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Register today for the 2015 Arise Policy Conference!
Join with hundreds of people working toward a better Alabama at the 2015 Arise Policy Conference on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, at Birmingham-Southern College! Learn about the policy challenges facing our state and how your advocacy can help make Alabama a stronger, healthier state for all.
The Arise conference, "Share the Vision: Creating a Path Forward," will feature speeches by Demos President Heather McGhee; State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson; and UAB's Dr. Michael Saag, a pioneering HIV researcher. We'll also offer a host of workshops examining how better public policies on health care, housing, transportation, tax reform and other issues can help ensure Alabama is a state where everyone has an opportunity to build a better life.
It'll be an exciting, energetic day, and we hope to see you there! Click here for more information and to register today! Please sign up by Jan. 30, 2015.
Arise Daily News Digest 1-26-2015
AL.COM - Federal judge puts same-sex marriage ruling on hold; unions will remain illegal for 14 days.
AL.COM - Alabama lawmaker wants independent reviews of police officer involved shootings.
AL.COM - Gay couple's lawyers: Alabama probate court judges 'like George Wallace at the schoolhouse door'.
AL.COM – Columnist Cameron Smith: You'll be surprised what you find on the search for the super double-secret fatherhood manual.
AL.COM – Columnist Charles Dean: Condoleezza Rice is a home-run hire for UA top job.
AL.COM - Germans came to build cars, but they got a lesson on Alabama.
AL.COM – Columnist Kyle Whitmire: Ten years after his fraud trial, Richard Scrushy tells the truth.
AL.COM - Oklahoma lawmaker's 'clergy only' policy for marriage licenses aimed at stopping same-sex unions.
DECATUR DAILY - The Decatur Daily: Educators face difficult, moving target.
(FLORENCE) TIMES DAILY - The Times Daily: What’s the plan?
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Alabama Drone Task Force’s recommendations limited.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - New school standards address many problems.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - House Republicans say EPA's coal ash rule would create confusion.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Contributors David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman: Judicial case has huge free speech implications.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Contributor Ron Schenck: Pro-lifers must address gun violence.
WASHINGTON POST - Broken by the bubble: In the Fairwood subdivision, dreams of black wealth were dashed by the housing crisis.
WASHINGTON POST - Obama administration to propose new wilderness protections in Arctic refuge — Alaska Republicans declare war.
WASHINGTON POST - The voices of Auschwitz: The 70th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious Nazi concentration camp could mark the last major commemoration for many Holocaust survivors.
WASHINGTON POST - The state of the unions: Membership is up, but density still drops.
NEW YORK TIMES - Unmanned Drones Could Play Key Roles in Food Supply
NEW YORK TIMES - More Fall Out as Middle Class Shrinks
New ACA enrollment figures are great news for Alabamians
ACPP policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in response to new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data showing that more than 126,000 Alabamians have selected or been re-enrolled in health coverage plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
"The latest ACA enrollment numbers are great news for Alabama on two counts. First, they show that most Alabamians who enrolled in Marketplace coverage last year are paying their premiums and keeping their health insurance. And second, they show that more than 30,000 additional Alabamians already have gotten covered this year, with another month left to enroll.
"Affordable coverage is available, and Alabamians are seizing the opportunity. We're eager to see even more progress as open enrollment for 2015 coverage continues through Feb. 15."
Study on Alabama’s tax system: The less you make, the bigger share you pay
Low- and middle-income Alabamians pay more than twice as much in taxes as a share of their income compared to the state's wealthiest residents, according to a study released Wednesday by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. The study, Who Pays?, analyzes tax systems in all 50 states.
Every state's tax system is regressive, meaning the lower one's income, the higher one's tax rate. Alabama's tax system is the nation's 12th most regressive, ITEP finds. The Alabamians who earn the least – less than $17,000 a year – pay 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes. By contrast, the top 1 percent of Alabama earners – those who make $392,000 or more – pay an average of just 3.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes.
"Alabama's upside-down taxes hold our state back and drive low-income families deeper into poverty," ACPP policy director Jim Carnes said. "Our leaders could help right the ship by repealing the state grocery tax and ending tax breaks that favor wealthy people who could easily afford to pay more. It would help modernize our state's tax system, and it would help Alabama raise enough money for crucial services like education and health care."
Medicaid RCOs will lead to a healthier Alabama
ACPP policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, in response to Gov. Robert Bentley's announcement of the Alabama Medicaid Agency's new regional care organization (RCO) plan:
"Today marks the beginning of a new era for health care in Alabama. By emphasizing preventive and primary care and giving communities a stronger role in health care decision-making, Medicaid’s RCO model is creating a new roadmap to a healthier Alabama and a more stable state budget.
"The governor's announcement highlights how vital Alabama Medicaid is to the health care system on which we all depend. We thank Gov. Robert Bentley, State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson and Acting Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar for their leadership in the state's Medicaid transformation. And we congratulate the six RCOs for successfully completing the first phase of this historic effort."
Alabama's strong participation in anti-hunger program is great news for 180K+ children
ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's release of data showing that more than 180,000 Alabama children – nearly one in four of the state's public school students – attend schools that are using the community eligibility option under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to serve free school meals to all of their students in 2014-15:
"No child should go hungry. No matter where they grow up or how little their families make, all children deserve the chance to succeed in the classroom and in life. Community eligibility is a huge step toward making that goal a reality.
"Nearly 350 Alabama schools are seizing this opportunity to help students learn and thrive. Our state's schools are participating at nearly twice the national rate, and we encourage even more schools to take part next year."