Top Headlines: Montgomery weighs occupational tax, Alabama’s trade war loss

City hearing on occupational tax as Houses passes bill to prevent it
The city of Montgomery is having a public hearing for an occupational tax Tuesday, despite the Alabama House of Representatives passing a bill that would prevent cities from implementing such a tax. The proposal to take away Alabama cities’ ability to pass an occupational tax without permission from the Legislature, House Bill 147, passed the house 73-27 Tuesday after nearly two hours of argument. – Montgomery Advertiser

Alabama among biggest losers in trade war with China
Exporters from most U.S. states experienced dismal sales to China last year as tariffs slammed products ranging from wheat and whiskey to ginseng and gas. Total U.S. merchandise exports to China fell 11% last year to about $107 billion, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department. Some of the nation’s largest exporters to the Asian country — Texas, Florida and Alabama — each saw sales plunge by more than 25%. – Bloomberg

Tim James on Shelby-Talladega toll bridge: ‘You can’t have growth without traffic’
A proposed toll bridge over Lay Lake that could spur economic development in central Alabama is drawing concerns from some residents and environmentalists. Some who live near the site on the Shelby-Talladega county line are worried about noise and traffic should the bridge be built, and the Alabama Rivers Alliance has raised questions about issues plus construction and the long-term impact of quality of life in the area. –

Governor Ivey selects group to examine expanded gambling plans
On February 14, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced that she had selected the study group that will investigate gambling expansion within the state. The group of 12 people will investigate to determine a gambling policy for the state and will provide a report by the end of this year drawing their conclusions about how expanding gambling, with lotteries and casinos, will affect Alabama. Of the 12 members, former Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange will lead the group. – CalvinAyre

Pier 1 reportedly closing 5 Alabama locations
Five Alabama Pier One locations are among some 450 stores that are closing, according to reports based on the company’s website. While the retailer hasn’t released an official list of stores slated for closure, Business Insider reported Pier 1 it had removed certain locations from its website. Five Alabama locations were among those taken off the website, including ones in Dothan, Mobile, Hoover, Tuscaloosa and Foley. –

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Residents concerned about possible pollution from quarry
Some residents are concerned about possible pollution as an Alabama company plans a quarry in the Opelika area. The Opelika-Auburn News reports that Florence-based Creekwood Resources recently submitted applications for air and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. The newspaper reports that one of the permits would enable the company to discharge certain pollutants into local waters. – AL NewsNet

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