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

There's a lot to recommend life in a large town or small city, but there's no doubt it can get claustrophobic — familiar faces can get too familiar, and it's hard to blend into the crowd when everyone in the crowd knows who you are.

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Three Chicago cops are expected to learn Thursday if they will be convicted for allegedly covering up for a fellow officer in the high-profile shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Officer Joseph Walsh, and former Detective David March were each charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct for allegedly exaggerating the threat the 17-year-old posed to officers.

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

While the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues, President Trump's approval rating is down, and there are cracks showing with his base.

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds Trump's approval rating down and his disapproval rating up from a month ago. He currently stands at 39 percent approve, 53 disapprove — a 7-point net change from December when his rating was 42 percent approve, 49 percent disapprove.

Twenty five years ago, at 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1994, the Northridge earthquake shook Angelenos from their beds. For those of us who lived through it, the memories of chaos early in the morning are unforgettable.

"We were just literally startled awake by a freight train driving right through our bedroom," said my father, Mark Margolis, who along with my sister, my mother and myself, was sleeping just about seven miles from the epicenter. "I mean the blinds that were supposed to be hanging vertical were like out horizontal. So, there was a tremendous amount of movement."

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

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

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