State fire officials say more Alabamians died this winter because of improper use of heating appliances and other issues. Spokesman for the Alabama Fire Marshal's Office Steve Holmes tells the Anniston Star that 49 people in the state died in fires between December and February. The number is up from 39 during the same period in 2012. Holmes attributes the additional deaths to colder than normal weather and people taking extreme measures trying to stay warm. Spokesman for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Brandon Avila says the poor are disproportionately impacted by winter house fires. Avila says many low-income households have to resort to different measures to heat their homes.
Voters who don't have a valid photo ID to use in Alabama's elections can get one free at county board of registrars' offices. Alabama's chief election official, Secretary of State Jim Bennett, says registrars' offices in every county will be offering the free IDs, starting this week. Alabama's new law requiring a valid photo ID to vote takes effect the the primary election June 3rd. Many types of photo IDs can be used, including an Alabama driver's license, Alabama non-driver ID, state issued ID, federal ID, passport, military ID and employee ID from a federal, state, county or city government. Those without a proper ID can get one free by going to a registrars' office with documents showing their full legal name, date of birth and address.
Supporters of a bill that would effectively legalize a marijuana-derived oil in Alabama were disappointed last week when the legislation was held up in the state Senate. The oil has had some success in relieving seizures in children with seizure disorders where other medicines have failed. The bill, called Carly's Law, is named after Chandler's daughter. Republican Senator Paul Sanford is sponsoring the legislation in the Senate, while fellow Republican Mike Ball is shepherding the measure through the House.