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Enjoying the season known as March Madness

By Zack Steele I thought I would take a break this week from the usual eye and heath care column to talk about something else I really enjoy. You may not know this, but I’m a basketball junkie. My father and grandfather were high school and college basketball coaches, so it’s in my blood. And as you could probably imagine, it’s my time of year. March Madness is like Christmas to me. There are so many exciti ...

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Inside the Statehouse: How Alabama ranks in child health care, taxes

By Steve Flowers Alabama may be in the lower tier of the country in some categories but not when it comes to providing health insurance for children. In that one category we excel. Brian Lyman with the Montgomery Advertiser provided an excellent study revealing that Alabama leads the South in taking care of its young people when it comes to giving them health coverage. A recent Georgetown University study s ...

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Inside the Statehouse: The importance of Florida in 2016 presidential election

By Steve Flowers The Common Core education topic is not only a hot political issue in Alabama, it has become a political football nationwide, and it appears to be a hot potato in the looming 2016 GOP presidential contest. As soon as Jeb Bush announced that he would “actively explore” a 2016 presidential bid, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, also a potential candidate and Tea Party Libertarian, said, “We need leader ...

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Know your rights, but file with care

By David Guttery In June 2014, as part of its ongoing effort to improve communication and service, the Internal Revenue Service issued a formal Taxpayer Bill of Rights. These rights aren’t new, but they were scattered throughout the tax code, and surveys have found that most taxpayers didn’t even know they had rights when dealing with the IRS. Although you might be more comfortable understanding your rights ...

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2015 legislative session is under way

By Danny Garrett The 2015 session of the Alabama Legislature convened March 3. A few bills had been pre-filed prior to the opening of the session and several other bills were introduced. The first bill I introduced as your representative -- HB97 -- would provide teachers in grades K-12 with the opportunity to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses they incur to purchase supplies and materials for their cl ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Will Common Core be high-profile issue this session?

By Steve Flowers The first regular legislative session of the quadrennium has begun. Legislators have arrived in Montgomery for their three-and-a-half-month session and they will face a myriad of problems and issues. The general fund budget has been in the doldrums for several years. The chickens have to come home to roost. There is a crisis looming in the prisons. The continuing escalating cost of Medicaid ...

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Inside the Statehouse: What was Gov. Bentley likely to introduce to legislature?

By Steve Flowers The first legislative session of the quadrennium convened this week. It’s no secret that the state is broke. Fiscal problems left over from the Bob Riley administration that were swept under the rug for four years are finally front and center. The chickens have come home to roost, so to speak. The general fund was projected to be more than $260 million short of the amount needed to maintain ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Legislature has big hole to dig out of

By Steve Flowers The legislature and Gov. Robert Bentley are preparing for the first regular session of the quadrennium. The session will begin March 3. Legislators need to arrive in Montgomery with their lunch pails and sleeves rolled up ready to go to work because the proverbial chickens have come home to roost. They are facing a gargantuan budget crisis in the state general fund. They can’t spend this fo ...

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Is strong dollar good for US economy?

By David Guttery Recently, the U.S. dollar reached an 11-year high in its value against the euro. It would seem that a strong dollar is good for the U.S. economy. However, the outlook is more complex than it may appear. As a consumer and investor, you might take a moment to consider the causes and potential effects of the rising dollar. Weakness overseas Fundamentally, the dollar is rising because the U.S. ...

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Inside the Statehouse: Federal intervention into state prisons not Alabama’s first rodeo

By Steve Flowers As the legislature and governor prepare for the upcoming initial legislative session of the quadrennium, they are facing ominous and obvious problems. The general fund is in dire straits, primarily due to the escalating costs of Medicaid and prisons. The problems in the prison system may be even more acute than with Medicaid. The reason is that our prison population is well in excess of wha ...

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