• 72°

Senate bills could mean changes

Alabama Senators will soon take up two bills that could mean some big changes for Pike County’s young drivers and unemployed.

After passing the House of Representatives this week, a bill that could expand jobless benefits for several and qualify Alabama for an extra $100 million in stimulus money will make its way to the Senate floor.

If the bill passes, unemployment compensation will expand to include workers who have been in the workforce a short time, those seeking part-time work, those in job training programs and workers who leave jobs because of domestic violence, reported the Associated Press.

He can’t speak for everyone, but Sen. Wendell Mitchell (D-Luverne), who represents Pike County in the Senate, said this is a bill he’s willing to back.

Some are concerned about what will happen when the federal money runs out.

“We’ll drop this when we don’t have the money,” Mitchell said. “When dealing with state finances, you can only fund what you have money for.”

Mitchell said without the bill, the state will not be able to accept these funds for unemployment.

Another bill soon to make its way to the Senate floor will put new limitations on 16-year-old drivers if approved.

If passed, 16-year-old drivers will only be able to travel with one other passenger besides family members and will be restricted to a curfew of 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.

Both bills have passed through Senate committees, but Mitchell said he isn’t sure whether he supports the driving bill yet.

In the Senate this week, Mitchell said several new crime prevention bills passed, including stronger penalties for sex offenders and making it a felony to elude a police officer.

Another bill to provide incentive to filmmakers in Alabama passed, and its one Mitchell said could bring big profits to the state.