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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
Email:

senbedford@aol.com

Website:

http://www.RogerBedford.com

 


Amanda Hovater
Assistant
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
AHovater.RBA@gmail.com

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

Written by 49 County News.Net

May 19, 2013 at 11:43 PM

09/14/2012 – From the Office of Roger Bedford – Capitol Report

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Capitol Report for September 14th, 2012

It has certainly been and exciting time since the last Capitol Report. We’ve had two major industrial announcements, one in our Senate District in the Shoals with Firestone announcing that it is going to double the size of its plant with a $40 million dollar expansion and adding approximately 40 jobs.

Just a few weeks ago we had the announcement of the Walgreen’s Call Center expansion that will be taking place in Muscle Shoals. Walgreens expects to fill 150 jobs soon after the renovation and facility expansion is complete in December with the company planning to add an additional 100 jobs in each of the next two years.

It is good seeing new jobs coming into our area, but it is also important that we keep the existing jobs that we have and continue to search for new jobs.

As we’ve talked about before the days of showing a cotton field to an industrial prospect and saying “we want you to locate here” are long over. Industry in the 21st century wants existing land infrastructure and a lot of times buildings already in place that they can immediately utilize. As such, it was a pleasure to dedicate the new industrial spec building in the Vina Industrial Park in Franklin County this week. This industrial building is ideally located approximately half way between Corridor Y , Hwy 24 and Corridor X new interstate 22. It has approximately 42,000 square feet in it and I look forward to it having hundreds of workers some day in the future. As you may know it has been my long time philosophy that I had rather put people to work so when they are paying taxes there is money for our schools and government rather than raising taxes. I think it’s a bad idea to raise taxes especially on working families and small businesses.

It is good to see the highway work underway on highway 24. It has long been a dream of mine to fulfill Congressman Tom Bevill’s request to see that Highway 24 known as Corridor Y becomes a complete four lane joining Corridor X which is soon to be our new Interstate 22 in Mississippi. I can’t help but smile at all the construction work going on in Jefferson County as they prepare for Corridor X to tie into Interstate 65.

Yes, football season has finally arrived. While the temperature needs to be a little cooler I’m excited about high school football throughout our Senate District and State as well as SEC College football. It is my understanding that the University of North Alabama is also building a strong football program for the upcoming season. I hope you all come out to support your local, Junior High and High School teams as well as your favorite Colleges.

What an honor it was to introduce Alexandra Branyon in Fayette at the Fayette Civic Center recently. I had the privilege of presented a Senate Resolution honoring her for her work. We are so fortunate to have this outstanding Fayette native and fine Alabamian adding to the rich cultural activities at the Civic Center. It was also interesting to see so many former Fayette students who are now succeeding in life talk about their experiences there in the building when it was still a school. We wish Ms. Branyon all the best in the future and I know we’ll see many more successes from her good work.

It was a pleasure to recently attend the Alabama Council of Local Governments Annual fish fry in Tuscumbia. It was very well attended by the local elected officials and board members from the five counties that Keith Jones’s fine group heads up. Those five counties being, Lauderdale, Colbert, Franklin, Marion and Winston Counties.

Many of you have contacted me about the upcoming amendment coming up on September 18th. As I’ve told many of you on the phone and in person, I agree with you that it is not the best way to fund state government by taking one time monies to pay on reoccurring expenses. It’s a shame that the Republican Super Majority does not want to put language in the amendment that would require us to pay the Oil and Gas Savings and Trust Fund account back. However, the reason you have a savings account is so that you can have a bridge over tough financial waters and I hope that you’ll vote yes to this amendment because Medicaid, mental health and other state services are depending upon its passage. The Governor and the GOP Super Majority in the Alabama Legislative have provided no leadership as to alternatives if the amendment is rejected, in other words there is no plan B if it fails.

The following grants were recently awarded in our Senate District. $1000 to the Red Bay High School Majorettes and Dance Line. $500 to the Tharptown High School Softball Program. $500 to the Tharptown High School Youth Football and Cheer league. $1000 to the Franklin County Schools ( Red Bay, Vina and Tharptown ) speech Therapy for an ipad purchase. $1000 to the Russellville High School Golden Tiger Anglers Club. $500 to the Red Bay Elementary 6th grade field trip to Daulphin Island and $1250 to the City of Red Bay Weatherford Library.

I am very pleased to announce that the Alabama Department of Economic Affairs (ADECA) has granted funding for the important grants I have fought so hard to obtain.

$51,300.00 was awarded to the West Alabama Children’s Advocacy Center. This project will continue to enable the West Alabama Children’s Advocacy Center to continue to provide child abuse services and a child friendly facility in Lamar County and to support satellite facilities in Fayette County and Pickens County. Taped interviews and counseling sessions along with court preparations will be provided to the victims in each of these facilities. We must protect our children from abuse and put in jail those who abuse them.

