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Another round of budget hearings took place at the Alabama Statehouse Wednesday. The State Medicaid Agency with Dr. Don Williamson was the first. The State Health Officer is serving as chair of the agency for the time being. Dr. Williamson says he has to make up for a $33 million dollar shortfall in the current budget. Dr. Williamson says $743 million dollars will be needed for the 2014 Medicaid budget, which is $128 million dollars more than 2013.
Legislation to consolidate a number of state law enforcement agencies into one organization has moved within one step of final passage. The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee approved the bill to consolidate various agencies into the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency. The bill is sponsored by Republican Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston and is supported by Governor Robert Bentley. The bill now goes to the full House for debate and possible final passage.
Members of Alabama's legislative black caucus are criticizing the state's latest crackdown on the VictoryLand casino at Shorter. State Rep. Pebblin Warren of Tuskegee says a raid at VictoryLand is unfair to Macon County residents who voted to legalize bingo. She says it's also unfair that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians continue operating their three casinos when VictoryLand is shutdown. State Rep. Alvin Holmes of Montgomery says he's worried that people who work at VictoryLand are out of jobs. State officials seized gambling machines and cash at VictoryLand on Tuesday.
A man wanted for questioning in a Prattville robbery and homicide has been captured in Orlando. Prattville police say Eric Ziegler is awaiting extradition from Florida. He is wanted on robbery charges and is also a person of interest in the December murder of 20-year-old Lamarcus Dejuan Ramsey. Police have already arrested 21-year-old Dre Antwan Deramus in connection with the same incident.