Bentley says gambling isn't enough, VA Deputy Secretary in Alabama and freestanding ER opens

May 5, 2015

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Republican lawmakers seem to be turning toward gambling to shore up Alabama’s General Fund Budget, but Gov. Robert Bentley says that won’t provide enough money to stave off deep cuts to law enforcement and other state agencies.

Bentley spoke to the Associated Press yesterday in Dothan. He says the drafts of lottery and casino legislation proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh would bring Las Vegas-style gambling to the state of Alabama, which he says is not the budget solution the state needs.

Instead, Bentley continued to press for support for his $541 million tax package.

According to the Governor, Alabama would lose 130 law enforcement officers if legislators fail to balance the General Fund budget. Bentley made his remarks at the Houston County state trooper post. The governor said the post is one of 13 trooper posts that would be closing under the potential budget cuts.

The Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs is visiting Alabama this week.

Sloan Gibson's goal is to meet with medical center leadership, employees and key stakeholders. Veteran homelessness is one of the issues Gibson is discussing with VA officials. At the Tuscaloosa VA, he says Alabama is doing well in the effort to end this problem.

“The end of veteran homelessness is within reach and as we achieve that very meaningful milestone the opportunity then is to ensure that what we do is construct the kind of safety net that needs to be in place so that as veterans and veterans’ families become at risk for homelessness that we’re intervening sooner.”

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office says that city has successfully ended chronic veteran homelessness. Less than fifty veterans still remain without a home there. Mobile plans to find those veterans homes within the next six months.

Alabama’s first free-standing Emergency Room will start accepting patients today. The biggest concern among critics is the cost.

Medical West is a twenty four thousand square foot Emergency Room that’s just like any other ER—except there’s no hospital attached.

Managers and community leaders cut the ribbon on the facility on Monday. It’s located on the corner of Interstate four fifty nine and County Highway One fifty. Patients there will find everything available at a traditional emergency room, including doctors on-call, twelve exam rooms, CT scanners, and an ambulance bay.

Medical West chose to locate in Hoover to accommodate patients who don’t have time to fight traffic around Birmingham to get to a hospital. That convenience comes with a price. The co-pay for a visit is one hundred and fifty dollars and treatment can cost a thousand dollars or more. A second freestanding ER is set to open in October.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office are working with local police in Mobile for a new program aimed at teaching teenagers how to navigate traffic stops and other encounters with police.

The program was officially rolled out yesterday. It’s called Successful Tips for Youth on Law Enforcement Encounters, or STYLE. The first session will be for 25 to 30 students from Mobile’s Blount High School on Thursday at the Mobile Police Department firing range.

U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown says the program aims to build respect between young people and police, after several high-profile fatal police shootings of unarmed young black men across the country. Brown also says part of the program will teach the students how to properly file a complaint or take legal action if they believe an officer has acted inappropriately.

Officials say the goal is to have this program in a variety of high schools across south Alabama by this fall.