State House Approves General Fund Budget, Kick Butts Day in Alabama

Mar 16, 2016

The Alabama House of Representatives has approved a bare-bones General Fund budget that Gov. Robert Bentley has already threatened to veto over inadequate Medicaid funding.

Representatives approved the spending bill on a 65-35 vote yesterday after a five-hour filibuster by black lawmakers. Democrats harshly criticized the proposed spending plan, which comes up $85 million short of the amount Bentley says is needed to adequately fund Medicaid.

Montgomery Rep. John Knight says Medicaid provides medical care to 1 million vulnerable Alabamians and has few programs to trim.

Republican legislative leaders say there isn't an appetite to raise taxes or cut other agencies for the sake of more money for Medicaid.

The governor and state Medicaid commissioner Stephanie Azar both say the budget jeopardizes a planned transition to managed care next year.

The General Fund budget now moves back to the Alabama Senate.

Events across the country today will encourage kids not to smoke.

Today is the 20th annual National Kick Butts Day. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids calls it a day of activism encouraging kids to stay smoke-free and protesting tobacco marketing geared at young people. Kick Butts Day events in Alabama are being held in Sheffield, in the Mobile area, and at the state capitol in Montgomery.

Gustavo Torrez is the Director of Youth Advocacy for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. He says tobacco use in Alabama has major consequences.

“8,600 adults will die prematurely in Alabama because of tobacco use. With youth smoking rates at 18%, this is truly staggering, and we have to do more to protect our young people from the dangers of tobacco use.”

Torrez says his organization encourages lawmakers to consider smoking bans and marketing restrictions on tobacco companies. The University of Alabama and University of Alabama at Birmingham have banned smoking on their campuses.

Potential employers and employees will have a chance to meet in Huntsville today.

The annual career fair is hosted by the Alliance for Opportunity and Development at the Jaycee Building. It will begin at 10:00 a.m. and last until 2:00 p.m. today.

Garth Mathis is the President and Executive Director of the Alliance for Opportunity and Development. He says that job seekers should come prepared for meeting employers.

“So if they have a resume, it’s recommended that they bring several copies. They can go online to our website and get a list of which companies are going to be there so they can kind of strategize who they want to focus on meeting and talking with.”

The fair is focused on those without college degrees. They will be able to meet with the fifty-plus employers in attendance along with a few schools and non-profit organizations.

The job fair is expected to draw larger attendance than in previous years. Organizers hope to see around 400 job seekers at the fair.