Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

Committees in Alabama’s House of Representatives passed two notable bills yesterday. One would prevent abortion clinics from being located near public schools, and another would take the state of Alabama out of the marriage process entirely.

Legislators say the abortion bill is aimed at protecting students from the chaos of protestors outside abortion clinics. It would close an existing abortion facility in Huntsville, which was forced to move to its current location near a public school after the state mandated new facility requirements in 2013.

abandoned grocery store
Carmen K. Sisson

Close to two million Alabamians currently live in areas with no grocery stores or access to fresh produce. That’s something the state government hopes to change.

This year, the Alabama state legislature passed the Healthy Food Financing Act, aimed at providing incentives for grocers to open stores in underserved areas of the state. But the legislation doesn't currently include any funding for the program.

Ellie Taylor is the president of the Alabama Grocers Association. She says it was important to get the framework in place first, and then find funding.

A new survey shows the majority of U.S. military veterans aren’t happy with the treatment they get after their service. The Disabled Veterans Pulse Survey found that only 1 in 5 veterans think the government treats them well.

Less than half believe they receive the benefits and support they were promised. Dan Clare is the National Director of Communications for the group Disabled American Veterans. He says many veterans out repeat their service.

The Alabama House of Representatives has approved a General Fund budget that slashes $200 million from state agencies, after GOP lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on tax increases.

Representatives voted 66-36 for the spending plan yesterday. Most Democrats voted against the budget after criticizing the cuts.

The budget bill now heads to the Alabama Senate. House Speaker Mike Hubbard says his plan is to work with Senators for the rest of the legislative session to avoid some of the state agency cuts.

ADECA

A free program designed to help people after a traffic accident is now available statewide.

Bullock County officials joined Gov. Robert Bentley on Friday to start participating in the Yellow Dot program and complete coverage statewide. The program began in 2009 in Etowah County.

Yellow Dot coordinator Lora Weaver says a Yellow Dot decal is placed in the back window of a vehicle. If a crash occurs, the dot alerts first responders to a yellow information packet in the glove compartment that lists health conditions, medications and emergency contacts.

http://www.adeca.alabama.gov / Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

A program that supplies surplus military equipment to Alabama law enforcement agencies has been on hold since March.

The federal program has come under scrutiny since police in Ferguson, Missouri, used surplus military equipment in clashes with protesters. The program has provided weapons, aircraft, armored vehicles and body armor to Alabama law enforcement.

governor.alabama.gov

Governor Robert Bentley has announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing Alabama with $1.8 million in grants help fund emergency housing initiatives.

Bentley says that the grants will "prevent homelessness by giving a helping hand to Alabamians at a time of critical need."

The money is being provided by the Emergency Solutions Grant program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funding is meant to help agencies provide shelter, legal and health services and financial consulting.

Tennessee Valley Authority

A state agency director says the Tennessee Valley Authority employees slated for layoffs in Alabama will receive the same services as workers laid off by private industries.

The director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Jim Byard, says that once a closing date is known for TVA's six coal-fired generating units, the state will help laid-off workers with a variety of services. They include applying for unemployment insurance, getting job referrals, preparing resumes and securing money for job retraining.