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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has begun her first full term as governor, promising to help build a foundation for the state's future. The 74-year-old governor was sworn into office Monday on the steps of the Alabama Capitol. Ivey used her inauguration speech to talk about coming initiatives in infrastructure and corrections. She says that if Alabama wants to compete in the 21st century, it must improve infrastructure. A proposed gas tax for road and bridge construction is expected to be debated by lawmakers this spring.

   Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean has thrown his hat into the ring to run for mayor. He used a video on social media to make the announcement. In that video, Dean professed his wish to be the mayor that works to move all of Montgomery forward. He says quote, “no more West Montgomery and East Montgomery. Just all of us working with one goal; to better our entire community.”

He outlined his platform as one for better jobs, improved education and upgrades to Montgomery’s quality of life. 

   Citing congested and neglected roadways and crumbling bridges, legislative leaders said a gas tax measure to improve infrastructure will be a major topic of the 2019 regular session. The state gas tax is currently 18 cents a gallon and that’s what it has been since 1992. It is among the lowest in the nation, according to comparisons from the American Petroleum Institute. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon says they have discussed ideas such as linking the gas tax to a regional average or indexing. He said the goal is to provide a revenue stream that will not be burdensome at the pump.

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     Attorneys for inmates are asking a federal judge to find the Alabama prison system in contempt of a court order to boost prison mental health staffing. Lawyers wrote in a Thursday motion that the Department of Corrections is "woefully short" of required staffing levels. Attorneys for inmates wrote that a court order requires 263 full time equivalent mental-health positions. The state last month informed the court that it could not comply with the order.

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The historic government shutdown is beginning to stir anxiety in and around Paradise, Calif. The town of about 25,000 people was almost completely destroyed by a deadly wildfire last November and almost everyone and everything directly affected is relying heavily on federal aid.

So far FEMA and Small Business Administration loans do not appear to be affected. But local officials say the shutdown is causing delays in more under-the-radar infrastructure projects, which could have serious, longterm consequences.

Updated at 1:00 a.m. ET Thursday

Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard who created the first index mutual fund for individual investors in 1975, died Wednesday at the age of 89, the company said.

Bogle transformed the way people invest. He believed that investors should own a mix of bonds and stocks but shouldn't pay investment managers to pick them.

Two portraits of William Barr emerged during the second day of his confirmation hearing to lead the Justice Department as President Trump's choice as attorney general.

One was of a brilliant and moral man who oversaw the resolution of a hostage crisis at a federal prison without any casualties and another was of an early 1990s attorney general who held views on race and policing that now seem antiquated and unacceptable to many in law enforcement.

"Hitting a woman for a man is as normal as eating a tortilla from a food stand on the way to work," said Karen Paz, 34, from San Pedro Sula in Honduras, revealing a scar from a burn on her left shoulder. "He wanted to burn my face, but my daughter started screaming when she saw him taking the pan with boiling butter. She pushed him, and so he aimed for the arm instead."

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The oceans are filling up with plastic trash; much of it is packaging material. So environmentalists are demanding that corporations that sell consumer goods find new packaging that doesn't last for decades or even centuries. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the movement is germinating in the Philippines, and it's led by a man who calls himself a simple island boy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The oceans are filling up with plastic trash; much of it is packaging material. So environmentalists are demanding that corporations that sell consumer goods find new packaging that doesn't last for decades or even centuries. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the movement is germinating in the Philippines, and it's led by a man who calls himself a simple island boy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The oceans are filling up with plastic trash; much of it is packaging material. So environmentalists are demanding that corporations that sell consumer goods find new packaging that doesn't last for decades or even centuries. As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, the movement is germinating in the Philippines, and it's led by a man who calls himself a simple island boy.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET

Officials leasing the Old Post Office Building for the Trump International Hotel in Washington improperly ignored the Constitution's anti-corruption clauses when they continued to lease the government property to President Trump even after he won the White House, according to an internal federal government watchdog.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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