Supreme Court Refuses to Block Execution, Bentley Supports Higher Gas Tax

Dec 15, 2015

Alabama death row unit
Credit EJI

The Alabama Supreme Court has refused to stop an execution scheduled for next month.

In a unanimous decision yesterday, justices refused inmate Christopher Brooks' request to stop his execution. A federal judge is expected to rule soon on Brooks' request for a stay.

Brooks is scheduled to be put to death Jan. 21 for the rape and murder of Deann Campbell more than 20 years ago. The execution would be Alabama's first in more than two years.

However, Brooks has argued the execution should not be carried out until a court decides the constitutionality of the state's new lethal injection drug combination.

The state has opposed a delay. They argue Brooks is using the lethal injection challenge as a last-minute ploy to avoid the death chamber.

Alabama’s Governor says he will support an increase in the state’s gasoline tax. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the details.

Governor Robert Bentley says he won’t lead the charge on a state gas tax hike. But, if state lawmakers pass the idea, he’d sign the bill. Bentley made this comments before the Alabama Asphalt Pavement Association last week.

The Legislature has not increased the state gasoline tax since the early 1990s, adding five cents to increase it to 16 cents a gallon.

The gasoline tax revenue goes mostly towards road construction for counties and cities across the state and not into the General Fund. Bentley says one third of the state’s bridges on county roads are more than half a century old.

Bentley did not say how much of an increase he would support.

Health care consumers in Alabama have another deadline associated with the Affordable Care Act.

Uninsured residents and their families have until the end of the day today to sign up for coverage through the federal insurance marketplace. Today’s deadline is for people who want their coverage to go into effect on January 1.

Rosemary Blackmon is with the Alabama Hospital Association. She says there are a number of ways people can get help signing up.

“If you call 2-1-1 from anywhere in the state, they can actually schedule an appointment with someone to assist people in filling out the application. So, we’ve really tried to make it as easy as possible.”

Blackmun says Alabama has benefited through the Affordable Care Act. Almost one hundred and seventy thousand Alabama health care consumers signed up during the first two enrollment periods.

Testers at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville want residents to be aware that upcoming tests will be a little more visible than usual.

The Redstone Test Center released a statement saying it will be conducting tests today through Thursday. The devices being tested are called "insensitive munitions," which will only burn rather than explode. The tests are expected to produce a large plume of black smoke that may be visible all over Redstone Arsenal and potentially for miles around the surrounding area.

Test center spokeswoman Lori-Ellen Hudnall says the plumes are harmless, and local residents shouldn't be concerned.