AIDS Advocates Meeting Today in Huntsville, Jury Selection Ongoing in Hubbard Trial

May 17, 2016

Advocates for people infected with the virus that causes AIDS are meeting in Huntsville starting today. APR’s Pat Duggins reports the group wants to stop laws making the spread of HIV a crime.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the southern U.S. ground zero for the highest number of patients with HIV or full-blown AIDS.

Organizers of the “HIV Is Not a Crime” conference say that’s why brought their event to Alabama. They want to fight state laws like the one that Alabama almost passed last year.

House Bill 50 sought to make the spread of a sexually transmitted disease a class C felony, punishable by ten years in prison. The measure was killed in the Alabama House Judiciary Committee, but the offense remains a class C misdemeanor with a possible three month jail term.

The state of Florida has four laws against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, which ties with the state of Nevada for the most in the nation.

Jury selection is ongoing in the trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the details.

About 100 of the 140 Lee County residents were on hand as the selection process began yesterday in Opelika.

Republican Speaker Mike Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges of using his political position for personal gain back in October 2014. Hubbard has maintained his innocence throughout the indictments.

He faces removal from office if he’s convicted.

The Speaker’s legal battle comes as two other top Alabama officials also face trouble. Governor Robert Bentley faces an impeachment push amid a sex scandal. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is suspended and faces removal from office after being accused of violating judicial ethics.

There is now an online program that can help people of all ages better understand how Social Security works.

The program is called “My Social Security” and it’s being offered by The Social Security Administration. The program can teach people what they can get from the system when they retire, if they are survivors of deceased workers, or suffer a severe and prolonged disability.

BJ Jarrett is a spokesman for the Social Security Administration’s National Press Office. He says this program will benefit people at any stage in their life.

“Not only is it a great retirement planning tool, it really is a great educational tool and we want folks to start having that conversation you know at earlier points in their life not just before they retire.”

Jarrett added since more people, especially seniors, are going online, "My Social Security" will make it simpler to figure out Social Security benefits.

The Alabama Department of Transportation is getting ready for hurricane season with a drill this week.

Workers will conduct a drill to practice reversing the traffic flow on Interstate 65 in south Alabama tomorrow.

Traffic won't be affected, and drivers will stay in their normal lanes. But workers will do a dress rehearsal of the actions needed to make the southbound lanes of I-65 flow northward. That's what could happen if a coastal evacuation is needed because of a hurricane threat.

The drill will be conducted on I-65 between Mobile and Montgomery.