- Video Gallery
LETHAL INJECTION DRUGS
Ala. House approves execution drug secrecy bill
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama House of Representatives has approved a bill to keep the manufacturers and suppliers of lethal injection drugs confidential.
Representatives voted 77-19 for the bill Thursday. It now moves to the Senate.
The bill would prevent the state from having to disclose the names of drug providers during litigation over the death penalty.
Republican Rep. Lynn Greer of Rogersville says the prison system is having difficulty obtaining the drugs because suppliers are faced with harassment and litigation from death penalty opponents. Greer said the state should protect them.
Democratic Rep. Napoleon Bracy argues that companies making money by selling execution drugs to the state should be willing to have their identities disclosed.
The director of the Death Penalty Information Center says about seven states have adopted similar laws.
Alabama State supporters rally over budget
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama State University students and supporters have rallied in the rain outside the Statehouse to make sure a big budget cut is restored to their university.
The education budget passed by the state Senate for the upcoming school year would cut ASU by more than $10 million, or one-fourth of amount it got this year. University President Gwendolyn Boyd told supporters Thursday to go inside the Statehouse and raise their voices for fairness.
Senate budget committee Chairman Trip Pittman says he included the cut and gave the governor the authority to restore the money because he wanted to give Boyd and the governor help in bringing changes to the university after critical findings by forensic auditors. But Pittman says he expects the Legislature to reinstate the money.
EGG PRODUCTION LAWSUIT
Ala. joins agricultural lawsuit against California
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama has joined a lawsuit to block California from imposing its own agricultural standards on out-of-state producers.
State Attorney General Luther Strange said Thursday that Alabama is looking to prevent California from requiring that only eggs from chickens housed in large, roomy cages be sold in the state.
Strange says Alabama is one of the country's top egg producers and USDA statistics show Alabama produced more than 2.1 million eggs in 2012.
Strange says California voters passed a proposition requiring farmers to provide free ranges or larger cages for their chickens. Citing fears that the law would put California farmers at a disadvantage, Strange says the state added provisions making the law apply to out-of-state producers as well.
Strange says officials from four other states argue the law is unconstitutional.
Coroner, funeral home director guilty of theft
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says the Elmore County Coroner and a funeral home director have been convicted of theft and ethics violations.
Strange said Thursday that Timothy Ellison pleaded guilty to theft and using his position for personal gain. Director of the Hillside Mortuary Yancey Joe Mitchell III also pleaded guilty to theft and aiding and abetting Ellison by providing false paperwork.
Alabama law allows coroners to be reimbursed for transporting bodies to the Department of Forensic Sciences or funeral homes. Strange says Ellison overcharged the county, state and several municipalities.
Ellison is ordered to pay nearly $8,000 in restitution and is scheduled to be sentenced April 9.
Mitchell has been sentenced to a year of probation and is ordered to pay a $250 fine and court costs.
Merry Christmas bill nearing passage in Alabama
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Legislature is getting close to enacting a law to allow public schools to educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations and allow student and staff to exchange seasonal greetings.
The bill by Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa won approval in the Senate last month and cleared the House Education Policy Committee on Wednesday. It now goes to the House for a final vote.
Christmas and Hanukkah are the only celebrations mentioned in Allen's bill. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays are the only greetings mentioned.
Democratic Rep. Marcel Black of Tuscumbia voted against the bill and said teachers and students can already do what the bill says. Allen says there is confusion among school officials, and he's trying to clarify what's permissible.
Ala man, son rescued after fall
EVA, Ala. (AP) - A north Alabama man and his young son are OK after the child fell off a cliff in Morgan County.
Authorities say a 4-year-old boy fell at least 40 feet down a sheer cliff after wandering away from his home in Eva on Wednesday afternoon.
The child's father tried to reach the child but became stuck.
Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin says it took 50 rescuers an hour to get the two to safety.
The child was smiling afterward, and the man was able to walk. Both were taken to a hospital for observation and treatment.
Family members identify the father as 32-year-old Jeremy Hudgins and the boy as Joseph Hudgins.
The boy's mother, Stephanie Hudgins, says her five young boys normally aren't allowed near the cliff.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.