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The Alabama Legislature kicks off an election-year session Tuesday and will deal with possible changes to the state tax code and Medicaid and a proposal to create a state lottery. The House Republican Caucus is pushing a package of bills aimed at simplifying tax laws while maintaining the GOP's record of not raising taxes. Many Democrats are pushing for an expansion of the Medicaid program, but Republican leaders say that's not going to happen. House Minority Leader Craig Ford is proposing a referendum on creating a state lottery, but House Majority Leader Mickey Hammon predicts the bill won't pass. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says the Republican leadership hopes to stay on issues that are fairly noncontroversial in the election year.
A pedestrian who died after being hit by an SUV in Opelika has been identified. Lee County Coroner Bill Harris says 42-year-old Anthony Shane Hurst was hit on Waverly Parkway Saturday night and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Harris says it appears that Hurt was trying to cross the highway when he was hit. Harris says charges are not expected to be filed and alcohol doesn't appear to be a factor in the crash. Opelika Police and the Lee County Coroner's Office are investigating the crash.
Two Selma men have been charged with capital murder in the shooting death of a 62-year-old man. Authorities say the victim was leaving a liquor store Saturday night when he was shot in the back during an armed robbery. The suspects have been identified as 22-year-old Rodney F. Walter and 21-year-old Maurice D. Pope. Police report the men stole $43 from the victim's wallet. The two suspects are being held in the Dallas County jail without bond.
Women and Firearms
Police and shooting range employees in Montgomery say an increasing number of women are taking classes to familiarize themselves with firearms. Project manager of the Alabama Shooting Complex, Dennis Cotton, told the Montgomery Advertiser that women have become the largest group of shooters taking classes at the 800-acre complex. Gun shop owners Doug and Marsha Williamson also say they've seen a steady increase in women buying firearms in the past five to seven years. The newspaper reports that Gallup poll data shows the number of American women buying firearms jumped from 13 to 23 percent between 2005 and 2011. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported in August that 37 percent of the new target shooters are female, although women account for 22 percent of the established target shooting population.