Around the South for Dec. 31: AL, KY & TX

Alabama: Officials tour tornado damage. In the wake of a major tornado in a Southwest Birmingham area, Gov. Robert Bentley (R), Birmingham Mayor William Bell (D) and US Rep. Terry Sewell (D) toured the ravaged neighborhood, comforting those who were injured or had lost their homes, reports No deaths were reported, but 72 structures were destroyed ……. Kentucky: State House could fall to GOP. When theBluegrass State legislature convenes in January, Republicans will control the Senate while Democrats have the House, but only by a 50D-46R margin. In recent weeks, two Democratic representatives have switched to the GOP. In addition, there are four vacancies in the House, and Republicans could win all four seats in upcoming special elections. If that happens, notes Amber Phillips in the Washington Post, Republicans will control every single state legislative chamber in the South, to the Democrats’ zero ……. Texas: Abbott accomplishes most goals. One year after becoming governor of theLone Star State, Gov. Greg Abbot (R) got some of the proposals he emphasized in his inaugural address, reports TWCNews.Com. On education, a higher education research initiative passed. On transportation, more money was put into roads and highways. On border security, some $800 million is being spent over two years for more resources. The only complete failure was on ethics reform, with the legislature declining to pass tougher curbs on conflicts of interest and financial disclosure …….