Top Headlines: Controversial legislative session, New Southwest flights for Birmingham

Lawmakers dove into controversial waters this session
Alabama lawmakers ended a sometimes contentious and fast-paced legislative session Friday that included enacting a near-total ban on abortion and raising the state gasoline tax to fund road and bridge construction. Fresh off the 2018 elections, lawmakers did not shy from controversial issues in their first meeting of the four-year term. – AP

Jabo Waggoner says the session was a ‘gut check’ exercise
Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, has been an Alabama lawmaker since 1966. “I’ve been through more sessions than anybody here, and this is one of the toughest sessions ever,” Waggoner said Friday evening as legislators ended the annual law-making stint that began March 5. “I mean, we’re talking lottery, gasoline tax, medical marijuana, abortion. “It has been a gut check this year, it really has, as far as tough, impactful votes. But as far as high profile issues, this session probably ranks No. 1 in my career.” – Alabama Daily News

Southwest to offer non-stop flights from Birmingham to Fort Lauderdale
Southwest Airlines this fall will begin offering weekly non-stop flights between Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport and Fort Lauderdale. Southwest Airlines spokesman Dan Landson said the flights will be available on Sundays beginning Nov. 3. and will run through Jan. 5, 2020. Flights are currently on sale at –

Why Mexico is important to Alabama’s growing automotive industry
Building a car in the United States, and buying one, could get a lot more expensive. Every American auto factory depends on Mexican parts to build its cars or trucks. That’s why President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Mexican imports of up to 25% by October is rattling the US auto industry. The tariffs could raise costs in the United States by tens of billions of dollars in the auto industry alone. Car buyers would probably pay the cost of those tariffs. – CNN

Alabama delegation in Montreal for trade conference
A delegation of state officials and representatives of several Alabama companies are in Montreal this week for a conference of Southeastern states with Canadian business and trade partners. The 12th edition of the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance Conference is taking place through Tuesday. Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield is leading the delegation, which includes representatives of Auburn avionics firm Archangel Systems, Mobile shipping logistics company Page & Jones Inc., and Birmingham’s Regions Bank. –

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Alabama Power fee a cloudy aspect of your solar power plan
In Alabama’s Blount County, off the highway, down a dirt road and up a hill is writer T.K. Thorne’s house. She points to her roof and a shining row of black solar panels. It’s a 4-kilowatt system — pretty typical for residential solar — and Thorne got it almost four years ago hoping to help the environment and reduce her electricity bill. It was a big investment — $8,400 even after a federal tax break. Thorne estimated how long it would take to pay off the solar system, but then she found out about a monthly $5-per-kilowatt solar fee from Alabama Power. – NPR

Mobile Pulley Works to equip CSD General MacArthur
MPW Owner Billy Prine said that the contract includes the design, construction, delivery and installation of the complete dredging equipment package for a new powerful cutter suction dredger which, when completed, will be one of their newest major assets within its dredging fleet. This new CSD, which will carry the name “General MacArthur”, will have a total installed power of 24,000 HP (approx. 18,000 kW) and the diameter of its discharge pipe will be 31.5 inch. – Dredging Today

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