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Top News Links: Friday, Dec. 28

Welcome back, estate taxes

If the federal government can't reach accord on finances, Alabama's estate tax — off the books since 2001 — would be back to haunt us. — al.com

Early retirement plan retired early

Gov. Bentley's plan to offer early retirement incentives to state workers — a plan that drew raised eyebrows from Retirement Systems chief David Bronner — has been withdrawn from legislative consideration by the governor. — al.com

Athens hospital wins state approval

Athens-Limestone Hospital has been granted a state certificate of need for a proposed 40-bed long-term, acute-care hospital, estimated to cost $9.2 million. — Athens News Courier

Insurers help establish online verification system

Insurers in Alabama have helped establish a database that allows law enforcement to verify online whether vehicles have required insurance coverage; new system takes effect Jan. 1. — Alfa PR

Toyota agrees to $1.1 billion settlement in acceleration cases

Toyota has agreed to pay $1.1 billion in settlement of claims arising from sudden unintended acceleration cases; wrongful death and injury cases are still pending, attorney says. — Auto Week; Beasley Allen

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