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Exports, stolen bus, quiz results: Down in Alabama

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Exports, stolen bus, quiz results: Down in Alabama


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Made in Alabama

Alabama’s businesses again broke the record for exported goods in 2023, reports AL.com’s William Thornton.

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Companies shipped out $27.4 billion worth of vehicles, aerospace parts, minerals, metals and more to 190 countries last year. That’s a 6% increase over their 2022 exports. Vehicles led the way at $11.5 billion.

The top destination for Made in Alabama goods last year was Germany, which imported $5.1 billion worth from our companies. Germany was followed by Canada, China and Mexico, all with more than $3 billion worth.

Catching the bus

A school bus was reported stolen from near West Jefferson Town Hall, reports AL.com’s Carol Robinson.

If you’re not familiar with the location of the town of West Jefferson, I can help: It’s on the western edge of Jefferson County.

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Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s Lt. Joni Money said the bus was parked by Town Hall on Friday afternoon. But when the bus driver showed up Monday morning, it was gone.

Money said the bus was found Monday afternoon in — as some of you might’ve expected — Walker County.

Wetlands forever

A collaboration among conservation groups has resulted in the preservation of 8,000 acres of Mobile-Tensaw Delta known as the Land Between the Rivers, reports AL.com’s Dennis Pillion.

The Nature Conservancy, along with Patagonia’s Holdfast Collective and an undisclosed donor, closed a deal worth more than $15 million — they’re not giving specifics. The Land Between the Rivers is located in Clark County and includes area between the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers where they meet to form the Delta. It’s part of what they call America’s Amazon — an area containing an incredible volume of the nation’s biodiversity and wildlife.

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No break for the bomber

Olympic Park and abortion-clinic bomber Eric Rudolph’s request for a new sentence was denied by an appeals court, reports The Associated Press.

Rudolph’s request was in response to a 2019 Supreme Court ruling that found a statute on “crime of violence” penalties wasn’t clear. He’s serving life after admitting to four bombings, including the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Games.

Here in Alabama he set a bomb at an abortion clinic in Birmingham that killed a police officer and injured a nurse at the clinic.

The judge wrote in the opinion that when Rudolph negotiated to avoid the death penalty, he committed to the terms of his sentence.

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Quiz results

Yesterday’s Week in Review quiz was clearly way too easy. We even had our first 100% question — every single person who took the quiz through midnight yesterday got it right.

We shouldn’t be shocked it was about Nick Saban.

Here are the answers and how well we did on each question:

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The crawfish harvest this year is well below typical levels, according to sources from southern Louisiana. A reason for this is:

  • Drought conditions this past summer and fall dried mud under and around many ponds. (CORRECT) 76.8%
  • Storm surge from past tropical storms have increased salinity of bayou waters. 10.1%
  • Crawfish poachers from Arkansas have put a dent in the population. 0.7%
  • Oyster-drill snails have moved inland in search of a better food supply. 12.3%

An Alabama-based spinoff reportedly in the plans to follow the Rick & Bubba Show is:

  • The Rick Burgess Show (CORRECT) 86.2%
  • The Bubba Bussey Show 5.8%
  • Outdoor Weekend with Rick & Bubba 7.2%
  • The Rick & Bubba Fitness Challenge 0.7%

It’s been announced that Nick Saban will be:

  • Joining the ESPN GameDay panel. (CORRECT) 100.0%
  • Running for governor in 2026. 0.0%
  • The new GM for the Detroit Lions. 0.0%
  • On the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars. 0.0%

A new law cut the state’s sales tax on groceries from 4% to 3% this past September and tied further cuts to growth in the state’s tax revenues. Beginning this coming September the rate will be:

  • 0% … 8.0%
  • 1% … 5.1%
  • 2% … 25.4%
  • 3% (CORRECT) … 61.6%

Thieves reportedly stole this unlikely object.

