Top Headlines: Tornadoes rip through Lee County, City leaders back gas tax hike

Death toll at least 23 after tornadoes rip through Lee County
At least 23 people were killed in southeastern Alabama on Sunday after a slew of damaging tornadoes ripped through the area, officials said. The death toll in Lee County likely will rise as search and rescue crews go back out Monday morning. So far, all of those killed are from the town of Beauregard, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told ABC News, who described the damage as “catastrophic.” – ABC

City leaders from around state back Ivey on gas tax hike plan
Municipal leaders from across the state joined Gov. Kay Ivey at the State Capitol on Friday for a press conference on her Rebuild Alabama Infrastructure Plan.The plan proposes a 10-cent increase on Alabama’s fuel tax. Currently, the state imposes a flat tax of 18 cents per gallon on gas and 19 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. The tax increase will be phased in over the next three years. – WHNT

Legislature returns on Fat Tuesday to begin regular session
Alabama lawmakers return for the 2019 legislative session on Tuesday. Gov. Kay Ivey will discuss her agenda in her State of the State address Tuesday evening. Fixing prisons, looking at a gas tax hike, a lottery and permit-less gun carrying are on the menu. – AP

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Infrastructure, tech growth among BBA legislative priorities
Infrastructure, research and development tax credits, growth of technology companies, workforce development and the reauthorization of the Alabama Jobs Enhancement Act will be top priorities for the Birmingham Business Alliance during the Alabama Legislative Session, according to the organization. – News release

Birmingham’s first Small Business Council selected
The City of Birmingham’s inaugural Small Business Council has been selected. Twenty-two small business owners and supporters and start-up founders were named to the panel from 140 applications. They will serve two-year terms. The council will act as an advisory group to Mayor Randall Woodfin and the city’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity. – AL.com

Victoria’s Secret closing 53 stores this year in last-clasp effort
Victoria’s Secret is the latest retailer to announce store closures. L Brands, which operates the up-scale lingerie chain, is planning to close 53 stores this year. A list of the stores slated for closure has not been released. L Brands CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer said the locations set for closure is based on “current and projected performance, sales, profit, cash flow,” as well as the stores’ effect on nearby stores and the company’s online business. – AL.com

University of Mobile names interim president
The University of Mobile Board of Trustees today announced plans for interim leadership of the university and will start a nationwide search for a new president. Current Board of Trustees Chairman Fred Wilson was named interim president. David Conner will assume the role of chairman of the Board of Trustees. President Emeritus Dr. Mark Foley will serve as a consultant while the search begins for the university’s fifth president. – News release

Volvo limits speed of new models to increase passenger safety
Volvo Cars said on Monday it will introduce a 180 km per hour (112 mph) speed limiter on all new vehicles as the Swedish automaker seeks to burnish its safety credentials and meet a pledge to eliminate passenger fatalities by 2020. While Volvo, whose XC90 flagship SUV currently has a top speed of 131 mph, has made progress on its so-called “Vision 2020” target of zero deaths or serious injuries, Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said it is unlikely to meet the goal without additional measures to address driver behavior. – Reuters

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