Senator pushes for lottery vote as session nears end, Northern Alabama County lays off workers, cuts

Apr 21, 2016

As Alabama's 2016 legislative session quickly nears its end, a state senator is making a final push for a lottery.

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee voted today for a bare-bones constitutional amendment that would allow Alabamians to vote on the issue but provides few other details.

Several senators say they voted in favor of the amendment with the understanding Republican Sen. Jim McClendon would rework his bill with more details before bringing it to a vote on the Senate floor.

McClendon plans to work with colleagues in the next few days on details like where lottery funds would be allocated. He says there's "time enough" to get the bill passed before the end of session.

Alabamians in 1999 voted down a lottery proposed by then-Gov. Don Siegelman.

A northern Alabama county is laying off employees and reducing hours in some departments. A-P-R student reporter Dymond McCoy has more…

The Lawrence County Commission has approved plans for the county's probate judge and revenue commissioner offices to close one day a week and reduce full-time employees.

The Decatur Daily reports that the plans are aimed at reducing payrolls by 45 percent to help bridge a one million dollar general fund budget gap by September 30th.

The budget cuts include laying off 10 employees, reducing others to part-time and closing the probate judge's and revenue commissioner's offices on Fridays. The cuts are effective with the start of the new pay period May 8th.

Next week marks five years since the super tornado outbreak in Alabama back in 2011. Meteorologists and other scientists from across the country have spent the past two months intensely focused on the weather here.

It’s all part of a massive federally-funded research project called VORTEX-SE. Researchers are digging into the science behind the severe weather, and looking for ways to improve how we forecast and warn the public.

One idea is for warnings to include more specific information about how likely events are to occur. But Dr. Laura Myers with the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety says that may not be the best plan.

“The concern is if we provide too much uncertainty information, then the public will decide it’s not worth taking action for, so we’re looking at the public to see how they manage uncertainty. Do they want to know that information? Will they still take action? And can we make the information more precise and more concise?”

The VORTEX scientists will publish their findings later this year and plan to conduct another study next spring.