Lethal injection bill passes House, Alabama women's poverty report and Windham inducted into HoF

Mar 12, 2015

Asma Lateef, Director of the Bread for the World Institute

Lawmakers want to keep the identities of the companies supplying drugs for lethal injections in Alabama a secret.

That's what a bill that just passed the state House yesterday in a 76 to 26 vote will guarantee. That bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

Alabama hasn't executed a death row inmate since 2013, partly because the state has had trouble obtaining lethal injection drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have historically shied away from associating their name with an execution drug.

Several Democratic lawmakers argue the state has no legitimate reason to keep the companies secret and that the public has a right to know.

The bill will also allow Alabama to resume use of the electric chair as an execution method if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

A similar death penalty bill passed the Alabama House last year, but stalled in the Senate.

March is Women’s History Month and a recent study shows twenty percent of all women in Alabama live in poverty.

Nearly forty percent of those women in poverty are the heads of their households. That's according to the group Bread for the World.

Director Asma Lateef says the wage gap between men and women is a major factor in their struggle.

“Women earn 78 cents on the dollar for doing the same job as their male counterparts, so eliminating that wage gap would go a long way in raising incomes for families that are headed by women.”

Lateef says one of the reasons this is the case is because women are proportionately under-represented in Congress. According to Bread for the World, Alabama ranks among the ten worst states in terms of both hunger and poverty.

A familiar name and voice to listeners of Alabama Public Radio will honored today.

Writer and APR commentator Kathryn Tucker Windham is this year’s inductee to the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame. Windham will join past honorees including activist and writer Helen Keller and Hollywood actress Tallulah Bankhead.

Windham worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming an author, storyteller, and radio commentator.

We spoke with former APR manager Bo Pittman after Windham’s passing. He recalled one story about Kudzu.

“She talked about how you could go out and be playing next to the Kudzu in the field, and when you started running back to the house, by the time you got there, the Kudzu had passed you and was already at the house in its growth. That was one of my favorites of all time.”

Windham will be inducted today during a ceremony at Judson College near Selma.

Birmingham has been chosen as one of six pilot sites for a new national initiative to restore relationships and trust between law enforcement and citizens.

Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce those sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice this afternoon, after a discussion with students and police officers.

This new initiative was announced last April. It's a partnership between federal officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office and criminal justice experts that will provide training, policy suggestions and research to help local law enforcement regain the trust of citizens.

It was proposed after several high profile police shootings of unarmed black and Hispanic men led to widespread distrust of law enforcement.