Legislative Session Begins Today, NWS Warns of Severe Weather

Feb 2, 2016

Alabama State House
Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

The next session for Alabama’s state legislature will convene at noon today.

State lawmakers are starting the 2016 session on Groundhog Day to some very familiar budget issues, but there will likely be some new debates as well.

Republicans and Democrats have each introduced proposals to establish a state lottery. Lawmakers are also expected to debate a teacher pay raise and changes to tenure programs for teachers. The session is also expected to include debate on a gasoline tax increase to pay for road and bridge construction and a bond issue to replace aging prisons. Legislators will hear a budget briefing this morning that is expected to include bleak outlook for the state's general fund. The session itself convenes at noon and could last until mid-May.

Gov. Robert Bentley will announce his legislative agenda in his 6:30 p.m. State of the State address. We'll be airing Gov. Bentley's address live on Alabama Public Radio.

Residents of Alabama including the Shoals and Tuscaloosa should be on alert with severe weather possibly coming their way.

The forecast is calling for strong winds possibly reaching seventy miles per hour, as well as quarter sized hail and a chance of tornados. The impact area includes parts of west and northwest Alabama.

Chelly Amin is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Huntsville. She recommends figuring out where the safe places are near your home in case of an emergency.

“It is one of those events that happens around this time of the year, we get a lot warmer than we normally should be, a lot more moisture, things become unstable and so it kind of sets the stage for us to get some strong to severe storms.”

The storm is looking to be at its worst in the late afternoon and evening. People are advised to take caution in traveling and should be prepared.

The University of Alabama took a step toward greater diversity and inclusion last night.

The Tuscaloosa campus cut the ribbon on its new Intercultural Diversity Center. The facility is designed to be a resource and a place for students, staff and faculty to discuss topics like equity.

Dr. David Grady is the vice president for student affairs at The University of Alabama. He believes that the center will be an area for students to freely express themselves…

“The center was envisioned by students as a gathering place for students, a place where they can have discussions on important issues that impact them and I think it will be a great space to have that.”

The Diversity Center is located on the first floor of the Riverside Annex. It will be accessible to students and faculty seven days a week.

NASA has officially named a new director to lead Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

NASA officials report Todd May has been named to the post after the retirement of former director Patrick Scheuermann. May, of Fairhope, had been serving as acting director since November.

May previously worked as the space center's deputy director and had managed the Space Launch System Program since its inception in 2011.

May started his career with NASA at Marshall's Materials and Processes lab in 1991, a year after he earned his bachelor's degree in materials engineering from Auburn University.

NASA officials say he will lead nearly 6,000 civil service and contract employees and manage an annual budget of roughly $2.5 billion.