WVAS Local News

May 21, 2013

Alabama's Emergency Management Agency is working with officials in Oklahoma to determine whether additional resources are needed in tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma.  The EF4 twister nearly wiped out the town killing more than two dozen people and leaving more than 200 injured.  State EMA spokeswoman Yasamie August said the agency has been in contact with EMA officials in Oklahoma. 

2013 Legislature

The description of the Legislature's 2013 session depends on a legislator's party label.  The Senate's Republican leader, President Pro Tem Del Marsh, of Anniston called it the best session since Republicans gained a majority in the 2010 election.  The Senate's Democratic minority leader, Vivian Davis Figures, called it the worst session of her legislative career.  Democrats failed to pass their top priority, which was expanding the state Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.  Republicans passed the Alabama Accountability Act, loosened restrictions on guns, started the consolidation of state law enforcement agencies, and kept a promise to commit to the repayment of money removed for the Alabama Trust Fund.  The session ended at midnight Monday. 

Constitutional Amendment

Monday night, the Alabama Legislature approved a bill that will put a Constitutional amendment in the hands of the voters.  If passed, the amendment would prohibit the state from recognizing laws of other states in making legal decisions if they violate the public policy of Alabama.  It would also prohibit applying foreign law in violation of the rights of citizens. 

More Layoffs

Alabama's chief justice expects to lay off 150 employees after the state's new fiscal year starts Oct. 1 unless the court system gets more money than the Legislature appropriated.  Chief Justice Roy Moore says he's grateful that the General Fund signed the governor on Monday increases the court system's appropriation by $5.6 million to $108 million for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.  But he says that is $8.5 million short of what's needed to maintain the current staff.  The new budget includes a provision that allows the governor to release extra funding to some state programs if tax collections exceed expectations.  It specifies that if he wants to release any money, he must give $8.5 million to the courts first.