State Senate to Debate Oil Spill Settlement, Tuscaloosa VA Hosts Veterans' Job Fair

Aug 24, 2016

Alabama Senators will be debating how to divvy up the state’s portion of oil spill settlement money amid a looming hole in the Medicaid budget.

The Alabama Senate is expected to take up the settlement bill today. A version of the legislation passed the House last week. Debate on the Senate floor could get contentious, though, as Senators can’t seem to agree on how much money should help Medicaid and how much should go toward road projects on the Alabama coast.

The bill that passed the House would use $450 million to pay back money borrowed during previous budget shortfalls, and nearly $200 million for road projects in coastal counties. Paying down debt early would free up an additional $70 million for the state’s Medicaid program next fiscal year, which is currently $85 million underfunded.

Some senators argue the settlement money should be used only for state debts and Medicaid, not roads. South Alabama lawmakers say they’re the ones who were impacted by the oil spill, and they deserve a share of the settlement.

The Tuscaloosa Veterans Hospital is holding a job fair tomorrow, but this one isn’t just for anyone.

Thirty different businesses are coming together to look for potential employment opportunities for Tuscaloosa’s veterans. The fair will be from nine in the morning until one in the afternoon at the medical center on The University of Alabama’s campus.

Damon Stevenson is the public affairs officer for Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center. He says veterans can come to learn more about job opportunities.

“The job fair is going to have thirty or so potential employers, which veterans can come, and their family members as well, come learn about potential job opportunities available for them.”

Stevenson also says that veterans should come with their resume and business casual ready, as some companies will be looking to hold interviews at the job fair.

The city of Birmingham is gearing up to host a weekly event to aid entrepreneurs in starting up their businesses.

One Million Cups is a national program to engage, educate, and connect local entrepreneurs over a cup of a coffee.

Kathleen Hamrick is the director of the UAB iLab at Innovation Depot. She says they will help local entrepreneurs take their ideas to the next level.

“During that six-minute time frame, while they are talking about their idea and their business, they are doing it to receive feedback on their content and idea as they take it forward, and we are connecting them to the resources in the room and resources in the community that can really take their idea to the next level.”

Hamrick says over the next year, they hope to support over one hundred entrepreneurs in the Birmingham area.