Top Headlines: Austal ship funding in question, New medical marijuana bill

Money for Austal ship could be diverted to border wall
The Pentagon appears to be primed to yank funding for a future Austal USA ship and redirect the money to construction of the southern border wall championed by President Donald Trump. Alabama Sen. Doug Jones confirmed a report published Thursday by news site Politico, saying the Pentagon plans to slash $3.8 billion allocated for fighter jets and ships to meet an administration command to pay more border wall costs. – 

Here’s the dope on the new medical marijuana bill
A bill to legalize medical cannabis in Alabama has been introduced in the state legislature following a study commission’s discussions on the best approach to a legislative proposal. Alabama Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence) is sponsoring Senate Bill 165, titled “The Compassion Act,” and the legislation is scheduled for a Feb. 19 hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to a local CBS 42 report. – Cannabis Business Times

3M says it will help communities contaminated by its chemicals
After years of chemical contamination concerns in North Alabama, 3M appears to be changing its approach on the cleanup of its chemicals.  PFAS chemicals — produced at 3M’s Decatur plant for decades — have been found at high levels in the Tennessee River and in the ground in Morgan and Lawrence counties.  The company is currently dealing with a slew of legal issues related to PFAS chemical contamination. – WHNT

Grocery tax repeal bills surface in the State House
Renewed efforts to eliminate the state’s sales tax on groceries has been gaining support in the Alabama Legislature, but some are still concerned about how to replace the loss of revenue, nearly $500 million a year, in the Education Trust Fund. So far, there are several grocery tax-ending proposals in the State House. A constitutional amendment from Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Gadsden, would eliminate the state sales tax on groceries and offset that loss with a cap on Alabamians’ federal income tax deductions on state income taxes. – WBRC

High-ranking research programs power UAH aerospace
Aerospace engineering researchers at The University of Alabama in Huntsville are modeling how a future U.S. spacecraft might be engineered for nuclear propulsion. They are also studying how reliable rocket engine components can be printed using advanced manufacturing techniques. These two projects illustrate why UAH consistently ranks among the nation’s top programs for federally financed aerospace research. – Made In Alabama

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Alabama Workforce Council reports it’s doing a good job
The Alabama Workforce Council recently delivered its Annual Report to Gov. Kay Ivey and members of the legislature. The report highlights the many and varied workforce successes from 2019. It also outlines policy recommendations to further solidify Alabama as a leader in workforce development and push the state closer to Ivey’s goal of adding 500,000 credentialed workers to the state’s workforce by 2025. – AL Political Reporter

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