Damage Updates and Possible Beer Legislation

Feb 3, 2016

       

The National Weather Service is confirming that two tornadoes hit west central Alabama last night. An EF-2 storm struck parts of Pickens County, destroying thirteen homes. A second tornado was confirmed as an EF-1. That twister tore through Fayette County. No deaths are reported from either storm. Today’s damage report was made after assessment teams surveyed the area. Forecaster Jason Holmes says even the trees in this rural area can provide clues as to what happened…

“Even different types of trees have different wind stress strength and thresholds. So, even effecting timber, things like that, we can get a general idea of the intensity.”

The twisters moved single file from the Mississippi border on a path just west of Tuscaloosa. Tornado damage is only one concern. The heavy rains from last night’s system left Southeast Alabama on alert for the possibility of flooding…

The new legislative session may bring new opportunities for small breweries in Alabama. The Alabama Law Institute wants a bill that would lift restrictions on craft beer makers that date to the days of Prohibition. These breweries can only sell beer to customers if they don’t take that beer outside. Eric Hull is one of the owners at Black Warrior Brewing Company in Tuscaloosa. He says the change in regulations would open up new avenues for the Brewery.

Credit Stan Ingold

“While we can currently sell to customers coming in for on-site consumption, so they can sit down and have a pint with us, this law will allow us to sell them a growler or a six pack to-go.  So we’re really looking forward to that and we think it can be beneficial to all the breweries here in the state.”

Zoning restrictions also confine breweries to poor neighborhoods and historic buildings. The Alabama Law Institute wants that changed as well.

Governor Robert Bentley is proposing a mix of budget cuts and a shift of education funds to address a shortfall in the state's general fund.

Acting Finance Director Bill Newton says the governor is seeking to shift $181 million in use tax funds from the education budget to the general fund.

He is simultaneously seeking to tap $181 million from an education savings account so there's no net loss to education spending.

The governor's plan will likely set up a battle with lawmakers who oppose any transfer of education funds.

Bentley's proposal comes after he was unsuccessful last year in getting a several hundred million dollar tax package through the Legislature.