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House to consider trio of bills

A state medical association and lawmakers are trying to clamp down on fraudulently obtained prescription drugs in Alabama through better monitoring and more penalties for those who seek them and those who issue them.

A trio of bills expected to be debated today in the Alabama House would hinder the practice of “doctor shopping” for prescription drugs; make the state’s prescription drug monitoring program more accessible; and better regulate pain management services in the state, according to proponents.

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Alabama bills make it easier to prosecute elder abuse

Alabama lawmakers have passed two very similar bills that would make it easier to criminally charge people who abuse, neglect or financially exploit the elderly, and the sponsors say they expect the governor to sign one of them into law.

The Senate sponsor, Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster, said only one word in the measure that passed the Senate is different from the House-passed version sponsored by Republican Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood.

Ward said he believes the legislation will get final passage.

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Alabama Job Creation Legislation Signed into Law

Governor Robert Bentley signs the Alabama Commercial Aviation Business Improvement Act on Thursday, April 4.  Also pictured, from left to right, Senator Cam Ward, Senator Vivian Figures and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield joined Governor Bentley as he signed the bill.Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday signed legislation aimed at attracting thousands of additional jobs to Alabama.

The Alabama Commercial Aviation Business Improvement Act will help the state recruit more aerospace industry suppliers.  Those suppliers are expected to locate in the region as Airbus builds its first U.S.-based production facility in Mobile.  Groundbreaking for the Airbus facility is scheduled for next week.

The legislation signed by Governor Bentley levels the playing field between Alabama and nearby states in the recruitment of supplier companies and the additional jobs they will bring.
 
“Putting Alabamians back to work is my number-one priority,” Governor Bentley said.  “This bill will make sure Alabama remains competitive with neighboring states in attracting supplier jobs.  Already, Airbus will directly provide 1,000 jobs in Mobile, and more than 3,000 people will be employed in the construction phase of the Airbus facility.  As suppliers move in, we can attract thousands of additional jobs as well.  We want those jobs for the people of Alabama.  This legislation will help us accomplish our goal.”

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Montgomery Advisor: Scathing report on treatment of inmates: Legislator says feds could take over Tutwiler: Cam Ward says 'abuses are well documented'

A state legislator openly expressed concern that there could be a federal takeover of Alabama’s prison system if corrections are not made at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

The concern was expressed at a meeting of the Joint Legislative Prison Committee held to discuss a U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Corrections (NIC) report that found a multitude of problems at the prison, including a failure to report sexual abuse of inmates. The report was based on a three-day on-site assessment of cross-gender supervision at Tutwiler.

Alabama Prison Commissioner Kim Thomas requested the assessment months after the Montgomery-based nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative released a report that found Alabama Department of Corrections employees had illegal sexual contact with dozens of women at the Wetumpka facility. The group also said official responses to reports of abuse created an atmosphere of intimidation that discouraged future complaints.

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Shelby County Reporter: Budget, business and safety key issues for local legislators

Addressing the state’s budget concerns, working to improve the state’s economy and helping to make Alabama’s roads and cities safer are key issues for the Shelby County legislative delegation during the 2013 legislative session, the elected officials said.

Alabama’s senators and state representatives traveled to Montgomery on Feb. 5 to begin the 2013 regular legislative session, which state Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, said would be “a busy one.”

Among the top issues for the legislature this session will be addressing the state’s rising costs of Medicaid and the corrections department, Ward said.

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The Miami Herald: Ala. looks to limit lawsuits for Airbus suppliers

Now that Alabama is getting an Airbus manufacturing plant, state lawmakers want to prevent Airbus suppliers from setting up shop in neighboring states where it's not as easy for them to be sued.

After a last-minute compromise with plaintiff lawyers, House and Senate committees voted unanimously Tuesday for legislation to limit lawsuits involving large commercial planes made in Alabama. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said he hopes to get the Senate to approve the bill Thursday.

Gov. Robert Bentley recruited Airbus to Mobile last year with $158 million in cash, tax breaks and other incentives. Airbus America Chairman Allan McArtor said groundbreaking is set for April. When fully operational, the plant is expected to create 1,000 jobs.

Bentley said 3,700 more jobs could be created by companies supplying products to the plant. He said Mississippi and Florida have stricter litigation laws than Alabama, and they are using that to recruit suppliers because both states are near Mobile.

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