WVAS Local

Senator Ross Supports "Ban the Box" Legislation

Feb 5, 2016

So far 19 states and more than 100 cities and counties have adopted so-called "ban the box" policies that block employers from asking applicants about their criminal history during the initial application process.  State Senator Quinton Ross of Montgomery will sponsor similar legislation in the current regular session.  Ross made his comments on the WVAS Perspectives talk show this week.

Proof of U.S. Citizenship

Feb 5, 2016

Residents of Alabama, Georgia and Kansas are no longer able to register to vote using a federal form without providing proof of U.S. citizenship after a federal elections official added the requirement without pubic notice or review by the agency's commissioners.  The move by Brian Newby, the new executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, has sparked a backlash from one of its commissioners, who is asking the changes be withdrawn.  The American Civil Liberties Union says it's a brazen move that will create additional barriers.

Suspect Dies in Shootout

Feb 5, 2016

A sheriff's sergeant in the Florida Panhandle says the search for a Missouri couple suspected in a series of robberies and abductions in Alabama and Georgia ended in a shootout that killed the man and wounded the woman.  Santa Rosa County Sheriff's officials say there was a shootout early Friday morning between the suspects and law enforcement officers that left Blake Fitzgerald dead and Brittany Nicole Harper injured.  Authorities say they learned the suspected were heading into Santa Rosa County and joined the search, which ended on a road.

National Signing Day

Feb 4, 2016

Alabama State University announced a recruiting haul of 17 players Wednesday for its football team.  Hornets head football coach Brian Jenkins was enthusiastic about the signing class.  Coach Jenkins says having more time to evaluate players during the recruiting process made a tremendous difference.  Jenkins and his coaching staff arrived at ASU late in the recruiting season last year.  Unlike last year, the team will also be able to hold spring practice.  The Hornets will begin the first of 10 spring practice sessions April 2nd.

Tornado Strikes West Alabama

Feb 4, 2016

The National Weather Service says an EF2 tornado struck rural western Alabama and destroyed more than a dozen homes.  Officials say the tornado struck the town of McMullen in Pickens County Tuesday evening and destroyed 13 homes.  Of that number, 10 of the structures were mobile homes.  The Service says in all, four tornadoes struck west Alabama.  The others touched down in Ethelsville, also in Pickens County and in Lamar and Fayette counties.  Damage assessments have not been released for those locations.  

State Education Standards

Feb 4, 2016

The debate over the state's education standards has begun again with a public hearing on a bill to repeal Common Core standards in Alabama public schools.  The Senate Education Policy Committee Wednesday discussed but did not vote on the bill to do away with the state's standards applying to math and English curriculum.  The national benchmarks were adopted by the state's elected Board of Education in 2010.

Bentley Budget Proposals

Feb 4, 2016

Governor Robert Bentley's proposed General Fund budget totals 1.93 billion dollars.  About 60 percent of that goes to the Department of Corrections and the Alabama Medicaid Agency with Medicaid seeing a 100 million dollar increase from last year.  Acting Finance Director for the state, Bill Newton laid out the governor's proposals Wednesday.  As promised, the spending plan includes pay increases.  To balance the budget, the governor moved 181 million dollars of use tax money from the Education Trust Fund.

Probe into Witness Tampering Allegations

Feb 2, 2016

The federal judge in the trial of an Alabama police officer who was acquitted of using excessive force on an Indian man says the court is probing whether the police chief and a captain violated an order against contacting witnesses.  Judge Madeline Haikala said in an opinion Friday that several Madison police officers who testified for Officer Eric Parker said Police Chief Larry Muncey, who was ordered not to hear other witness testimony, read live updates of the trial and approached officers to discuss their testimonies.

Perry County Health Department officials say they are entering a different phase of their effort to contain a tuberculosis outbreak in Marion.  They are no longer paying residents to get tested or attend follow-up appointments.  About 3,000 people live n Marion and just over 2,100 have been tested.  Of those, 100 people have latent tuberculosis infections and 27 have the active disease.  Alabama Department of Public Health Director of TB Control Pam Barrett says in either case, its important to receive treatment.

State Legislature Begins Today

Feb 2, 2016

Alabama lawmakers are beginning the 2016 legislative session on Groundhog Day to familiar budget woes, but could see some new debates this session as well.  Legislators will hear a budget briefing that is expected to include a bleak outlook for the state's address tonight at 6:30 and has said that he is not going to be proposing tax increases or other revenue measures.  Republicans and Democrats have introduced rival proposals to establish a state lottery.  Lawmakers are also expected to debate a teacher pay raise and tenure changes for teachers.