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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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