Issues

Alabama lawmakers to convene to redraw maps US high court declared unfair to Black voters

The U.S. Supreme Court this month affirmed the panel's finding that Alabama likely violated the Voting Rights Act with a congressional map that had only one majority Black district out of seven in a state where more than one in four residents is Black.

 A year after the loss of Roe v. Wade, Gulf South residents reflect on abortion rights

The Gulf States Newsroom asked Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi residents when they realized things had changed after the ruling. Here's what they said.

‘Kids will end their lives’: Anti-trans legislation is impacting mental health in the Gulf South

As book bans and legislation pile up, a Louisiana trans teen describes the mental toll it’s taking on him and highlights the importance of support systems.

MLB to stage Negro Leagues tribute game at Rickwood Field next June honoring Willie Mays

The stadium, opened in 1910, is the oldest professional ballpark in the U.S. and a National Historic Site. The game will honor Hall of Famer Willie Mays, a Birmingham native who began his professional career with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948.

Alabama must move quickly to draw new congressional districts

The U.S. Supreme Court last week affirmed a lower-court ruling finding Alabama likely violated the Voting Rights Act with an Alabama congressional map that had only one majority Black district out of seven in a state where more than one in four residents is Black. The state must now draw a new map by July 21.

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.

54% of support comes from members

Alabama ranked 45th in annual survey of child well-being

While this is one spot higher than the year before, analysts observed Alabama's improvement is largely the result of other states showing poorer outcomes as opposed to Alabama’s child well-being improving.

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.

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.

As the US invests more in climate-smart ag, these Louisiana farmers could serve as a model

Climate-smart agriculture is getting a “once-in-a-generation” investment of $20 billion. Louisiana farmers show what a successful rollout could look like.

Birmingham school aims to bring Montessori to Black families

Montessori is an education philosophy that emphasizes student-led learning. It also tends to be associated with rich, suburban families. One Montessori school in Birmingham is flipping that stereotype.

With pandemic-era boost to SNAP over, a Mississippi diaper bank is receiving more calls for help

With the COVID-19 public health emergency over, Diaper Bank of the Delta is trying to fill in the gap and connect struggling families to more resources.

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.

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54% of support comes from members

How TikTok and the South’s urban legends opened new doors for Alabama’s Joshua Dairen

The local content creator turned his love of the paranormal into a promising side gig thanks to TikTok. Now, he wants to make space for others like himself.

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.

Tell us your story about reproductive health care in the Gulf South

When it comes to reproductive health care, at what point did you realize things have changed since Roe v. Wade was overturned?

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.

An Alabama program helps residents stormproof their homes. Louisiana wants to copy it

Strengthen Alabama Homes gives residents up to $10,000 to retrofit homes to the FORTIFIED standard. Other states see it as a model for their own insurance woes.

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.

‘Were you scared?’: Birmingham family talks about civil rights then and now

71-year-old Birmingham native Jeff Drew took part in the movement starting as a young child. Drew sat down with his 14-year-old granddaughter Sidnee King to talk about civil rights then and now.

Why do so many Black women die in pregnancy? One reason: Doctors don’t take them seriously

Angelica Lyons knew it was dangerous for Black women to give birth in America. As a public health instructor, she taught college students about racial health disparities. Then, in 2019, it nearly happened to her.

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.

Cahaba lily season draws crowds, inspires conservation efforts

Alabama is thought to be home to one of the world's largest populations of the unique flower, which is only in bloom for a few more weeks.

Kids’ reading scores have soared in Deep South states

Mississippi went from being ranked the second-worst state in 2013 for fourth-grade reading to 21st in 2022. Louisiana and Alabama, meanwhile, were among only three states to see modest gains in fourth-grade reading during the pandemic.

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.