September 11 News

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The state of Alabama is asking a federal appeals court to reconsider parts of two opinions that struck down some provisions of Alabama’s immigration law. Governor Robert Bentley says the state was challenging the decision to strike down the parts of the law concerning harboring illegal immigrants, contracts and collecting school data on immigrants. The state argues the court placed an illegal restraint on state government. But Mary Bauer of the Southern Poverty Law Center (a plaintiff in the case) says she’s confident the ruling will stand.

Politically active real estate developer Stan Pate of Tuscaloosa says he’ll launch a media campaign in the next few days to encourage Alabama residents to vote NO on the September 18th referendum. The constitutional amendment would take $437 million out of a state trust fund to prop up the state General Fund budget for the next three years. Pate says Alabama residents elected a Republican governor and Republican-controlled Legislature in 2010 because they wanted less government. He said GOP leaders are doing the opposite by pushing the referendum. Gov. Robert Bentley says his administration has streamlined government, but the constitutional amendment would help the state get through the most difficult economic period in many years.

Former Governor Don Siegelman says he’s in “good spirits” as he prepares to enter prison today to complete a 78-month sentence for his corruption conviction. Siegelman is required to report to the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, by 2 p.m. this afternoon. But he says he’s optimistic he will eventually be pardoned by President Barack Obama. He’s collected more than 19,000 signatures on his petition seeking clemency, but does not plan to submit it to Mr. Obama until after the November election.

The owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago says it’s getting closer to a settlement with the U-S Justice Department, but there are still a number of issues to be worked out. Transocean Ltd. and the Justice Department have discussed a $1.5 billion settlement that would resolve federal civil and criminal claims against the company. But the Switzerland-based Transocean said in a regulatory filing yesterday that a “number of issues,” including the possible time period for payment, must be resolved before a deal can be completed. Transocean says it rejected settlement offer earlier this year from BP and a group of private attorneys for Gulf Coast residents and businesses.

The Alabama Public Service Commission will meet today to consider extending special electric rates it approved last year to help stimulate the state’s economy. The special rates are offered through Alabama Power. They provide a one-year rate discount for businesses that open in buildings that have been vacant for at least six months. So far, 46 businesses have used the program. It will expire at the end of the year unless the PSC extends it.

A renowned biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner is lecturing the next two days at the University of Alabama. Alabama graduate and Mobile native E.O. Wilson will serve as a scholar-in-residence at the university. He’s best known for his study of small life forms including ants. He will speak on “The Social Conquest of Earth” on Tuesday night, and then address students during a convocation on Wednesday. Wilson has been named one of the 25 most influential people by Time Magazine.