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Top News Links: Monday, Jan. 5

What will become of Legion Field?

The ghostly imprint of UAB's final game at Legion Field still sat at midfield on the Tuesday before the Birmingham Bowl. Workers remaking the end zones and yard lines hadn't yet reached the faint outline of Blaze the Dragon, which would soon be stamped out by the bowl game's midfield logo. – AL.com

Prison task force ponders all options

The head of a prison task force said sentencing changes, increased resources for parole and alternative sentences and construction projects to take the immediate pressure off overcrowded prisons will likely be among the items the group recommends to lawmakers. – AP/Tuscaloosa News

Bentley: Don’t expect a property tax hike

Gov. Robert Bentley says the revenue-raising package he plans to present early in his second term will likely cause him to pay more taxes. Bentley isn't saying what will be in the package he will ask the Legislature to pass. But he's definite that it won't include property tax increases. – AP/Decatur Daily

Epic adds staff in Birmingham

Epic Insurance Brokers and Consultants, a retail property and casualty insurance brokerage and employee benefits consultant, announced today that Aimee Sapp, Kelly Chapple, Heather Perdue and Mark McInnis have all joined Crawford McInnis, Brian Tanner, Wilson Long and Andy D'Entremont as part of EPIC's Birmingham-based National Energy Construction Practice. – News release

RegionalCare hopes for successful appeal

Sometime this year, RegionalCare Hospital Partners expects another affirmative ruling in its bid to build a new hospital in Florence that for now is just three years worth of paper. The next ruling will come from the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, answering a second appeal by Helen Keller Hospital accusing the Alabama Certificate of Need Review Board of acting outside its authority when it granted permission for a 280-bed hospital to replace Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence in 2013. TimesDaily

Accountability Act donations down by half

Tax deductible donations supporting the Alabama Accountability Act have decreased by more than half since 2013. While the scholarship program, which gives families tax credits for moving their children from failing public schools to successful public or private schools, is still in place, it was ruled unconstitutional in May by a judge and is currently the focus of an appeals case. – Education Dive

Beason not going away, it seems

For the first time in a decade and a half, Scott Beason, the longtime state legislator from the north Birmingham suburb of Gardendale, isn’t serving in public office. First elected to the Alabama Legislature at the age of 29, Beason served two terms in the House and two more in the Senate. He also ran for U.S. Congress twice, including in 2014 when he decided to leave the State House for good. – Yellowhammer

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