Busy day at Alabama Statehouse

It was a busy day at the Alabama Statehouse. Legislative committees have adopted redistricting plans. Several bills that passed the Senate could raise insurance costs.


Committees in the Alabama House and Senate have approved new congressional districts in Alabama and new districts for the state school board.

The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee and the Senate Government Affairs Committee approved identical reapportionment plans.

Members of the committee mostly agreed with the new districts, which leave current members of Alabama's congressional district and school board in their current districts.

But school board member Stephanie Bell issued a statement complaining that the redistricting plan makes unnecessary changes to school board districts.

She said Montgomery County was divided among three school board districts. The House committee defeated an amendment by Rep. Paul Beckman, R-Prattville, to redraw the plan in the Montgomery area.

The school board plan is to be up for a vote in the House Thursday.


The Alabama Senate has passed two bills that will require state employees and school workers who retire after Dec. 31 to pay more for their health insurance if they are not 65 and eligible for Medicare.

The bill covering state employees passed 19-13 Wednesday, and the bill covering education employees cleared 22-12 Tuesday. Both now go to the House.

The bills' sponsor, Republican Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston, said the state's cost is skyrocketing for insuring retirees who aren't eligible for Medicare, and the insurance coverage will be threatened if the state doesn't get help from retirees. The amount they would pay depends on their years of service and age.

Democratic Sen. Roger Bedford of Russellville said the bills break the benefits the state government had promised public employees.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)