Birmingham City Councilors Debate “Self-Promotion” and the Water Board, With Suggestions That City Officials Are Under Investigation.

A Birmingham City Council meeting consumed by debate over ads purchased by the council and the behavior of the Birmingham Water Works Board also entertained the suggestion that an investigation of city officials is underway.

The references to a possible grand jury investigation – which has not been publicly revealed by any prosecutor’s office – seemed almost an aside in a discussion about the activities of the BWWB.

Councilor Valerie Abbott during Tuesday’s meeting said that not only is a grand jury investigating the utilities board, but also the Birmingham City Council and the mayor’s office.

“Lord knows what they’ll find,” Abbott said.
Read more.

Legislative Overview: Lawmakers Take up Bills on Abortion, Immigration and Death Sentencing in First Week.

Alabama legislators kick-started their session last week, with committees approving bills on abortion, sanctuary campuses and death penalty sentences, among other topics. Those bills could go to the floor of the House or Senate this week.

The governor’s recommendations for the General Fund and Education Trust Fund budgets also were introduced last week but have yet to come up for a vote. Read more.

Jefferson County Commission Approves United Way Funding Despite Concerns

The Jefferson County Commission OK’d paying $500,000 to the United Way at its meeting Thursday, but not before commissioners were assured senior citizens are receiving the “top notch” service they should be getting.

Commissioner Sandra Little Brown asked that approval of the funding be delayed so she could pose questions to United Way officials who were on hand. She said she had received numerous calls about people not getting services they had received before.

Jeffco Legislators Predict Medicaid and Prison Funding Will Dominate Early Days of the Session.

Alabama legislators convened their regular session Tuesday facing some of the same problems that consumed them last year.

“The main thing for all of us is going to be the budget,” said Allen Treadaway, R-Morris.

The governor is recommending a $1.9 billion General Fund budget that is almost flat funding from this year, though he has said he was considering proposing a pay raise for state employees. His $6.3 billion proposed Education Trust Fund budget does not include a raise for education employees, who did get a bump in pay this year.

But the two biggest elephants in the budget conference room will once again be Medicaid and prisons. Read more.