More than 300 high school girls welcomed Governor Robert Bentley to their 2014 Girls State Inauguration Thursday. Bentley spoke to the young ladies about education, leadership and current government issues. Bentley encouraged the participants to strive for excellence while enjoying life. The goal of the program is to teach students more about the functions of local and state government.
The Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System has announced new steps to improve access to veterans. They include expanding tele-medical programs; revamping medical appointment procedures; hiring additional physicians; and expanding clinics hours to include Saturday clinics for primary care.
Governor Robert Bentley is urging sweeping prison reform across the state. Many of the state's prisons have been criticized for overcrowding, sexual abuse and deplorable conditions. Bryan Stevenson, executive director of Montgomery's Equal Justice Initiative said the state's alarming prison overcrowding issue stems from several main factors, he says the state adopted excessive sentences for low-level nonviolent crimes, passed three-strike laws and made drug abuse and addiction a crime problem instead of a healthcare problem. The state has a limited amount of time to fix its prison issues
Alabama's seven member House Delegation joined the majority in approving legislation to address military veterans' long waits for care at VA hospitals. The U.S. House unanimously approved the bill Tuesday to make it easier for veterans enduring lengthy delays for initial visits to get VA paid treatment from local doctors instead. The U.S. Senate is taking up a similar bill.
A new task force has been created to examine the state's criminal justice system. Governor Robert Bentley said the state is participating in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. The Joint Prison Reform Task Force will meet over the next few months; policy options could be available by December.
Thunderstorms brought hail and strong winds to parts of Alabama overnight. The storms approached from Mississippi Monday and rolled to the northeast. Hail was reported in Pickens County this morning. Wind gusts of up to 65 miles per hour were recorded in Lamar County. Weather forecasters said numerous trees were toppled. A mobile home overturned in Marion County, while a roof was torn off a church in the town of Barnesville.
A ruling could come by the end of July on whether Alabama can enforce a new law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit patients to nearby hospitals. A federal judge in Montgomery has wrapped up a three-week trial.
Veterans health care facilities in Montgomery and Tuskegee are among 84 medical facilities being investigated for unethical practices for falsifying records to hide long wait times for veterans care. Second District Congresswoman Martha Roby said in a statement that she is "disgusted and infuriated by the behavior." On Friday, Roby had a meeting with Central Alabama VA Health System director James Talton about the audit. Talton said several employees were fired after he learned about the discrepancies. The nationwide audit of VA facilities will be released today.
An arrest has been made in the Wednesday homicide of a 64-year-old Montgomery man. Police have charged 26-year-old Alfonso Hardy of Montgomery with murder in the death of his father, Alfonso Beamon. Police were called to the 1000 block of Henle Street around 3 p.m. Wednesday where they found Beamon dead, apparently from blunt force trauma. The investigation has determined that the homicide resulted from a family dispute. Hardy is being held under a $75,000 bond at the Montgomery County Detention Facility.
The voters have spoken and with a few exceptions incumbents enjoyed comfortable victories in Tuesday's primary elections across Alabama.
In the Governor's race, Republican Robert Bentley easily outpolled two challengers to win the GOP nomination. Bentley garnered 98 percent of the vote to defeat Stacy George and Bob Starkey. Bentley faces Democrat Parker Griffith of Huntsville who pulled in 89 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.