The South is bracing itself for a big fall today. Arctic air is expected to bring in another deep freeze and could usher in light snow, freezing raid and sleet. Forecasters say the polar blast will send wind chills plummeting in some places. The National Weather Service says it's a persistent cold pattern and not a polar vortex, a system of winds that circulate around the North Pole that will push its way into Alabama later today. Meteorologists have issues a winter storm watch for much of Alabama that begins Tuesday morning and runs through late Tuesday night. Residents are urged to stay informed about winter weather conditions.
Customers might no longer be able to call the Alabama Public Service Commission to complain about phone service. A bill moving through the Legislature would complete the deregulation of home and business phone service by ending the PSC's ability to handle customer complaints about landlines. The bill is being pushed by the state's largest phone company, AT&T. The company's president Fred McCallum, said regulation is no longer needed because the industry is highly competitive and unhappy customers can switch companies. PSC President Twinkle Cavanaugh has said she is not taking a position on the bill. The bill awaits a vote in the Alabama House.
Montgomery police are investigating the city's first homicide of the year. Detectives said the victim is a woman who was found shot to death inside a vehicle near the intersection of Davenport and South Boulevard. Police responded to the area around 5 o'clock Sunday morning and found the woman dead from a gunshot wound. No arrests have been made. The victim's name was withheld.
Health Insurance Bill
Legislators hope to save the state around $10 million dollars by eliminating the Alabama Health Insurance Program. The program was originally set up for high risk residents who have trouble getting health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. State Representative Steve Clouse is sponsoring a bill that would transfer 1,900 current policyholders over to the new federal health care program. During House debate last week, Democratic Representative Artis A.J. McCampbell of Demopolis said the Republican-led bill contradicts efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The bill passed the House and now goes to the Senate.
Alabama legislators would be limited to three consecutive terms under a proposed constitutional amendment approved last week by a state committee. The term limits legislation is sponsored by Republican Senator Trip Pittman of Daphne. Senator Pittman has brought term limit bills for several years now without success. The Senate Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee approved the bill. It still has to go through the House and Senate and then be approved by voters before becoming law.
City leaders are asking a dozen businesses to form an alliance to help investigate and clean a 55-block area beneath downtown Montgomery. The Montgomery Advertiser reports city officials are formulating a plan to address the Capital City Plume site and refund $3.5 million dollars the Environmental Protection Agency has spent investigating the area. Contaminated groundwater was found beneath downtown Montgomery more than 20 years ago. The Downtown Environmental Alliance is the first step in a plan designed to lead to the state Department of Environmental Management overseeing the site.