A not-so-flattering report from the U.S. Justice Department about conditions at Julia Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka has prompted a state senator to seek more money for state prisons. Senator Arthur Orr of Decatur tells the Montgomery Advertiser that additional money must be found to correct issues the DOJ contend are unconstitutional. Also, lawmakers have begun debating a bill that would shorten the appeal time in death penalty cases. The Alabama House and Senate will meet today for a rare Wednesday session.
Air Evac Closes
An air ambulance company based in Wetumpka is ending service. Executives with the Air Evac Lifeteam announced Tuesday that it will close its operations in Elmore County immediately. The Missouri-based company blames low reimbursement rates combined with low patient demand and the state's decision not to expand Medicaid for ending the Air Evac service which started operations in April 2006.
The Montgomery City Council met last night and did not override the mayor's veto of a proposed ordinance that would have raised the age limit to 21 to enter a bar, club or lounge. Now, members of the city council's public safety panel and the mayor will look at new proposals designed to combat underage drinking. In other action, the council voted to revoke the business licenses of three businesses for failing to pay thousands of dollars in alcohol and sales taxes.
Alabama fire officials say the state has seen an alarming increase in fire-related fatalities. Al.com reports that 19 people have died in house fires across the state since the beginning of the year. In 2012, 71 people died in Alabama fires. Only six of them died in January 2012, well below the number of people who have died so far this year. Authorities say an unfortunate result of cold weather is an influx of house fires that were ignited by heaters.
Ford Seeks Higher Office
Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford says he's looking at running for higher office to make sure black voters turn out for the November general election. Ford said that he is considering running for the state Senate seat held by Democrat Billy Beasley of Clayton if Beasley for governor. If Beasley runs fore re-election, Ford says he will consider running for secretary of state. Ford say's he's afraid that many black voters will not participate in the general election if there are not black Democrats running for office.