$7,948.00 was awarded to assist the Town of Double Springs Police Department with the purchase of 4 ballistic vests, 7 tailored armor vest carriers, 4 each 5.56 police rifles, sights, light mountings, 3-point fifle slings and tactical slings, 2 tasers, 1 taser cartridge and 4 taser batteries. This equipment will assure that the Police Department will have the necessary resources to remain in conformance and provide necessary equipment to perform their duties.

$150,000.00 was awarded to Northwest Shoals Community College to continue implementation of the Child Passenger Safety program in the 10 Community Traffic Safety Program regions located across the state. Counties served in this program are Colbert, Cullman, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Morgan and Winston.

$249,613.00 was also awarded to Northwest Shoals Community College for The North Alabama Highway Safety Office to continue implementation of the ADECALETS Highway Safety programs in the North Alabama region to include the 10 counties of Colbert, Cullman, Franklin, Lawrence, Limestone, Lauderdale, Madison, Madison, Marion, Morgan, and Winston.

$133,000.00 was awarded to Shelton State Community College to be used to administer traffic safety projects and grants in West Alabama. This grant serves the following counties: Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa.

The City of Fayette, which is governed by Mayor Ray Nelson, was awarded $450,000.00. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds will provide sewer system improvements on 5th Street NE, 4th Street NE, 4th Lane NE, and 6th Avenue NE and will ultimately benefit 165 people.

The City of Hamilton was awarded $250,000.00. This CDBG will provide funds for an extensive revitalization to a six block area in the downtown commercial region. The project will consist of drainage, water, sewer, street, sidewalk, lighting, landscaping and handicapped accessibility improvements. Thanks to the hard work of Mayor Annette Sherrill and local officials we were able to obtain these funds that will improve the quality of life of everyone in Hamilton.

The Lamar County Commission, which is chaired by Judge Johnny Rogers, received a $350,000.00 CDBG to provide new water service to 42 households that are currently being served by contaminated water wells and springs in two separate sections of Lamar County.

The City of Sulligent received $350,000.00, and these CDBG funds will provide new sewer service to the residents of Buck Jackson and Wilson Roads as well as Willow and Wren Streets. The project will also replace a deteriorated and undersized pump station at Lamar Heights Apartments.

In addition to CDBG funds, ADECA awarded funding to Safeplace, Inc. for Crime Victim Assistance and Family Violence Prevention and Services/Grants for Battered Women’s Shelters Grants to States and Indian Tribes. Safeplace received $45,005.00 for a project that will continue to address the dual problems of expanding domestic violence services to a growing Hispanic population in Colbert, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Franklin, Marion and Winston counties. These funds will also provide more personnel on-site in rural counties, who will provide services, such as court advocacy, to rural victims and refer both populations to their crisis line and residential facility when needed.

Safeplace also received $175,971.00 for the Safeplace P.E.A.C.E. Project, which serves six Northwest Alabama Counties, will address the problem of family violence and prevention of future abuse. Services will include school-based violence prevention/education programs, media and community awareness campaigns about services available to victims, victim outreach programs, training for community agencies and professionals, provision of crisis line, safe housing and counseling for victims, and domestic violence intervention programs for perpetrators will be expanded.

As always, thanks to the Mayors, Commissioners, and local officials, as well as the Governor, ADECA Director Jim Byard, and members of the Legislature, who helped us obtain these funds that will improve the quality of life for the citizens of Northwest Alabama. You may rest assured that I will keep working hard to bring out tax dollars back home to help our area grow.

I certainly appreciate all the cards, e-mails, letters and phone calls which I have received from you. This enables me to continue to work effectively on your behalf. If you should need to reach me for any reason feel free to do so at the contact information listed below.

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

Amanda Hovater
Assistant
Roger H. Bedford, Jr.
Senate Minority Leader
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
AHovater.RBA@gmail.com

Written by 49 County News.Net

September 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM

08/10/2012 – Capitol Report – Sen. Roger Bedford

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Capitol Report – August 10th, 2012

Last April when the devastating tornados ripped through our Senate District they destroyed the entire school at Hackleburg and the high school in Phil Campbell. I’m pleased to report to you that both schools are now in the process of being rebuilt. The contracts are being led on the school in Hackleburg. In Phil Campbell this week we were finally able to celebrate the demolition of the tornado damaged building. As funny as it may seem, the building was so old the historical had to do a study on it before they would allow us to destroy it. This past week Representative Johnny Mack Morrow along with the Franklin County Superintendent of Education Gary Williams watched over and participated in beginning of the demolition of the damaged building. I looked forward to our school children having state of the art school facilities in both Hackleburg and Phil Campbell in the near future. This will also help create construction jobs in our area which should help stimulate the local economy even more.

