ousted over book’s stance on race

Barbara Cooper was forced out as as head of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education after Ivey expressed concern over the distribution of the book to state-run pre-kindergartens.

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.