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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.

Supreme Court opened the door to states’ voting restrictions. Now a new ruling could widen them

The justices are expected to rule in the coming weeks in a new case out of Alabama that could make it much more difficult for minority groups to sue over gerrymandered political maps that dilute their representation.

54% of support comes from members

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.

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.

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54% of support comes from members

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.

WBHM, Gulf States Newsroom win Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

WBHM won six of 11 awards for small market radio. The Gulf States Newsroom won 12 of 21 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for 2023.

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.

New biography examines King as a person over the myth

Writer Jonathan Eig’s new biography of Martin Luther King Junior draws on thousands of pages of new documents and audio recordings to paint an intimate portrait of the civil rights leader.

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.

To improve birth outcomes for uninsured moms, Birmingham is training more doulas

The city of Birmingham has teamed up with BirthWell Partners’ community doula project to sponsor 32 trainees to work in underserved communities.

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.

Alabama health officials seek to eliminate cervical cancer by 2033

A new campaign aims to dramatically increase rates of HPV vaccination, cancer screening and follow-up care.

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.