The Alabama Senate has approved a bill to allow people to carry loaded handguns in their vehicles without getting a pistol permit. The bill by Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale cleared the Senate 20-7 last night and now goes to the House for consideration. Currently, people without a pistol permit can carry a handgun in their vehicles provided it is unloaded and out of reach. They need to buy a permit from a county sheriff to carry a loaded gun in their vehicles. Beason said citizens shouldn't have to buy a permit to protect themselves. The bill is opposed by the Alabama Sheriffs Association, which predicts it will lead to sheriffs selling fewer pistol permits. The revenue supports law enforcement and other functions of county government.
The Alabama Legislature is close to approving a marijuana oil bill sought by families who want the oil as a treatment for their children's seizure disorders. The bill would fund a $1 million University of Alabama at Birmingham study on the effectiveness of using cannabidiol to control seizures. The Alabama House of Representatives approved the legislation on a 97-0 vote early this morning. Republican Representative Mike Ball says it hasn't been easy overcoming the stigma associated with marijuana. The oil does not get users high and anecdotal evidence suggests it is an effective treatment for seizure disorders. However, its possession has been illegal.
The Internal Revenue Service says millions in refunds may be waiting for 15,700 Alabamians who did not file a tax return for 2010. The IRS estimates nearly $12.5 million in refunds may be available to Alabamians. To claim a refund, a person has one month left to file a return for 2010. The deadline is April 15th. The IRS says there is on penalty for filing a late return, but taxpayers seeking refunds may have their checks held if they have not filed returns for 2011 and 2012. The IRS says some people may not have filed because they made too little income to require filing a tax return, but they may qualify for a refund because taxes were withheld from their wages.
Gov. Robert Bentley has visited the state Senate to urge approval of the four people he's nominated for trustees of Alabama State University. Bentley's appointments of Montgomery attorney Robert Gilpin, Birmingham businessman Larry Thornton, Tuscaloosa businessman Fitzgerald Washington and Macon County school Superintendent Jacqueline Brooks are pending in the Senate Confirmations Committee. Bentley made a rare visit to the Senate chamber on Wednesday to ask senators for their votes. He said he has support of about 90 percent of the committee. All four are currently serving and can remain unless rejected by the Senate.