Rep. Ford reflects on Legislative Session, Buisness of Biotech in Huntsville

May 5, 2016

Lawmakers have left Montgomery after the Legislative Session ended Thursday morning.  The House and Senate could not agree on a wide range of issues like how to use the BP Settlement Money and the Prison Construction Bill.

Craig Ford is the Alabama House Minority Leader.  The Gadsden Democrat says a plan to fully fund Medicaid by allowing Alabamians to vote on a gaming bill should have been approved…

“Which is very disheartening because over 70 percent of people want to be able to vote on a gaming bill.  It’s a voluntary tax to help fully fund Medicaid.  We had an opportunity other than raising people’s taxes  to pass a voluntary tax allowing them to vote on a casino and a lottery”

Ford believes a special session will be called to address the issues that could not be decided upon during the regular session.  That means taxpayers will shell out more money to bring lawmakers back to the Capital. 

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is disappointed in the failure of his prison construction bill, but says he "will not give up on this."

Bentley's proposal to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to build new prisons failed on the final night of the legislative session. Senators approved a scaled-back $550 million plan. The House did not vote on the bill.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says supporters could not stop an expected filibuster.

Bentley says prison conditions and overcrowding remain a major problem.  Inmates have sued the state over medical care and inadequate facilities for disabled inmates.

The Business of Biotech is a seminar being hosted tomorrow as part of Innovate Huntsville 2016.

The seminar will offer mentoring and networking opportunities with companies that specialize in life sciences. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to tour the Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology.

Carter Wells is the vice president for economic development at the Institute. He says the ultimate goal of the seminar is to engage people in life sciences entrepreneurship.

“We engage in different ways within the entrepreneurial community here in North Alabama, and we just want to encourage people that have great ideas to pursue those ideas and try to put those into businesses.”

The free seminar will take place tomorrow on the Hudson Alpha Campus.