News

EPA formally denies Alabama’s plan for coal ash waste

The federal agency says the state’s plan was not as protective as federal standards, allowing toxic waste to remain in unlined pits that may contaminate groundwater. Alabama officials say they will appeal.

Here’s what you said were the hidden gems in Walker County

There are things we notice about where we live that others might miss. That might be a hidden gem or other surprise. We set out to discover a few of them in Walker County at our recent News and Brews community pop-up.

After years of increases, Jefferson County sees a decline in overdose fatalities

Following years of record-breaking increases, Jefferson County is finally seeing a decline in overdose fatalities. We talk to local officials to better understand the reasons for the drop, and if it’s a sign of a longer-term trend.

Alabama district attorney says ‘justice demands’ new trial for death row inmate

Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr filed a brief expressing his support for Toforest Johnson’s bid to receive a new trial. Carr has supported a new trial since 2020, but the latest filing detailed the findings of a post-conviction review of the case.

After decisive loss at Alabama Mercedes plants, powerful auto union vows to return and win

Newly elected UAW President Shawn Fain said the union will return to Mercedes and will press on with efforts to organize about 150,000 workers at more than a dozen auto factories across the nation.

Gulf South states among U.S. leaders for juvenile life without parole sentences, study shows

A youth sentencing study shows Alabama and Mississippi are among just four states that top the nation in new juvenile life without parole sentences since 2012.

54% of support comes from members

Workers at Alabama’s Mercedes plants vote against joining a union

The workers voted 56% against the union, according to tallies released by the National Labor Relations Board, which ran the election.

Taylor Hunnicutt is championing her home state with debut album ‘Alabama Sound’

Alabama offers a diverse symphony of swampy rock, swaggering blues, murky country, and bone-rattling soul. It’s a sound singer-songwriter Taylor Hunnicutt recently reimagined on her debut album, Alabama Sound, which is out now.

UAB building among Alabama’s first to feature ‘bird safe’ glass

Advocates hope the new glass will prevent window collisions, a leading causes of bird mortality.

Researchers look into community health impact of wood pellet production in rural Mississippi

Brown University and Tougaloo College students are testing for potential air and noise pollution near the Drax wood pellet plant in Gloster, Mississippi.

Alabama coal company sued for a home explosion is delinquent on dozens of penalties

Crimson Oak Grove Resources has been cited for 204 safety violations since the March 8 blast, many involving “significant and substantial” safety violations.

The United Auto Workers faces a key test in the South with upcoming vote at Alabama Mercedes plant

The United Auto Workers is aiming for a key victory at Mercedes-Benz in Alabama. More than 5,000 workers at the facility in Vance and nearby battery plant will vote this week on whether to join the UAW.

Gambling, ethics bills fall short as legislative session ends

Alabama lawmakers closed the books on this year’s regular legislative session Thursday. While Republican leaders passed many of their priority bills, perhaps the most talked about issue – gambling – died.

A look at what passed and failed in the 2024 legislative session

Alabama lawmakers have ended a 2024 legislative session that saw the Republican majority win approval for a number of their top priorities.

Q&A: Bobby Carter on leading Tiny Desk, his time at Jackson State, early career advice

Carter, a Jackson State alumnus, took over as the new series host and producer for NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts” series in April.

Alabama to begin working with a consulting company that’s under criminal investigation 

McKinsey & Company, an international consulting business, will help the state of Alabama develop a new strategic economic growth plan. The company is undertaking that project, while also dealing with a probe into whether it engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

‘Stupidity of politics’: Medicaid expansion effort dies in Mississippi

Mississippi lawmakers couldn’t come together to pass a bill that could have expanded Medicaid for thousands of residents.

This spiky-stemmed invasive grass is taking over Alabama

Classified as one of the worst weeds in the world, cogongrass aggressively crowds out native species and costs Alabama landowners tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Gambling bill in doubt with three days left in the legislative session

Alabama lawmakers are coming down to the finish line for this year’s legislative session. Many bills await passage, but perhaps the biggest one up in the air is a lottery and gambling bill.

Pro-Palestinian demonstration draws counter-protest at University of Alabama

Students gathered demanding the school call for a permanent and immediate ceasefire and to push the school to sever ties with defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

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54% of support comes from members

A new Statehouse and related projects will cost about $400 million

The Alabama Legislative Council, a 20-member panel comprised of legislative leaders and their appointees, approved the construction of the new Statehouse last year. The panel was given an update on the project on Wednesday.

New pilot program will offer housing, resources to people leaving prison

The Birmingham Reentry Alliance will provide wrap around services to dozens of men and women adjusting to life after prison.

Alabama committee advances ban on LGBTQ+ pride flags in classrooms

The Senate Education Policy Committee voted 5-2 for the House-passed bill, putting the proposal in line for a possible final passage in the last four days of the legislative session.

A New Orleans garden paid hundreds of dollars in fees for a sewer that doesn’t exist

Galvez Garden owner Lissie Stewart has been fighting the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board over inaccurate billing for years.

Alabama coal mine keeps digging after hundreds of fines and a fatal explosion

Following the death of a grandfather, Crimson Oak Grove Resources has left a community afraid for their homes and lives. An expert warns one resident may need to evacuate her home while she still can.

Florida’s 6-week abortion ban will have a ‘snowball effect’ on residents across the South

Abortion rights advocates say the ban will likely force many to travel farther for abortion care and endure pregnancy and childbirth against their will.

Attitudes among Alabama lawmakers softening on Medicaid expansion

Alabama is one of ten states which has not expanded Medicaid. Republican leaders have pushed back against the idea for years.

Birmingham is 3rd worst in the Southeast for ozone pollution, new report says

The American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report shows some metro areas in the Gulf States continue to have poor air quality.

Why haven’t Kansas and Alabama — among other holdouts — expanded access to Medicaid?

Only 10 states have not joined the federal program that expands Medicaid to people who are still in the "coverage gap" for health care

Once praised, settlement to help sickened BP oil spill workers leaves most with nearly nothing

Thousands of ordinary people who helped clean up after the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico say they got sick. A court settlement was supposed to help compensate them, but it hasn’t turned out as expected.

Q&A: How harm reduction can help mitigate the opioid crisis

Maia Szalavitz discusses harm reduction's effectiveness against drug addiction, how punitive policies can hurt people who need pain medication and more.

Gambling bills face uncertain future in the Alabama legislature

This year looked to be different for lottery and gambling legislation, which has fallen short for years in the Alabama legislature. But this week, with only a handful of meeting days left, competing House and Senate proposals were sent to a conference committee to work out differences.