  • A radio tower (CORRECT) 90.6%
  • A refrigerator 2.2%
  • A brick pizza oven 3.6%
  • A football goal post 3.6%

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Alabama

Georgia Democrats push for state laws protecting reproductive rights following Alabama court ruling – WABE

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Georgia Democrats push for state laws protecting reproductive rights following Alabama court ruling – WABE


Georgia Democrats are pressing their Republican colleagues to protect access to in vitro fertilization after the Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled that fertilized eggs are children under that state’s law.

“Georgians need certainty to know that that level of terror will not be inflicted upon them,” said Sen. Elena Parent, an Atlanta Democrat who is the lead sponsor of the bill and the Senate minority caucus chair. 

“Probably right now there are couples here in Georgia questioning whether they should spend the money to embark on that journey knowing that that ability could be ripped from them at any time,” she said.

Democrats from both chambers held a press conference Wednesday to encourage the majority party to act on just-filed bills that would protect access to IVF and contraception, including condoms, birth control pills and IUDs.

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“Our reproductive rights are fragile,” said Rep. Teri Anulewicz, a Smyrna Democrat who co-sponsored a bill in the House that would protect access to contraception. “We know that IVF is on the chopping block, and we know that it is just a matter of time for contraception. It is not a question of if, but when.”

In Alabama, IVF programs have been put on hold after a Feb. 16 Alabama Supreme Court decision that declared frozen embryos children and said parents could collect damages for their destruction under an 1872 state law, according to the Alabama Reflector.

The fallout from the ruling has spurred Alabama Republicans to push forward bills designed to protect access to IVF. One bill would provide civil and criminal immunity to providers following commonly accepted practices of care, and another would provide civil and criminal immunity for the “death or damage to an embryo” related to IVF. 

In Georgia, Senate Democrats have proposed spelling out in state law that any human egg or human embryo that exists outside of the uterus “shall not, under any circumstances, be considered an unborn child, a minor child, a natural person, or any other term that connotes a human being for any purpose under state law.”

Georgia’s 2019 abortion law defines an unborn child as “a member of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb.” IVF is a process in which an egg is removed from a woman’s body, fertilized in a laboratory and then returned.

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But supporters of reproductive rights have said they are not confident the law will protect patient access and say clarity is needed, particularly after what has played out next door. And an attempt to protect access to IVF nationwide was blocked Wednesday in the U.S. Senate by a Mississippi Republican. 

Parent, who is an attorney, argued that some of the language in Georgia’s abortion law is confusing. In addition to a six-week ban on abortion, Georgia law also includes a tax break for expecting parents and other so-called personhood provisions.

“Our code is riddled with all kinds of places where there are question marks, and therefore, we need this strong, very clear, very simple statement that embryos outside of the uterus are not children,” she said Wednesday.

But Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch dismissed the need for the bill Wednesday.

“It doesn’t take a lawyer to understand that a ruling by an Alabama court applies to Alabama. Democrats are disingenuously presenting their so-called solutions to problems that simply do not exist in Georgia,” Gooch said in a statement.

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The Dahlonega Republican also criticized Parent for filing the bill too late for consideration through the normal legislative process. 

Thursday is Crossover Day, which is the deadline for a bill to leave at least one chamber to have a chance at passage this year. But Democrats said with Republican support, the protections could be added to a related bill through a legislative maneuver.

But Gooch shot down any chance of that happening in the Senate. 

“The most dangerous thing we can do as state lawmakers is to hastily address an issue not present in our state,” Gooch said.

Democrats also pointed to the lack of congressional action to enshrine access to contraception last year in response to a section of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization abortion case. 

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Thomas wrote the court should reconsider precedent-setting cases that used the same logic applied in Roe v. Wade, specifically that justices “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” Griswold v. Connecticut ruling in 1965 recognized married couples’ right to use contraception. 

Last year, the Georgia Supreme Court sided with the state on the question of whether Georgia’s 2019 law was constitutional since it was passed when Roe v. Wade was still in place. But the rest of the lawsuit challenging the law is still pending in Fulton County Superior Court. 

