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Arise legislative update: State health officer says Alabama will have 'a different Medicaid program in 2014'
Alabama's Medicaid program could begin to take on a new look as soon as next year, State Health Officer Don Williamson told the House's General Fund budget committee Wednesday. Williamson said Medicaid must move toward a payment structure that rewards health outcomes rather than the performance of services. This legislative update highlights the state health officer's discussion of Medicaid's structural and financial future in Alabama.
Arise legislative update: Alabama House panel approves drug tests for some TANF applicants
Alabama moved a step closer Wednesday to requiring drug tests for some low-income applicants for public benefits when a House committee approved a bill to mandate tests for certain TANF applicants. Another House committee considered but took no action on a bill to restore the full homestead exemption for all disabled Alabamians, regardless of income. This legislative update highlights the committee debate on those proposals.
Weak PSC oversight benefits Alabama Power at customers' expense, report finds
Alabama Power earns higher profits than most utilities nationwide while leaving customers paying more for their electricity than customers in all Southern states but Florida, according to a report released today by Arise Citizens' Policy Project.
"The outdated way Alabama sets electricity rates is hurting families and businesses," ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. "It's not just numbers on paper. When people are living paycheck to paycheck, having to spend so much of their income on electricity bills really hurts."
Arise legislative update: Advocates assemble at State House to support interest rate caps for payday, title loans
A large coalition gathered Thursday at the State House in Montgomery to urge legislators to pass legislation limiting high-interest lending in Alabama, notably payday and auto title loans. The Alliance for Responsible Lending in Alabama made its debut, and several presenters spoke eloquently on the harms of predatory lending. This legislative update highlights the various proposals to rein in payday and title loans in Alabama.
Arise legislative update: Committees OK military payday loan rate cap, TANF drug tests
Alabama would enforce a federal interest rate cap on payday loans to military families if a bill approved by a Senate committee Wednesday becomes law. Senate committees also signed off on a proposal to require drug tests for certain TANF applicants, a plan to sell bonds to buy K-12 career tech equipment, and a bill to increase the state income tax credit for rural doctors. This legislative update highlights committee action and debate on those measures.
Arise legislative update: Dark picture painted for Alabama courts, public safety agencies at General Fund hearings
Alabama’s court system will slash nearly 400 jobs next year without more General Fund (GF) support, judicial officials said Wednesday during GF budget hearings in Montgomery. Leaders of Alabama’s prisons and state troopers also detailed their strapped agencies’ struggles to meet growing needs amid years of flat or declining revenues. This legislative update highlights the budget needs of the state's judicial and public safety agencies.