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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • Federal Judge bans three men from National Forest
  • Legislature set to begin regular session Tuesday
  • Daylight Savings time begins this Sunday


Federal Judge bans three men from National Forest 

Three East Alabama men have been banned from the Talladega National Forest for the next two years.  Robert Pittard, Rodney Greenwood of Anniston and Terry Baily of Woodland were banned from the Talladega National Forest Friday, after pleading guilty in Federal Court to committing lewd acts in a public place.

The men were seen by Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers conducting themselves in a lewd manner in the parking lot at Morgan Lake.   



Legislature set to begin regular session Tuesday 

Gov. Bob Riley seeks to reduce the influence of special interests in the 2007 regular legislative session that begins at noon Tuesday, Riley's fifth session of his tenure on Goat Hill.  Issues in the upcoming session will include passage of the state's education and general government budgets for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1; prison funding, especially a new women's prison; attempts to limit property appraisals to once every four years and annual ad valorem tax increases to no more than 3 percent; removing the state sales tax on food; 7 percent state teacher and state employee pay raises; and a major school construction bond issue. The regular session can last no more than 105 calendar days, so the session's potential last day is June 18. During the session, the 105 House members and 35 senators could introduce as many as 1,500 bills, including hundreds of local ones. Most will fail. One House seat is vacant, but it will be filled by special election on Tuesday. Democrats could attempt to redraw legislative and congressional district lines to preserve their hold on the Legislature, the last bastion of non-local control Democrats have in Alabama.  Senate Democrats in January wrote new rules to make it easier to redraw legislative and congressional lines last drawn in 2002.
 Riley's proposed ethics legislation includes banning the transfer of campaign contributions through numerous political action committees, disguising the source.  Legislation to ban PAC transfers and to require even non-profit groups such as the Christian Coalition to reveal their funding if they get involved in political issues will travel together.
Riley may have the support of some powerful lobbyists.
Paul Hubbert of the Alabama Education Association and contract lobbyists Joe Fine and Bob Geddie, whether by design or by accident, want to change the system by not allowing their political action committees to be used to disguise the source of campaign money.
 The AEA's PAC spent more than $8 million on political races last year while Fine and Geddie PACs distributed about $4.5 million.
Riley said he wants legislators, public officials and lobbyists to be accountable, so he decided to push reform in the session. 


Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday

Springing forward for daylight-saving time arrives this Sunday March 11, three weeks earlier than usual this year, affecting daily routines, computers and play time.

The return to standard time, falling back an hour, will be a week later than in past years, arriving Nov. 4. The driving force toward expanding daylight-saving time by four weeks this year is energy savings. The energy bill of 2005, which was signed by President Bush, amended the Uniform Time Act, making daylight-saving time start on the second Sunday of March and end the first Sunday in November.

Nine months after it takes effect, the U.S. secretary of energy is supposed to report to Congress on the impact of the time change on energy consumption.

When it's brighter in the evening, people turn fewer lights on, using less power.

Daylight-saving time formerly lasted from the first Sunday of April until the last Sunday of October. Congress in 2005 voted to expand it, effective in 2007.

The time change has caused a boomlet in worries, likened to the Y2K worries seven years ago, that older computers would freak out when time stamps changed from 1999 to 2000. If users can't wait three weeks to see the correct time, computer program designers have downloadable fixes. The enforcer of the nation's time is the U.S. Department of Transportation. A transportation spokesman said daylight-saving time covers most the United States except for Hawaii, Arizona, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The United States Naval Observatory, the nation's time keeper, doesn't expect much hullabaloo at 2 a.m. March 11, when the push is made. The observatory and its astronomers run on universal time, which is the standard for scientists.

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