Environmental groups are alarmed that the gas tax bill filed in the Legislature today would make owners of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles pay more to the state than owners of gas-fueled vehicles.
A summary version of the special session bill makes it less onerous than an earlier version but still is causing concern that the EV and plug-in hybrid owners would be penalized for using technology that pollutes less or not at all, conservation advocates say. After the concessions, Alabama’s fee would be tied with Georgia for the highest in the nation.
The gas tax would fund the Gov. Kay Ivey-backed infrastructure bill, called the Rebuild Alabama Act, and is estimated to cost the average driver an additional $55 a year in gasoline tax, according to authors of the legislation. But EV owners would pay a $200 annual license and registration fee; plug-in hybrid vehicle owners would pay $100. There would be no fee for conventional hybrid vehicles.
That’s down from the original bill’s $250 for EVs and $150 for hybrids. Read more.
A Thanksgiving night shooting at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover has brought more attention to the issue of gun violence. Dr. Jeff Kerby sees the effects of guns every day. He’s a surgeon and head of the trauma service at UAB Hospital. He says the number of gunshot wound cases at UAB has almost tripled over the past four years. Curbing that, he argues, requires input from the medical community.
Kerby’s comments come as the National Rifle Association recently criticized doctors speaking out about gun issues, tweeting they should “stay in their lane.” WBHM’s Andrew Yeager spoke with Kerby. Read more and listen to the interview.
Alabama Rep. Randy Davis has been indicted on allegations he was involved in a plan to pressure Blue Cross Blue Shield to cover diabetes treatments at a string of health clinics with which he was involved.
Davis, a Republican from Daphne, was charged by federal prosecutors in Montgomery with several counts of bribery, according to the indictment.
The allegations are part of the corruption case brought against state Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills; lobbyist Martin J. “Marty” Connors of Alabaster; and G. Ford Gilbert of Carmichael, California, who owned the Trina Health company. Read more.
More stories about the new indictment:
• Rep. Randy Davis Indicted on Bribery Charges (Montgomery Advertiser)
• Outgoing State Rep. Randy Davis Indicted in Bribery Case (AL.com)
• Lawmaker Indicted On Bribery Charges (AP)
BirminghamWatch in April ran stories published by fellow nonprofit news site inewsource, which had spent months investigating Gilbert and Trina Health operations to produce its Hustling Hope series.
Just imagine: A nonsurgical treatment that helps millions of people with complications from diabetes restore vision, repair damaged kidneys, and reverse heart disease and cognitive decline. A treatment that heals wounds in their legs and feet, repairs damage from stroke, and eliminates a common type of diabetic nerve pain called neuropathy.
That’s what lawyer G. Ford Gilbert and his network of Trina Health clinics have been promising with his IV insulin infusions offered through his Sacramento-based company. The Trina CEO calls the procedure “miraculous,” and he has not been deterred by the nation’s top experts in diabetes, who aggressively debunk his procedure, calling it outright fraud and a scam. Read more.
Just about every Tuesday morning around 7:30, John McCreary of Poway can be found waiting for Dr. James Novak’s office to open. Almost always, McCreary said, he’s the first one there.
Novak’s practice is listed as the only one in the San Diego area offering Trina Health’s “Artificial Pancreas Treatment,” a four-hour IV insulin infusion procedure for people with diabetes. Some people like McCreary, 69, who has wrestled with diabetic nerve pain for years, said they think the procedure is working for them. Read more.
You can find more segments in the Hustling Hope
series on inewsource.org.
Dec. 31 is the last day to donate to BirminghamWatch and double the impact of your gift.
Until then, News Match 2017 will match any donation up to $1,000. News Match, a $3 million program to support nonprofit and investigative news organizations, is a collaboration of the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It is the largest grassroots fundraising campaign to support nonprofit news organizations that play a vital role informing the public and holding those in power accountable.
BirminghamWatch, the news reporting arm of the Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism, was chosen as one of 110 news organizations participating in News Match. Each of the organizations is eligible to receive up to $28,000 in matching money.
“At a time when trust in media is at an all-time low, nonprofit journalism organizations are directly connecting with people to understand their needs and concerns, while providing vital news and information to communities across the nation,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “This initiative will help news organizations that are imperative to our democracy build resources and widen their supporter base, just when they need it most.” Read more.
Almost as if it were planned, news about fake news headlined national media coverage the same day that Alabama media experts and citizens who care about staying informed gathered for a Media Savvy discussion Thursday evening at Birmingham’s Civil Rights Institute.
Aimed at understanding and navigating today’s changing and confusing media landscape, the forum began and ended with “Real News or Fake News?” games, included tips for telling the difference, and featured open discussion by audience members and presenters with decades of news reporting experience.
The event was sponsored by BirminghamWatch and the Alabama Humanities Foundation. The conversation continues next week. Reserve your seat now. The events are free but space is limited. Read more.
Uma Srivastava recalled when her sister was told at a traffic stop to “go back to your country. You don’t belong here.”
Except this is her country.
“She was born here. She went to high school here,” said Srivastava, who was representing the Indian-American community during a conference at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. “This is home for us. There’s no other country to go back to.”
It is said that love is what love does and, according to panelists at the conference, hate can be defined the same way.
Representatives of seven groups answered the question, ‘What is Hate in Your Community,’ on the second day of the Hate Crimes Conference, presented by BCRI and the Birmingham Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Read more.
Aug. 15, 2017 — Mayor William Bell had a Confederate monument outside Birmingham City Hall obscured by a wooden barrier Tuesday night while efforts are made to remove it.
But the state’s attorney general quickly sued the city and the mayor, saying the move violated a state law passed in the spring that says monuments more than 40 years old cannot be altered without approval from a new commission.
The topic of removing the statute was brought up during the Tuesday morning City Council meeting. Council President Johnathan Austin had called on Bell to remove the monument and others like it in Birmingham, calling them “offensive” and saying they “celebrate racism, bigotry, hate and all those things that the South has been known for. Read more.
Aug. 10, 2017 – Jay Morgan applauded as Commissioner David Carrington voiced his disapproval of an effort to get zoning in The Cotswolds subdivision amended to permit the construction of a pair of houses on land that was designated to be left undeveloped.
“He said they need to play by the rules,” said Morgan, who lives in the subdivision on Sicard Hollow Road near Liberty Park. “These developers … they were not playing by the rules. They started building the driveway and didn’t even have a building permit. That’s why we have rules and regulations.”
Carrington ultimately moved that the matter be carried over for no more than six months to allow, among other things, for all parties to be duly notified. Read more.
More than a quarter of Birmingham voters turned out Tuesday for the first round of polling to select a mayor, city councilors and members for the city Board of Education. Runoffs in nine of those races will be Oct. 3.