$800M Prison Construction Bill Fails in House, Mobile Co. to Build New Emergency Ops Center

May 5, 2016

Alabama State House
Credit AP

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's prison construction bill failed to pass on the final night of the legislative session yesterday.

Lawmakers ended the session at midnight last night before a scaled-back version of the bill received a vote in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers attempted to craft a last-minute compromise in their effort to clear the bill through both chambers of the legislature yesterday.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says supporters of the plan were unable to come up with enough votes to cut off an inevitable filibuster. The bill was not brought up for consideration in the session's final minutes.

Governor Bentley was seeking to borrow $800 million to build four new state prisons and close most existing facilities.

Yesterday morning, conference committee members approved a whittled-down $550 million bill. Senators approved the smaller plan by a 23-12 vote before it failed in the House.

Mobile County, Alabama will soon have a state-of-the-art command center for hurricanes and other emergencies.

Later this year, officials plan to break ground on a brand new Emergency Operations Center in Mobile County. The $10 million facility will be the year-round headquarters for the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency, and will be able to accommodate dozens of extra responders for major emergencies like hurricanes.

Mike Evans is the deputy director of the Mobile County EMA. He says a new facility has been a long time coming.

“We learned during some of the big events like Deepwater Horizon, and Katrina and Ivan that we needed a better facility that would support us. And it looks like that day’s coming in the very near future.”

Mobile County is largely footing the bill along with help from FEMA and the City of Mobile. The 31,000 square foot facility is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

Innovate Huntsville 2016 is taking place throughout this week and Business for Biotech is on the agenda tomorrow.

The seminar is focused on bringing entrepreneurs together and growing their ideas into life sciences companies. Participants will be able to network with people already in the industry. Attendees will also get to tour the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

Carter Wells is the Institute’s vice president for economic development. He says both HudsonAlpha and the seminar try to offer entrepreneurial mentorship.

“People that have ideas within the life sciences we want them to know that there is a place they can either come and join us in a collaborative environment, or if it’s not ready at this point to know where they can go for specific questions. The ultimate goal is to keep that pipeline of great ideas moving.”

The free seminar will take place tomorrow from 1 to 3 p.m. on the HudsonAlpha Campus.