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Top News Links: Friday, May 6

Sorting out winners, losers in legislative session

Here’s what passed and what didn’t during the regular session of the 2016 Alabama Legislature. Winners included teachers and other school workers, many of whom will get a 4 percent pay raise. Losers included the state’s poor, who may find medical care harder to get thanks to an $85 million Medicaid shortfall. – WHNT

Sessions waits in wings for Trump Washington visit

The Republican National Committee, trying to bring together various warring factions in its party, said it anticipates a meeting soon between presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan. One opportunity could come next week, when Trump may visit Washington, where his top backer on Capitol Hill, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, has been trying to get more lawmakers to endorse him. – Reuters/Daily Mail

Bentley: Special session on prisons, Medicaid possible

Gov. Robert Bentley expressed disappointment Thursday in the death of his $800 million prison construction proposal and floated the possibility of bringing it back in a special session. Speaking outside his office Thursday, Bentley said supporters ran out of time to win votes for changes that scaled the bill back in the hopes of improving its prospects. – Montgomery Advertiser

Broad Street in Gadsden gets national props

When a story came out naming Broad Street as the Alabama pick for a listing of “Main Streets Across America,” it was a very pleasant surprise for Downtown Gadsden Inc. Executive Director Kay Moore. National Life Group, a Vermont-based insurance company, published a listing of selected main streets — one from each state. – Gadsden Times

Economist magazine weighs in on our state’s shame

Oscar Wilde’s quip doesn’t cover it. For not one, nor two, but three of a state’s highest officials to be embroiled in separate scandals goes beyond misfortune and carelessness and begins to look like a trend. And, in a way, in their strange intersections the pile-up of controversies in Alabama do create a pattern. It has the rough shape of a Mexican stand-off. – The Economist

Jefferson County considers covering up slavery murals

The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday endorsed a recommendation from a special committee to put retractable shades over murals in the Birmingham courthouse that depict black people picking cotton and doing other manual labor against a backdrop of white people in more prominent positions. It's not yet clear when a vote will occur. – AP/Baytown Sun

Boeing reminds Shelby that it’s a major Alabama employer

One of Huntsville's largest employers is calling out U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R - Alabama) as leaders claim he is "stonewalling a very important piece of legislation" the company hopes to pass. Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T) Alabama leader Steve Swaine issued strong criticisms of Shelby's action to refuse a vote to appoint a White House-appointed Republican to fill an open seat on the Export-Import Bank board of directors. – WAAY

Bentley scandal puts attention on secret nonprofits

The Alabama political scandal that has cost the state’s governor his marriage and now threatens his job has thrust politicians’ growing use of often-secretly funded nonprofits into the spotlight. Gov. Robert Bentley’s former aides created the tax-exempt Alabama Council for Excellent Government last year to promote the governor’s agenda, but some of its funds went to pay the governor’s senior political adviser, exposed in recent weeks as his extramarital love interest. – USA Today

Cemetery owner can now sell funeral supplies without license

North Alabama cemetery owner Shelia Champion is celebrating a bill this week that will allow her to sell funeral supplies and merchandise to her customers. The Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm in Arlington, Va., said the revised law removes the requirement that only licensed funeral directors can sell caskets and burial shrouds. – AL.com

Alabama.gov updated on web for your viewing pleasure

The state of Alabama is proud to unveil the new redesign for its official website, Alabama.gov, and introduce its most user-friendly design yet. The award-winning website’s easy-to-use format provides visitors direct access to current news articles and featured material, as well as useful local, state and federal government information and convenient online services. – BusinessWire

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