Author: Virginia Martin

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Birmingham Mayor, Council Pushing Two Separate Wish Lists in Legislature

This year, the city of Birmingham is sending two sets of lobbyists to Montgomery — one from Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office and one from the City Council.

Councilors made that decision last month, claiming they’d been excluded from planning the city’s legislative agenda, and on Tuesday they approved a legislative agenda of their own — one that only slightly overlaps with Woodfin’s priorities.

The primary area of agreement between the two agendas is about bolstering city revenue through fines. Both the mayor and council are pushing legislation that would increase penalties for littering, dumping and weed abatement. Both also want to tie parking tickets to car tag renewal, providing a built-in enforcement mechanism for a ticketing system that currently lacks one.

Woodfin and the council also are both pushing for an increase in the maximum number of entertainment districts allowed in a municipality. Birmingham has four such areas — Pepper Place, Uptown, Five Points South and Avondale — where people are allowed to drink alcohol outside, though they must have purchased that alcohol from a restaurant, bar or venue in that district. State law caps the number of entertainment districts a city can have at five; Woodfin and the council both hope to raise that number to 15.

The similarities mostly end there. Read more.

Report Shows Lower Recidivism Rates in Community Corrections Programs; Legislation Pending

Criminal offenders who served their sentences in programs in which they stayed in their own communities under supervision were on average significantly less likely to commit new felonies than other offenders under the Alabama Department of Corrections oversight, a recent study found.

But some community correction programs had recidivism rates much higher than others and varied in the fees offenders had to pay. Meanwhile, the programs for non-violent felony offenders aren’t available in some areas of the state.

“The better the program and the better managed it is at the local level, the lower the recidivism rate,” said Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur and chairman of the Alabama Commission on Evaluation of Services. Read more.

Citing Census Data Delay, Lawmakers Seek to Move 2022 Elections

Police Jurisdiction Bill Gets Public Hearing

Ivey Declares Monday Supermarket Employee Day

Read complete legislative coverage.

Alabama Workforce Council Outlines 2021 Plans

MONTGOMERY — A new report says that while facing unprecedented impediments due to the pandemic, Alabama has been able to weather a dire employment situation but needs to make gains if it wants to meet an ambitious workforce goal.

According to the Alabama Workforce Council’s 2021 annual report released earlier this month, the state is making progress on Gov. Kay Ivey’s “Strong Start, Strong Finish” initiative to add 500,000 newly credentialed workers to the state’s workforce by 2025.

To reach the Success Plus postsecondary education attainment goal, Alabama must maintain current rates of attainment and significantly increase the number of people who enroll in programs and earn all types of postsecondary credentials, the report says.

If Ivey’s 2025 goal of adding 500,000 highly skilled employees is reached, it would mean that roughly 60% of Alabama’s workforce would hold postsecondary credentials, degrees, and certificates of value. Read more.

More on the topic:
Alabama Innovation Commission Hones Its Focus

Bills Would Allow Student-Athletes Compensation for Likeness

MONTGOMERY — Bills in the Alabama Legislature would allow student-athletes at Alabama institutions of higher education to be compensated whenever their name, image or likeness is used in promotional material. Read more.

More About the Legislature
Bill Would Create Sexual Assault Survivor ‘Bill of Rights’
Leadership Pleased With First Two Weeks of Session

Alabama’s COVID-19 Numbers Continue Significant Improvement

The weather in Alabama may be bone-chilling cold, but the data on the COVID-19 outbreak are moving in the direction that should warm the hearts of health officials. In BirminghamWatch’s periodic analysis of data provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health, the number of new daily cases of the virus has dropped by more than three-fourths since a peak less than six weeks ago. The 7-day moving average is trending downward and about to pass the 1,000-per-day mark — a figure that hasn’t been seen since the middle of October. Read more.