WVAS Local News

Feb 12, 2013

The Alabama Senate Demcratic Caucus has announced its intention to make the expansion of Medicaid a priority of its 2013 legislative agenda.  Caucus members say they are asking Governor Robert Bentley and fellow legislators to support growing Medicaid in the state.  The governor has refused to establish a public health care exchange or expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Senate Democrats are hoping he will reconsider. 

Agribusiness Economic Impact

A new study of Alabama's agricultural and forestry industries says they contribute more than $70 billion dollars annually to Alabama's economy and account for 22 percent of the state's workforce.  The Alabama Agribusiness Council and other groups joined Governor Robert Bentley in releasing the study today.  Bentley said the last similar study was done in 1989, and the new study by Auburn University shows how important agriculture and forestry are to the state's economy. 

Dr. Phil Show

The mother of an Alabama boy held hostage in an underground bunker for days says her son witnessed officers fatally shoot his kidnapper.  Jennifer Kirkland's comments about her son, Ethan, came in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw for the "Dr. Phil Show."  Kirkland says her son saw officers shoot the gunman identified as 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes of Midland City.  The FBI says agents wearing combat gear entered Dykes' bunker on the sixth day of the standoff in southeast Alabama.  he was shot multiple times.  Ethan wasn't physically injured.  The show is set to be aired Wednesday. 

Party Switch

A party switch by state Sen. Jerry Fielding of Talladega has led to him becoming vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The Senate's Republican leader, President Pro Tem Del Marsh of Anniston, sent a letter to the Senate announcing the appointment.  Fielding is a retired circuit judge who was elected to the Senate in 2010 as a Democrat.  He switched to the Republican Party in October.