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Lawmakers are back in Montgomery as the second half of this year's regular session gets underway. The to-do list includes hammering out both the general fund and education budgets. Democratic Representative Joe Hubbard of Montgomery predicts the session's latter half will be slow going. He claims the power-play used in muscling school accountability legislation through the legislature is to blame. 15 legislative days remain in the 2013 regular session. Bills on guns, abortion and Medicaid also await action.
A rally to defeat a bill that would impose restrictive rules for Alabama's abortion clinics drew a crowd to the Statehouse Tuesday. Organizers from Planned Parenthood and several Democratic lawmakers spoke to a crowd of nearly 200 people urging defeat of HB 57. Several speaker said that by imposing more restrictions on women's health clinics, the legislature is attempting to limit access to constitutionally guaranteed abortion care. A handful of the bill's supporters waved signs and protested. They were hoping for passage of the proposed legislation they say will improve conditions in clinics where abortions are performed. Clinic owners say if the bill is passed, they may have to close because major building renovations would be neccessary.
A former supervisor with the Alabama Department of Public Safety has pleaded guilty to bribery, and his co-defendant from Georgia is on trial in Montgomery. Federal court records show James Potts pleaded guilty to one count of bribery. Co-defendant, Leland McDowell of Grovetown, Ga., went on trial Monday. McDowell is accused of offering bribes to Potts to recommend his company for a contract to set up a system to do criminal background checks.