Selma will be in the national spotlight this week when thousands of people will descend on the west Alabama city to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. On Sunday afternoon, some 2,000 people, black and white, participated in a "Unity Walk" across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to kick off the commemorative civil rights march. Selma residents walked behind a large quilt sewn by citizens who were living in Selma during the 1960s. President Obama and former President George W.
Governor Robert Bentley says Alabama is in a budget crisis and is asking legislators to approve $541 million tax increase. Bentley unveiled proposals Friday that include an 82.5 cent per pack cigarette tax increase and raising the sales taxes on automobile purchases from 2 to 4 percent. Bentley says he has been opposed to tax increases most of his life, but he says "there is nothing more conservative" than the state getting its fiscal house in order. The governor is also proposing to shift earmarks from $187 million in state funds so they can be applied in other areas.
Governor Bentley says he will lay out his plans today to address a shortfall in the state General Fund budget, proposals that could put him at odds with some in his own political party. Bentley has said the state has no choice but to raise taxes and he plans to hold a news conference today at the State Capitol. The governor said last week that he plans to seek $700 million in taxes and revenue. He's also said cuts and consolidations can no longer keep the General Fund afloat. The legislative session begins Tuesday.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange Thursday provided an update on the city's preparations for the upcoming commemoration of the Selma to Montgomery march. He says the commemoration is his top priority for now but he is also keeping a close eye on the many candidates who have joined the mayoral race. Strange says he embraces the challengers and he looks forward to an aggressive campaign in April.
Alabama Power Company officials say about 12,000 customers statewide are without electricity this morning after nearly a foot of snow fell in some parts of northern Alabama. About 8,000 are in the Tuscaloosa area and about 3,500 are in the Birmingham area. A wide area from north of the Birmingham metro area to the Tennessee state line remains shut down because of dangerous travel conditions on interstates and U.S. routes. Eleven inches of snow fell in the Guntersvillle area and more than eight inches was measured in the Athens area.
The Alabama House Republican Caucus has announced its agenda for the 2015 legislative session. The slate of bills is being called "Alabama First" by members of the caucus as they say it seeks to put Alabama first education and economic development. Chairman of the House Rules Committee Mac McCutcheon says charter schools will be a priority.
The governor has declared a state of emergency ahead of a winter storm expected to bring a mix of snow, ice and freezing rain. Governor Robert Bentley has authorized 250 Alabama National Guard personnel to respond to any emergency requests for assistance. National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Laws tells WVAS the winter storm is taking aim at a large section of north Alabama. Laws enforcement agencies also have a plan in place to respond to stranded drivers. The wintry weather is expected to enter north Alabama today and move out of the state around midnight.
A winter storm system is set to trudge across Alabama Wednesday, bringing sleet and snow to the northern part of the state and rain in the southern half. The dividing line between snow and rain seems to fluctuate with storms like these, Chief scientist for the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Kevin Laws, says the wintry mix is trending farther north. Laws says the system will move slowly across the state from the west to the east, enter Alabama around 10 a.m. and exiting close to midnight.
A confrontation turned deadly between a gun-toting burglary suspect and a Millbrook police officer. Millbrook Police Chief P.K. Johnson said the incident happened just before noon Monday outside a residence on Clearview Lane in the Civil Point subdivision. The chief said one suspect was armed with a pistol and confronted an officer and gunfire was exchanged. The male suspect was killed. Millbrook said four other suspects in the attempted burglary were captured following a manhunt by several law enforcement agencies.
The powerful Alabama teacher's lobby is moving to fire its executive secretary, Henry Mabry. The Alabama Education Association board announced the action Saturday morning. The move came after a financial audit requested by the AEA board raised concerns about Mabry's financial management of the organization. Mabry issued a statement to the Montgomery Advertiser and said he enjoyed his time working for educators of the state.