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A tornado watch remains in effect for large parts of northern and central Alabama. The National Weather Service says the watch over 23 counties and includes Birmingham, Huntsville and Florence. Forecasters have said high winds will be the main threat from the storms. A second storm is expected to enter the state Sunday night and impact much of south central Alabama.
The Alabama Legislature's 2014 session has come to a close after work wrapped up last night with lawmakers passing the 5.9 billion dollar Education Budget without that 2 percent pay hike for teachers that Governor Bentley lobbied for. A few other bills also were approved including legislation that tighten regulations for girls under 18 seeking abortions. Drug testing for welfare applicants also was approved Thursday, it would apply to an applicant who has drug convictions within the last five years. Also, legislation that would rewrite Alabama's Open Meeting Law was not considered on the final day.
A Selma couple jailed in connection with a child abuse case have been ordered held under a high bond. 23-year-old Shanetta Tyus and 22-year-old Gabriel Fikes are accused of using a clothes iron to severely burn 21-month old twin girls. At a bond hearing Thursday, Dallas County District Judge Bob Armstrong set their bonds at a $1 million dollar each. Tyus and Fikes have denied any wrongdoing. Both are charged with aggravated child abuse, first-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Selma police said each toddler suffered extensive burns on their bodies last month. The infants have since been transferred to UAB Hospital's burn unit for additional treatments.
The CEO of Greenetrack in west Alabama is vowing to reopen the facility. The casino in Eutaw and three others were raided by State Troopers and ABI agents Monday morning. Hundreds of electronic bingo machines and cash was seized. At a rally Thursday in Eutaw, Greenetrack CEO Luther Winn said Attorney General Luther Strange violated civil rights. Winn said 1,174 people lost their jobs and numerous projects in Greene County are in jeopardy of being shut down.