I am pleased to announce an ADECA grant in the amount of $116,491.00 has been awarded to Childcare Education Resources, Inc. This program will train childcare providers and parents about the causes and implications of obesity among children. Childcare Education Resources, Inc is a non-profit organization with experience in training childcare providers throughout North Alabama. The organization will work with approximately 16 providers in a five-county area. Childcare managers and staff will be trained on strategies for obesity preventions. Staff will assist providers in policy updates that will promote healthier lifestyles among children. The organization will provide parents with materials and workshops to help them understand children’s diet and exercise needs.

Obesity and diabetes are becoming increasingly prevalent nationwide and especially in Alabama. Our children spend more time in childcare and obtain a large share of their calorie intake during their childcare hours. During this project period, children will have access to healthier meals, snacks and beverages and greater opportunities for developmentally appropriate physical activity throughout the day. Training and parent education will also encourage healthy habits for children, parents and daycare providers in the long term, even after the program is completed. This project will target Winston, Franklin, Marion, Colbert and Lauderdale Counties.

As the Alabama Department of Public Health copes to absorb a $20 million funding reduction Alabamians can expect less-frequent restaurant inspections in the next budget year.

State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson reported that the Department is implementing short-term cost savings by making cuts to environmental services such as restaurant, septic tank and hotel inspections.

Personnel shifting and relocating has been attempted to save money, putting state employees in vacant federally funded jobs. Statewide, the department has about 4,200 employees, about 300 less than it had about for years ago. As the department continues to evaluate how it provides services, additional staff reductions continue to be an uncertainty.

I hope you all have been enjoying the Olympics like my family and I have this past week. It is simply amazing all the athletic competitions and the amount of variety in them. It makes us proud to see the Americans doing so well but I admire all the Olympics hopefuls for the countless hours that they have put in practicing and working hard for this opportunity to excel in the Olympics. Hopefully America will do well and we will bring home the most medals.

I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet with the Marion County Democratic Executive Committee last week in Hamilton. They certainly have a fine group of individuals and I enjoyed the discussions on varies topics. We must continue to focus on job growth and retention here in our Senate District. I am very concerned that the budget cuts imposed by the Republican Super Majority are going to hurt the quality of the future work force in the State and by making these drastic cuts they will also reduce the quality of services to our individuals especially those in the mental health area and for our brave Veterans.

I certainly had a good time at the Vina Fest this past weekend. I enjoyed seeing Major D.W Franklin and so many of our local neighbors and friends. It was also good to see Marion County Commissioner Don Barnwell and Tony Shackleford there. The big money draw is always a fun time and my ticket at least made it to the final 100 before I was drawn out. Congratulations go to the winners.

We will have several new road projects being let in the coming month. You may rest assured that I will continue to work hard that we bring our tax dollars home for better and safer roads.

I hope all of you took advantage of the tax free holiday. It is hard to believe that summer is almost over and school is about to start. Please be sure to shop locally whenever possible. Those tax revenue dollars turn over into our local economy by not only helping to keep jobs but to support our local schools as well.

Let me thank you for all the cards, letters, e-mails and phone calls which I’ve received these past few weeks concerning my wonderful wife Maudie’s battle with cancer. She has been very brave and I’m so proud of her. Her breast surgery at UAB went well and we will be looking at a regimen of chemo and radiation treatments in the coming weeks and months. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we are both big believers in the power of prayer because we know our God is still in the healing business.

I am pleased to announce that the following grants were recently awarded in our Senate District, $520 to Red Bay Police Department for their Taser Gun purchase program, $2000 to the City of Red Bay for the Founders Day Festival, $1,000 to the Sara Dinsmore Center, $1,000 to Red Bay High School as well as Vina High School for the Red Bay Newspaper in Education Program for 2012-2013, $1000 to the Russellville Volleyball Program, $1,500 to the Russellville Park and Rec 8\Under ,10\Under and 12\Under All Star teams, $1500 to Tharptown High School Art Department for desk purchases, $500 to the Town of Vina Youth League Baseball Program, $1000 to the Vina High School Band Program, $950 to the Red Bay High School new gym camera system, and $4500 to Russellville Elementary School for Live to Learn Student Planners.

As always if I can be of any assistance to you do not hesitate to give me a call.

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


Amanda Hovater
Assistant
Roger H. Bedford, Jr.
Senate Minority Leader
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
AHovater.RBA@gmail.com

Written by 49 County News.Net

August 12, 2012 at 3:22 PM

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