Special Legislative Session Begins Today, Selma Police Call In Sick in Wage Dispute

Aug 15, 2016

Selma Police Department patrol cruiser

The Alabama House and Senate are set to gather in special session today.

Governor Robert Bentley wants lawmakers to consider a constitutional amendment to create a state lottery. If the legislature says yes, then state voters will get to vote up or down on the idea in November. The Governor wants the money to go the general fund to help pay for Medicaid.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says lawmakers will have questions and suggestions.

“I think you’re going to have people to want to ask about the other gaming in the state, where it stands. Are we going to put anything in the legislation to prohibit expansion in other areas. Those things will come into the discussion, in the debate.”

State Senator Jim McClendon plans to introduce a competing lottery bill. It would allow electronic lottery stations in Birmingham and Mobile as well as Greene and Macon Counties.

You can see more from the conversation between APR News Director Pat Duggins and Senator Del Marsh here.

A group of police officers in Selma, Alabama are calling in sick in a dispute over wages and other issues.

At least 10 of Selma’s police officers have failed to report to work each day since Thursday. The group is petitioning Selma’s government about several issues, primarily wages. But officers are also concerned about the safety of their community and their working environment, the quality of the department’s equipment, and the department’s hiring and promotion practices.

About 20 of Selma’s police officers reportedly met with city mayor George Evans and city council members for several hours last week.

Patrolmen in the Selma Police Department make between $12.90 and $15.70 per hour. Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson says he supports the officers seeking a pay raise, saying they often have to deal with violent crime and should be paid more.

The state of Alabama is falling short on cancer prevention.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network recently released a report highlighting how actions by Alabama’s legislature are impacting cancer prevention.

Katheryn Molnar is a lead volunteer with the Cancer Action Network. She says the state legislature funded Medicaid at eighty five million dollars less than what was needed for the upcoming fiscal year, and those budget cuts halt access for preventative cancer screening.

“When we did not expand Medicaid in the state, there was a whole level of women who were uninsured and did not have access to life-saving screenings. In fact, there are 81,000 eligible women, and because of the funding level that we have, we are only able to serve 20 percent of them.”

The report details a lack of funding for early detection programs for breast and cervical cancer in Alabama. The report also says Alabama could do more to fight against smoking, from an increase in the state cigarette tax to more funding for smoking cessation programs.