This story was provided by WABE content partner Georgia Recorder.



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Alabama

No. 14 Alabama hits century mark again, earns 20th win

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No. 14 Alabama hits century mark again, earns 20th win


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SEC Network

Mark Sears scored 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting to lead No. 14 Alabama to a 103-88 road victory over Ole Miss on Wednesday night in Oxford, Miss.

The win was the 20th of the season for the Crimson Tide and improvied their SEC record to 12-3, at least temporarily putting them at the top of the SEC standings.

The Rebels led 42-39 at halftime, but were outscored by Bama 64-46 in the second half.

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Sears was one of six players to score in double figures for Alabama (20-8 overall, 12-3 in SEC).

It marked the 18th time this season Sears has scored 20 or more points, the most for an Alabama player since the 1992-93 season when James “Hollywood” Robinson accomplished the feat.

Aaron Estrada added a triple-double for the Tide with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Ole Miss (19-9, 6-9) was led by Allen Flanigan with a game-high 28 points.

Check back later for the full recap.

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Alabama House committee passes bill putting definitions of sex into law – Alabama Reflector

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Alabama House committee passes bill putting definitions of sex into law – Alabama Reflector


The Alabama House Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved a bill creating legal definitions of men and women based on the presence or potential for the person to possess certain reproductive cells.

HB 111, sponsored by Rep. Susan DuBose, R-Hoover, says that a man is a person with “a reproductive system that at some point produces sperm” while a woman is a person with “a reproductive system that at some point produces ova.”

The proposal also allows state and local agencies to create separate spaces assigned to each gender and mandates them to collect information that identifies people based on their gender at birth.

“It is a definition bill for our courts to have guidance when interpreting laws that already exist in Alabama,” DuBose said. “Words have meaning, and my intent is to make sure we have uniform definitions, and our courts have clarity.”

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SB 92, a similar bill sponsored by Sen. April Weaver, R-Brierfield, was approved in a Senate committee earlier this month.

More than 100 people showed up to a public hearing on the legislation last week. The bill, coming after years of legislative attacks on transgender youth by the Alabama Legislature, has troubled groups who advocate for people in the LGBTQ+ community. DuBose sponsored a law last year banning transgender youth from playing college sports.

“For a number of reasons, HB 111 and SB 92, the ‘What is a Woman Act’ does not make sense to implement because it defines the social categories of gender as reproductive systems,” said Allison Montgomery, a member of the Alabama Transgender Rights Action Coalition, in an interview Tuesday. “Even if people transition, they are forever legally classified as whatever they were assigned at birth.”

The implications could be profound for people who are incarcerated, allowing transgender people to be placed into facilities with those who are the opposite gender.

“We are seeing calls to law enforcement because someone suspects someone else in the bathroom of being transgendered,” Montgomery said. “Bills like this are dangerous for everybody because they create a culture of fear.”

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Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, expressed reservations about the bill.

“Oftentimes, we create definitions, and we create laws that then create perceptions, and there are people who pursue those perceptions,” he said.

DuBose said the only impact of her bill would be a law that was already passed in education that required K-12 students use the bathrooms according to their sex, “and this would define sex for those purposes,” she said.

England also referred to a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court case called Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the justices ruled 6-3 vote that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination because of sexuality or gender identity.

“If you create a definition that people have to fit into in state law that doesn’t require certain accommodations to be made based on those definitions, but then you have a Supreme Court case that does require certain accommodations to be made, there may be some conflict there,” England said.

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DuBose said she is not aware of the case but does not have an issue with the decision made by the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are at the beginning stages of this legislation,” England said. “I am certainly willing to come and talk to you further about those because there may be a way that we can draw up legislation and take some of the language from the recent Supreme Court decision, and also the definitions that are already in state law, and maybe prevent litigation in the future.”



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