Florida's new law requiring welfare applicants to take drug tests may soon be copied in Alabama. Republican legislators say they are working on similar bills for the Legislature's next regular session starting Feb. 7. Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale introduced a Florida-style bill late in this year's session. He predicts the bill will be back with either him or another Republican as sponsor. Rep. Kerry Rich of Albertville says he's working on a bill to require drug testing for welfare applicants and recipients if they have any felony conviction or a misdemeanor drug conviction. ...Read more
More than 20 religious leaders and officials with church-operated charities say in affidavits filed in federal court in Birmingham that a new state immigration law would block them from providing food, shelter and transportation to the poor. The Episcopal Bishop of Alabama, Henry Parsley, said in an affidavit the law would force church members to break the law when they follow the Biblical mandate to "share God's love with others" regardless of immigration status. The affidavits were filed in support of a lawsuit filed by Parsley and two other church leaders seeking to block the ...Read more
Tuscaloosa County and Northport will vote Tuesday, August 23, on legalizing Sunday alcohol sales in those areas. The referendum up for consideration is the same as the one Tuscaloosa votes passed earlier this year. This time, people who live in the City of Tuscaloosa will not be eligible to vote. Some businesses in Northport and Tuscaloosa County say they need Sunday sales to be competitive with Tuscaloosa. Meanwhile, the Tuscaloosa County Baptist Association has sent out more than 80 letters to local churches, asking pastors to ask their congregations ...Read more
The judge in Alabama's gambling corruption case is considering requests to delay the retrial or to divide the seven defendants into three groups for retrial. The gambling corruption trial ended Aug. 11 with 33 undecided charges against seven of the defendants. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has scheduled a retrial Oct. 3. The judge held a conference call with lawyers Thursday. Defense attorney Jim Parkman said his side urged more time. He said they discussed a possible trial date in January, but no decision was made. ...Read more
The Greenetrack gaming facility in Greene County has met with a setback in court. The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled the Attorney General does not have to return bingo machines it seized from Greenetrack. On June 1, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange ordered hundreds of electronic bingo machines to be removed from Greenetrack. Earlier in August, Special Circuit Judge Houston Brown ruled Strange lacked probable cause to seize the machines and ordered them to be returned. Strange appealed to the Supreme Court and got the stay.&n ...Read more
A federal judge plans to retry Alabama's gambling corruption case starting Oct. 3. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson set the retrial date Monday after talking with federal prosecutors and defense lawyers by phone. The Justice Department asked the judge to split the seven remaining defendants into three groups for retrial. VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor and former legislative bill writer Ray Crosby would be first, state Sen. Harri Anne Smith would be second, and then the other four defendants. ...Read more
Leaders of Alabama's largest county have rejected a settlement with Wall Street to pay off more than $3.1 billion in debt. The unanimous Friday vote by five members of the Jefferson County Commission again delays a decision on whether they need to file what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy ever. The commission unanimously approved a resolution to give the commission president and finance chair until Sept. 16 to personally negotiate a deal with Wall Street. ...Read more
The federal judge who presided over Alabama's gambling trial will talk with defense and prosecution attorneys Monday about when to schedule the retrial for the seven defendants who remain. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson scheduled the conference call for 11 a.m. Monday.
The 10-week-long trial ended Thursday with the jury clearing two
of the defendants. The panel issued split verdicts on the other seven defendants. The jury couldn't reach a decision on some counts and returned not guilty verdicts on others. A total of 33 charges remain against the seven defendants. ...Read more
A judge is standing by his ruling to allow seized electronic bingo machines to return to Greenetrack. Special Circuit Judge Houston Brown rejected Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange's request for a stay. The Attorney General's Office got state police to seize the machines May 31, based on a search warrant issued by Brown. Last week, Brown ruled the Attorney General lacked probable cause to seize the gaming machines. Attorney General Strange is appealing the case to the Alabama Supreme Court.
Jurors have acquitted or failed to reach a verdict on all the charges against the nine defendants in Alabama's gambling trial. Victoryland casino owner Milton McGregor was found not guilty of one count of bribery and two counts of honest services fraud. The jury failed to reach a verdict on his other charges and a mistrial was declared on them. ...Read more