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Top News Links: Tuesday, April 5

Judge OKs $18B in fines over BP oil spill

A federal judge has approved $18 billion in fines and compensation for BP PLC related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill six years ago. Final judgment was signed by Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans on Monday. The federal government and the administrations of five U.S. states filed complaints against the company, which ended 2015 with full year losses of $6.5 billion. – PVTech.org

Alabama among top states overbilling Medicare

According to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 21 states— including Alabama — are projected to have above average rates of overbilling Medicare for services. Louisiana topped the list with above average improper payment rates, overbilling in 19.4 percent of cases, for a total of $1.25 billion lost from the Medicare Trust Fund. – Corridor Messenger

Impeachment process could start today in Legislature

When the Alabama Legislature convenes Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers may begin their day by trying to kick out their governor. Audio recordings surfaced last month of a sexually explicit conversation between Gov. Robert Bentley and one of his aides, Rebekah Mason, originally from 2014. – CNN/KCCI

Gas tax hike back on agenda in Montgomery

Alabama lawmakers are looking to increase the state's gas tax "in an amount equal to the difference between the Border States Average Gasoline Tax and the Alabama Tax on Gasoline." Alabama Association of County Commissions Executive Director Sonny Brasfield says right now that's six cents and would cost the average driver $5 more per month. – WPMI

Getting Mardi Gras magic done, under budget

We all know that meeting a deadline can make or break a small business. However, when the pressure is on and the due date can’t be moved, how do you keep calm and still do your best work? MSNBC traveled to Mobile to follow two small companies that provide Mardi Gras magic on time and under budget. – MSNBC

The Habitat Company adds housing in Birmingham

Multifamily property developer and manager The Habitat Company has added more than 5,000 units to its national management portfolio, having secured assignments for a dozen rental communities in Alabama and Florida over the last six months. The additions are in seven communities comprising 3,600 units in Birmingham and five properties with almost 1,400 units in Tampa. – MultihousingNews.com

Owner of natural cemetery sues over state burial laws

The owner of a natural cemetery in Madison County is suing the state of Alabama over its requirement that only licensed funeral directors can sell caskets and burial shrouds. Shelia Champion, founder of The Good Earth Burial Ground in Hazel Green, filed a federal lawsuit today with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Champion is not allowed under state law to sell caskets, burial shrouds and urns to the public because she is not a state-licensed funeral director. – AL.com

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