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Alabama lawmakers will enter their 2014 session today with more to spend on education programs but less for non-education programs, like prisons and Medicaid. A Selma legislator said he will push a bill to raise the minimum wage in Alabama to $9.80 an hour. Rep. Darrio Melton calls it a moral issue. Lawmakers will also have to deal with overcrowding in Alabama's prisons and a request for more corrections officers. You can hear Governor Robert Bentley's legislative wishlist when he addresses a Joint session of the Legislature this evening. WVAS-FM will broadcast tonight's State of the State speech. It starts at 6:30 p.m.
The two males jailed in connection with a robbery-murder in Selma made their first court appearance Monday. 22-year-old Rodney Walter Junior and 21-year-old Maurice Pope, both of Selma, are each charged with capital murder in the shooting death of 62-year-old Orlando Robinson. Selma police said the victim was gunned down and robbed of around $42 after he walked out of a private liquor store on Broad Street. Investigators said the shooting occurred around midnight Sunday. A judge ordered Walter and Pope held without bond. They'll be back in court for a preliminary hearing on February 25th.
The number of Alabamians signing up for the federally operated health insurance marketplace jumped significantly in the last month, with more than 28,600 signed up through late December. The Department of Health and Human Services says 58 percent of those who have signed up are women. The biggest group signing up in Alabama was those 55 to 64 years old, in line with national trend. About 70 percent of the Alabamians picked the second-level silver plan.
Butler County is getting an economic boost. Ozark Materials announced it will create up to 40 new jobs. The Company has already said it would hire as many as 80 people by the fall. Ozark Materials, the makers of thermoplastics, will move into a 300,000 square foot facility in Greenville by the end of February.