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February 17, 2012 Group Watch

The Alabama Legislature returned to work on Tuesday for the fourth meeting day of the 2012 session and embarked on a busy week. Here’s a day-by-day look at the news you need to know.

Tuesday: The House approved the “Heroes for Hire” legislation that provides tax incentives to companies that hire military veterans.  The Senate passed four bills: a bill that allows companies that invest $100 million or more to come to or expand in Alabama and hire at least 100 workers to hold onto an existing tax credit for up to four years; a bill to allow private companies to have prisoners perform limited labor in the state, so long as no private sector jobs are lost; a bill to create a statewide database of requests for bids or proposals for public contracts by all governing bodies, except counties; a bill to authorize the United Ways of Alabama and its members to participate in the state health insurance program.

Wednesday: During this committee meeting day, The House Health Committee discussed but did not vote on a bill to require youth athletes to be held out of practice and competition for seven days after suffering a head injury. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved bills to ban texting and driving, to stiffen the penalties for cockfighting, to require demonstrators to be no closer than 1,000 feet of a funeral and to require sex offenders to register e-mail addresses and social networking sites to which they belong.

Thursday: The House completed work and passed a bill that if passed by the Senate and ultimately the voters will let certain businesses use income tax withholdings from employees for expansion or new construction. The measure is opposed by the Alabama Education Association. The Senate passed bills to allow legal notices be posted both online and in local newspapers, permit local law enforcement from municipalities with fewer than 19,000 residents to enforce the speed limit on interstate highways, and to require Alabama drivers to move one lane to the left if a utility vehicle is stopped while making repairs or doing official business.

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