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05/17/2013 – Senator Roger Bedford – Capitol Report for May 17th, 2013

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Capitol Report for May 17th, 2013

Despite the pouring rain during the Relay for Life celebrations the efforts to support the American Cancer Society went forward very successfully throughout our Senate District. I realize that many of the events were moved indoors. My wife and I had the pleasure of attending the Franklin County American Cancer Society Relay for Life, where my wife completed her first lap as a breast cancer survivor and I completed mine 23 years cancer fee thanks to the good Lord’s healing grace. There was a great turn out at the Russellville Middle School Gymnasium and little over $91,000 was raised for cancer research. I heard from the other Relay for Life events throughout our Senate District and they went forward as well. I want to congratulate everyone that took the time to participate and help raise money for the cure, while also taking a moment to remember those who have gone on to heaven because of this deadly disease. I hope that we will soon , not only find a cure, but also ways to manage and thereby control cancer when it occurs in our friends and neighbors.

It’s certainly been nice to be back in the Senate District this week visiting with many of you throughout our seven county region. I am sad to report to you however that the Republican Super Majority in the Alabama State Senate rammed through an updated version of the Private School Voucher Law, and with it’s approval they essential destroyed the original legislation while doubling the tax credit for corporations. You will recall this is the School Voucher Bill that grew out of a seven page agreed upon flexibility bill that was switched into a twenty-eight page school voucher bill which no one had an opportunity to debate or study before it was passed in the Alabama Senate. The new bill will specify that no school would be required to accept a student from a school designated as failing. Also one of the major changes was to double from 50% of the current bill to 100% of the amount of the state tax credit a corporation could take for donating to a scholarship granting organization under the law.

Under the original law, which was jammed through the legislation February 28th by the Republican leadership, it’s goal was to enable students in failing schools to transfer to another public school or private school. The new bill stops that law and undermines that very goal.

It still allows parents of children zoned for failing schools to receive a tax credit to help pay to attend a private school or another public school. However the new bill did not address the issue of whether students already in private schools would be eligible for the tax credit if they are zoned for a failing public school. The State Department of Education has interrupted the existing law to mean that private school students are not eligible, however the law is still unclear on this matter.

This new version of the bill would provide that when a tax credit is issued for a student transferring from ” failing school ” , that the ” failing school” would receive an amount equaling 20% of the average per pupil per funding provided by the state. It is my hope that Governor Bentley will provide some executive amendments to this law that would prevent our public dollars from being used to pay for private schools.

We are working hard to pass a bill which will provide additional money to help with the tornado disaster that stuck our state. The Alabama House of Representatives have already passed the bill and the Alabama Senate will hopefully be taking up passing it on the last day.

During this past week the Republican Super Majority created a new liability insurance program with 5 million dollars of state tax payers money. Many people felt that these Senators voted to waste the 5 million of tax payers money by setting up a new state government program to compete with AEA’s private liability benefit. I believed it was more important to spend the money for text books than for a new insurance program. As such, I voted against creating a new government insurance program that cost the tax payers a minimum of 5 million dollars each year. I believe we should get more money into the class rooms to help our students and our educators.

This past week I also offered an amendment to raise the education pay raise from 2%, which only applies to current K-12 educators , to a 5% across the board raise for both active and retired teachers. It was a raise that we could afford without cutting money to the classrooms or textbooks. However, the GOP Super Majority voted it down and kept the raise at 2% and only for current K-12 educators. My proposed 5% raise would have applied to current K-12 employees, two year school employees, and a cost of living raise for retirees and support personnel. You will recall in 2011 the legislature raised the education employees contribution to their pension fund from 5% to 7.5%, so teachers have been taking a 2.5% cut each year. They are paying more and getting less and I think this is wrong. You may rest assured that I will continue to support our public schools and teachers, both active and retired.

Our Senate District received some good news this past week when Tullahoma Industries in Brilliant was awarded another new contract which will be a great economic incentive for our area. Tullahoma recently received a $180 million dollar contract over a 5 year period to produce combat trousers for the U.S. Army. This second contract follows closely after a previous contract which awarded $25.5 million to Tullahoma for Army combat uniform trousers. These will be new jobs in our area and they are most welcomed. Congratulations goes out to the C3, Mayor and City Council of Brilliant and especially the fine work force that we have in this area.

It was certainly a lot of fun to attend the 40th Annual Senior Citizen’s Appreciation Dinner this past Friday at the Florence Lauderdale Coliseum. As you know NCOLG does a good job working with our Department of Aging Services for our five county area. There were so many friends that it was hard for me to continue the rest of my schedule for that day. A lot of door prizes were given away and Shannon Knight, of Guin did a super job as the Master of Ceremonies. He has one of the finest singing voices around. It was also a time for me to be able to report on our SenioRx Program, which is entering into its 15th continues year providing free prescription drugs to our seniors and has now given away $300 million dollars of free prescription drugs. If you know of someone who does not have prescription drug coverage and\or is in need of discounts for the medicine they do purchase, please call 1-800-age-line, ( 1-800-243-5463) to receive a comprehensive package of information from the Alabama Department of Senior Services. My good friend Neal Morrison does such a fine job helping head up that agency. We are fortunate to have such a strong and healthy senior population which volunteers their time from Foster Grandparents to helpers who assist as reading instructors at our local schools. I appreciate the continuing contribution of our seniors.

I also enjoyed being in Moulton, Hamilton and Tuscumbia giving out Alabama Forestry checks to our fine local volunteer fire departments. They do such a great job for our area, protecting both our lives and property.

As you know with the return of warm weather it has allowed many paving and re-surfacing projects as well as bridge replacements throughout our Senate District. While it is a small inconvenience to be stopped or slowed down when you encounter one of these projects, it is really a small price to pay for the greater safety and convenience that these improved roads will create. You may rest assured that I will continue to fight hard to bring our tax dollars back home to be wisely invested in our Senate District.

Let me thank all of you for the many cards, letters, phone calls and e-mails I’ve gotten regarding your views on the issues facing us here in Alabama. Please continue to contact me at the following address.

Roger H. Bedford, Jr.

Alabama State House

11 S. Union Street, Suite 738
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
Phone 334-242-7862, Fax 334-242-9202
Russellville Office

P.O. Box 370

Russellville, Alabama 35653

Phone 256-332-6966 Fax 256-332-6967





Amanda Hovater
Roger H. Bedford, Jr.
Alabama State Senator District 6
Roger Bedford & Assoc., P.C.
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 370
Russellville, Alabama 35653
(256) 332-6966 – Direct Line Russellville Office
(256) 332-2880 – Law Firm
(256) 332-6967 – Facsimile
(334) 242-7862 – Montgomery Office

Copyright: http://www.49countynews.net

Written by 49 County News.Net

May 19, 2013 at 11:43 PM

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