WVAS Local News

Jun 26, 2013

Some are claiming victory over Tuesday's Voting Rights ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, others are calling it a travesty.  The High Court ruled that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections.  Alabama State University Political Science professor Dr. Birdie Larkin said the decision will force voting improprieties to be fought on a case by case basis.  Supporters of the ruling include Republican Representative Jim McClendon, who hails from Shelby County, the county that brought the challenge to the Supreme Court.  Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said the decision will save the state money during elections.  Congress could resurrect the preclearance requirement with new rules, but for now the 5-4 decision represents a major change across the South. 

Domestic Violence

Police continue to investigate a domestic dispute in which a man shot his wife, then turned the gun on himself.  Emergency personnel were called to a home in the 3600 block of Carriage Oaks Court around 1:20 p.m. Tuesday.  The husband and wife were taken to a local hospital where the man later died.  The woman was last reported in critical condition.  Police say the shooting stemmed from an argument between the two.  No names have been released. 

Traffic Stops Probe

State officials have completed a probe of traffic stops in Bibb and St. Clair counties in which drivers were asked to provide anonymous blood, breath and saliva samples as part of a study.  Alabama Secretary of Law Enforcement, Spencer Collier, said that people who were asked to five samples didn't report undue pressure to participate in the voluntary study.  He said law enforcement officers had limited contact with participants while researchers collected the samples.  Officials said the samples didn't influence any arrests.  Collier said participation in the study was not authorized by any state department and he suggested to Gov. Robert Bentley that state officers refrain from participating in the program in the future.  The study was part of an initiative backed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.