MONTGOMERY, Ala. – (AP) - The Alabama Department of Public Health
is changing its policy as the swine flu virus spreads.
Alabama Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson says Thursday testing
for the H1N1 virus is no longer necessary in most cases because
patients with flu-like symptoms most likely have swine flu.
He says the state lab's limited capacity means that the agency
is restricting testing to hospitalized patients, pregnant women and
certain others. The new policy will allow the agency to more

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – (AP) - The State Employees' Insurance Board has approved several increases to health insurance premiums for Alabama's state government workers, requiring single employees to pay a preminum for the first time.
The board voted Wednesday to charge all active employees a
premium of $15 a month.
Employees who are also paying for family coverage will have
those premiums go up by $10 from $180 a month to $190 a month.
Smokers will pay an additional $5 a month, going from $25 to

(AP) - An independent study of Alabama's prepaid college tuition program shows that the most viable option for the troubled program is for the state to finance it over 18 years.
Buck Consultants didn't recommend a specific plan or source of
the funding. But it would presumably require the Legislature to
appropriate more than $52 million in fiscal year 2011 and possibly
more later.
All this would come as schools across the state struggle with
mandated budget cuts.

(AP) - A federal magistrate judge has ruled that Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford cannot afford to pay a lawyer to represent him in his upcoming trail.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Greene on Monday appointed Michael Rasmussen to continue representing Langford, who is facing bribery charges.
Green wrote that Langford is not completely indigent, he just can't afford to pay for representation.
Langford, Montgomery investment banker Bill Blount and lobbyist Al LaPierre were named in a 101-count indictment in December.

(AP) - The Alabama Department of Public Health is preparing for the largest vaccination program in state history.
The health department says the H1N1 virus, often called swine
flu, is likely to surge again and could double the number of
flu-related deaths this season.
The state should start receiving doses of the swine flu vaccine
in the fall and should eventually have enough to give everyone two
State Health Officer Don Williamson said schools will play a big
role in containing the virus.

Birmingham, Alabama – Former White House adviser Karl Rove is denying ever talking with federal prosecutors about a criminal investigation of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

The Birmingham News is reporting that transcripts of questioning by lawyers for the democratic majority of the House Judiciary Committee included Rove's comments about Siegelman.

(AP) - Committees in the Alabama Senate and
House have approved versions of a bill that would extend
unemployment benefits to state workers for an additional 20 weeks.
The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee and the
House Commerce Committee approved versions of the bill that would
use federal stimulus money to continue to pay benefits to
unemployed workers after the initial 59 weeks of unemployment
insurance has expired.
The Senate sponsor, Democratic Sen. Rodger Smitherman of

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Senate gives final approval to a bill that will allow Jefferson County officials to levy a .45 percent occupational tax.

The measure will take effect as soon as Gov. Bob Riley signs it into law.

The bill would immediately allow the Jefferson County Commission, until Jan. 1,2010, to collect the county's current occupational tax of 0.5 percent of the salaries of many people who work in the county.

Doctors, lawyers and others who pay license fees to the county or state will be exempt from paying the tax until next year.

(AP) - Employees of Anniston Sportswear Corp. say
the plant has closed, leaving 200 workers without a job.
The factory makes men's pants and was once one of the city's
largest businesses. The Anniston Star reports employees told the
newspaper that the bankrupt parent company's new owners took the
remaining pants from the factory over the weekend and closed the
plant with no notice.
On Friday, the company closed a deal with London-based Emerisque

August 10,2009 – (AP) - Alabama legislators are heading to Montgomery to begin a special session aimed at resolving a budget crisis in the state's most populous county.
Lawmakers convene Monday night to consider bills that would help end a partial government shutdown that began last week in Jefferson County. About 1,000 county workers are on unpaid leave, and residents are waiting in line for hours to do things like renew their car tags.
Court rulings earlier this year blocked Jefferson County from
spending money from an occupational tax that provides about