Fairfield council votes to disband police department, Senate delays vote on payday loan bill

Mar 11, 2016

Fairfield city leaders have voted to dissolve the city's police department as leaders look to address financial hardships, but the mayor says city council has no authority to make that decision.

The Fairfield City Council voted 4-0 to disband the police department during a meeting Friday. A resolution to disband the department failed in a 3-3 vote earlier this week.

City Council President Darnell Gardner has said disbanding the department and asking the Jefferson County Sherriff's Office to step in could save the city money as it deals with the loss of tax revenue from a Wal-Mart that recently closed.

Mayor Kenneth Coachman says the force will remain in place as long as money is available to fund it.

Supporters of payday loan reform are dealing with a delay by the Alabama Senate. A-P-R’s student reporter Miranda Fulmore reports, that the vote for the bill was postponed after opposition on the Senate floor…

The proposed payday loan reform would give borrowers at least six months to pay back the loan instead of just a few weeks by allowing installment payments.

Republican Senator Arthur Orr is the bill’s sponsor. He said that borrowers are faced with oppressive fees when trying to pay back loans which make them unable to repay it within a few weeks.

The reform was inspired by similar legislation passed by Colorado lawmakers in 2010. Since then, the Colorado-style loan has proven that it is having an impact on the state. 

A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that the number of payday stores in Colorado shrunk by half after the bill was passed.

Business students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham now have to have some field experience to graduate.  The Collat School of Business is the first business school in the state to require its students to have an internship in order to graduate.

Dr. Karen Kennedy is the Senior Associate Dean at the business school. She says the new policy appears to be going over well with students…

“The majority of our students, the response has been very, very positive. We do have some students who are already working and we make allowances for that so the students who already have professional jobs can fulfil this in a different way.”

Kennedy adds that while the internships are required, they are not handed out to students.  This will allow students to have some sort of hands-on experience in the business field by the time they leave school.