News Minute: Here is the latest Alabama news from The Associated Press at 5:40 p.m. CDT - - The News for South Mississippi

News Minute: Here is the latest Alabama news from The Associated Press at 5:40 p.m. CDT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he supports the proposed Republican health care overhaul in Congress provided that promises are maintained to states that did not expand Medicaid and states are given greater flexibility over their programs. Bentley said he also supports a plan to give states the ability to charge copays and impose work requirements for able-bodied adults on Medicaid.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Oil companies offered more money for Gulf of Mexico oil leases than they did a year ago _ but only about half the amount bid for leases in the same area in 2015. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says 28 companies offered $274.8 million Wednesday in high bids for 163 tracts off of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. That's well above the $156 million bid on 128 tracts a year ago. But it's about 51 percent of the $539.8 million bid on 169 blocks in the same area in March 2015.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - An expert says a bird flu outbreak that has led officials to euthanize more than 200,000 animals in three Southern states is the nation's worst since 2015. Poultry science professor Joseph Hess says agriculture officials are trying to limit the damage from the disease after it was confirmed in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky. But it's unclear whether quarantines, transportation bans and mass killings will stop the spread.

TALLASSEE, Ala. (AP) - Officials say a body has been found outside an elementary school in east Alabama. The city of Tallassee's school superintendent, Wade Shipman, says a worker found a woman's body inside a vehicle parked in front of Tallassee Elementary School early Wednesday. Shipman says the woman is a former lunchroom employee who hadn't been employed in a year. Police don't believe foul play is involved.

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