August 22, 2011
Roger H. Bedford, Jr.

It is hard to believe school has already started and high school football is kicking off a new season. This past week I had the privilege to talk with the teachers and support personnel that work in our various school systems. I enjoyed visiting Winfield City Schools, Haleyville City Schools and Marion County schools Teacher In-Service with House Rep. Mike Millican , and also House Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow at the Franklin County Teacher In-Service and then the Russellville City School Teacher In-Service.

Our teachers and support personnel do a fine job preparing our children for the jobs of the 21st century. I am glad to support them in Montgomery especially during the unfounded attacks that theyíve had leveled against them by new GOP majority. Seems as though teachers and state employees have had a bulls yes on their backs since the new majority took over and that is wrong.

I recently had the opportunity to travel over to South Carolina to see a one of itís kind research lab. This lab which was funded in part with governmental grants and support from insurance industries around North America is designed to study structural damage to homes and business as well as test out standards which are set in the industry from everything to shingles to floor joints. The Institute for Business and Home Safety, IBHS, research center is a unique, state of the art, multi risk applied research and training facility on a ninety acre parcel of land in Richburg, South Carolina. This facility is designed specifically to advance buildings sites by enabling researchers to more fully and accurately evaluate various residential and commercial construction materials and systems. The goal of the mission was to education legislative leaders, insurance commissioners, home builders and retailers on the methods which will improve the durability and the security of homes and businesses during storms, but more importantly to maintain the safety of our families.

The huge facility has over 100 turbines which direct wind and water onto homes which have been both reenforced and unreinforced to test their survivability in strong winds and rain. They also have a mechanism duplicating fire though we did not see that test on our visit. We did see some videos of that research. After the tornados that have struck our area and hurricanes which hit the coast we are seeking ways to help home owners and businesses have more structural sound buildings which will in turn lower their insurance rates putting money in their pockets and also making it safer for the survivability of families and employees during storms. You may rest assured that I will continue to work to see that not only do we rebuild in our senate district but also through out the state of Alabama in a safer and more cost effective manner. I am proud of the progress which we are making though out or senate district and in the state of Alabama. Iím grateful for all the volunteers, friends, neighbors and strangers that have pitched in to help us get this job done.

All of us continue to rejoice about Wrangler building back in Hackleburg and adding an additional fifty jobs.

From the moment the storms passed over, recovery has been a team effort. Over the past few months tremendous effort has been made. FEMA released a fact sheet on August 5th, regarding the progresses which have been established 100 days following the disasters. Iíd like to share with you some of these facts:

*88,000 individuals and households registered for federal assistance.

*So far, $149 million in grants and loans has been provided to individuals, households and businesses.

*9.2 Million Cubic Yards of debris has been removed, 92 percent of the estimated total.

*More than 8,000 households have received rental assistance.

*Inspectors have examined more than 49,000 structures.

*Through a $2 million federal grant, $13,000 people have received free crisis counseling through the Alabama Department of Mental Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

*More than 1,200 Alabamians, including state and local officials, were provided information on safe rooms and stronger construction though the Safer Alabama Summit and the Alabama League of Municipalities Expo.

* To date, more than $50 million has been set aside to help communities pay for damaged roads, bridges, public buildings, utilities, water control facilities, recreational facilities, debris removal and protective measures.

*Within 72 hours of the April 28 presidential disaster declaration, FEMA disbursed more than $400,000 to help disaster-affected Alabamians pay for temporary housing assistance, uninsured personal property losses, disaster-related medical, dental and funeral expenses and other serious needs.

*The first temporary housing unit was installed May 11, less than two weeks after the declaration. As of today, more than 300 families who lost their homes in the tornadoes have been provided with a temporary manufactured home.

*More than $33 million was set aside in unprecedented up-front federal funding to help local municipalities save lives and protect property in the future.

*Almost 120,000 volunteers registered at volunteer reception centers though out the state. This workforce provided more than 152,000 volunteer hours.

As you can see the state and FEMA have put forth great effort in the relief efforts for the Alabamians that were affected by the tornado and weather related disasters on April 27th. Although there remains progress to be done, we are on the right path to recovery and rebuilding.

The Board of Directors of the Alabama Society of CPAs recently announced Boyd Landry as the ASCPA Public Affairs Director. Boyd has twenty years of state legislative experience, primarily in Louisiana and Alabama. He has served as Executive Director of The Coalition for Natural Health, Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for leading the Coalitionís advocacy efforts nationwide. Boyd has lobbied on at least one occasion in over 40 states, but in some states for many years. He brings to ASCPA great campaign experience and a abundant history of successful lobbing. I am very excited about Boyd being hired for this position, he will do a great job expanding the relationships between Alabamaís elected officials and the ASCPA.

It was a great pleasure to attend The National Center for Sports Safety ten year anniversary dinner this past Sunday. The NCSS was founded to promote the importance of injury prevention and safety on all levels of youth sports though education and research. The NCSS focuses on decreasing the number and\or severity of injuries through developing and teaching sports safety courses and collecting, analyzing and researching injury data. I am very proud to serve on the Board of Directors of the NCSS. I am very proud of the hard work Dr. Lemak and the center are doing to protect our youth that are involved in sports activities.

As always it is good to see and hear from the fine people in our Senate District . Thank you all so much for the cards, letters and phone calls. If I can ever be of any assistance to you please contact me at the following:

Alabama State House

11 S. Union Street, Suite 730

Montgomery, Alabama 36130

Phone 334-242-7862 , Fax 334-424-4736

Russellville Office

P.O Box 370

Russellville, Alabama 35653

Phone 256-332-6966 Fax 256-332-6967