Small Business Week, Prison Reform and Same Sex Marriage Refusal

May 7, 2015

    

This is national Small Business Week, which recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.  More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business.  Many military veterans use the skills learned during their service time when they return home and find jobs or start a business.  Jim Salmon is the head of business lending for Navy Federal Credit Union and he says there are plenty of ways veterans can get help starting a new business …

        “Find a mentor, find someone within the industry you’re interested in getting into and pick their brain. They’ve gone down the road before you, if you work with them they might be able to guide you down an easier path or part of the path than what they went through, take advantage of their experiences.

        Salmon says it is also important for anyone interested in opening their own business to get their own financial house in order before even thinking about applying for a business loan.

Alabama’s legislature is set to approve a prison reform bill. APR’s Alex AuBuchon says lawmakers expect the bill to cut down on prison overcrowding.

State lawmakers could give their final approval today on changes to sentencing and probation standards.

The bill was put together by a state prison reform task force with help from the Council of State Governments. It’s already passed the Senate and is on the House debate agenda this afternoon.

Alabama prisons currently house nearly twice the number of inmates they were originally designed to hold. State officials say that level of overcrowding is dangerous, and it puts the state at risk of federal intervention.

This bill will create a new class of felony called class D. That’s intended to keep low-level and non-violent offenders out of prison entirely. It also puts tighter monitoring and probation standards on inmates after they’re released from prison, to try and keep them from coming back.

Opponents of a bill that would allow Alabama probate judges and ministers to refuse to marry gay couples on religious grounds say the legislation could open the door to broader discrimination.

The Senate Judiciary Committee  heard  testimony about the bill that the sponsor says came about after a brief period of legalized gay marriage in Alabama.

             Proponents say the bill would protect religious beliefs but opponents say it opens the door to broader discrimination of same-sex couples and other groups.