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05/07/2014 – State Senator Roger H. Bedford, Jr, Capitol Report For May 7th, 2014

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Last month we concluded the 2014 Annual Alabama Legislative Session. As with any session it had its high points and low points. While I am pleased that we were able to pass both the Special Education Trust Fund and the General Education Trust Fund, I was deeply disappointed that the Republican Super Majority would not allow our hard working teachers, support personnel and state employees to receive a cost of living raise. These raises were affordable and we could have given them as the Governor suggested, but they simply were not the priority of the Super Majority group in control.

I offered amendments which would have fully funded a cost of living raise for both teachers and state employees without raising taxes or cutting essential programs. Both times these raises were defeated, and I’m sorry to say that now a quadrennial has passed without teachers or state employees receiving any meaningful pay increases, despite the fact that gasoline, milk and other services continue to go up.

I was pleased to see that we were able to strengthen economic development tools for the Governor. We all need to continue to work to see that we have a pro-business, pro- growth environment in Alabama. That has been one of my top priorities and I was pleased to work with the Business Council of Alabama, The Alabama Retail Association and small business groups to create a taxpayer’s bill of rights legislation. This was important piece of pro-business growth legislation that we finally enacted. I was also pleased to see that we were able to further protect the lives of the unborn by strengthening pro-life bills in Alabama. I was pleased to support both of these measures.

As a life long hunter and fisherman you may rest assured that I will continue to protect our Second Amendment rights. I was pleased to see that we were able to stop anti-gun legislation and also promote the protection of our Second Amendment rights.

It was good to see so many individuals from our Senate District during the Session, from youth leadership groups, to organized visits by our elected officials. It always helps me to better represent your views when I hear directly from you, both in person and by e-mails, phone calls and letters. I also enjoyed traveling around throughout the District this past week and seeing so many of you in person.

I also want to congratulate the Marion County Board of Education which recently received two grants which I supported, to cover the expense of the new Career Tech Development with grants in the amount of $518,000. Superintendent of Education, Ryan Hollingsworth is to be congratulated on obtaining these important job training grants. The funds were provided for the school system from a $50 million dollar bond issue which I supported in the Alabama State Legislature last year. I believe that it is important that we offer career tech opportunities to our students so they will be able to earn good paying jobs when they graduate.

I am pleased to report to you that the program which I started 14 years ago to give free medicine to seniors in Alabama is working well. If you believe you qualify, please contact the Alabama SenioRx Program, it is run through the West Alabama Area Agency on Aging as well as the Northwest Council of Local Governments. This important program will help you get free medications that are available through drug manufacturers. Alabamians age 55 and older, as well as other persons on disability, may be eligible to enroll. If you qualify, they will manage and organize all necessary paper work for you. The way this program generally works is that most companies will send you a 90 day supply of free medication at your Doctor’s office. For more information contact your local SenioRx wellness coordinator for West Alabama Area Agency on Aging, or anyone can call to see if they qualify at 1-800-AGE-LINE (1-800-243-5463). We have now given away over 230 million dollars worth of free medicine to Alabama Seniors who qualified for this program. You will recall that we were one of the first states in the nation to do this when I passed this program several years ago. I believe our seniors have fought the wars and paid the taxes, they deserve good health care in their senior years. If you know someone that you think may qualify please have them call the 1-800 number or their local Area Agency.

The State of Alabama Law Enforcement Agency informed me this week about two very important grants for our Senate District. Colbert County will receive $30,000.00 in federal grant funding under the fiscal year 2012 State Homeland Security Grant Program. This funding will be used to purchase two UHF and two VHF repeaters for improved inter-operable communications for First Responders within Colbert County. Fayette County will receive $2,000.00 in federal grant funding under the fiscal year 2011 State Homeland Security Grant Program to purchase a camera surveillance system for Emergency Response equipment security. I am a long time supporter of Alabama’s homeland security and will continue to work towards funding for our Senate District.

I am very excited about the Canadian company, Great West Vans, agreeing to relocate all of its operations to Winfield in Marion County. This Canadian based company has been in business for almost 40 years and has a strong financial reputation. Great West Vans will bring approximately 40 new jobs to the area with its relocation. Mayor Randy Price and the Winfield City Council have worked diligently to finalize this deal and with their efforts our Senate District will benefit from this new coming economic development. I want to also thank David Thornell and the leadership at C3 for helping to lead the change as well. We are doing well attracting new jobs to our Senate District but we must continue to work hard for more good paying jobs.

It was certainly a pleasure to be in Red Bay and Russellville recently to present Franklin County TVA in-leu of tax service grants. These grants are applicable to all Franklin County and it is a pleasure for me, working with Johnny Mac Morrow, to have presented over $851,000.00 worth of grants in Franklin County alone. We recently awarded $500 to the Franklin County Community Education Program for a county wide Drug Story Day for all 6 grade classes to be held at Red Bay High School as well as $500 for 8th Grade Teen Day at Northwest Shoals Community College. $500 to the American Legion Post 64 for the summer baseball team, $1000 to Red Bay High School Summer TRACKS Program, $2000 to Phil Campbell Jr. High Cheerleaders, $7,740 to the Russellville Fire Department for the purchase of 3 computers, $1500 to the Franklin County Extension Office for Regional and State Competitions, $5,000 to Red Bay High School for the purchase of new band uniforms, $3,000 to Tharptown High School for sound system upgrades, $3120 to Red Bay High School and Elementary School for the purchases of awards ceremony trophies, $1300 to the Town of Vina for Vina Youth League Baseball, $2734 to the City of Russellville Foster Grand Parent Program, $500 to the American Legion Post 64 for Boys and Girls State expenses, $2350 to Little Treasures Pre-K Inc for state approved Gold Teaching Strategies software, $1200 to Russellville Elementary for the purchase of iPads for Pre K Classes, $1225 to Vina High School for a field trip to Red Mountain Park in Birmingham, $2500 to Russellville Middle School for the purchases of Tablets for the History Classes, $1200 to Red Bay High School for emergency notification system and bells system purchase and $750 to the Phil Campbell High School Dance Line for uniform purchases.

Let me also wish a Happy Mothers Day to all of our fine Mom’s and Grandmothers who have done so much to help raise all of us. I hope all of us will give them a hug and\or a prayer of thanks.

Thank you all for contacting me and please continue to do so at the following address(s)

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
Email: senbedford@aol.com

Website: http://www.RogerBedford.com

Written by 49 County News.Net

May 7, 2014 at 11:44 AM

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