Baker looks ahead to session

Published 10:11 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Insurance for coastal area residents could be a hot topic for legislators this winter, state Rep. Alan Baker said.
Baker, R-Brewton, represents Escambia and Baldwin counties in the state House of Representatives.
Many of his constituents have been coping with high insurance costs - or not being able to get insurance at all - in the wake of several bad hurricanes on the coast.
Some coverage isn't available below a certain geographic point, Baker said.
Next month, Baker will attend a symposium on the coast to talk about insurance costs and availability. He said he hopes that discussion will help the Legislature's efforts to alleviate the problems.
In addition to that issue, Baker said he expects the general fund and education budgets to be of top priority for legislators.
The economy has not been growing at as fast a pace as it has in recent years, so that could be a factor as lawmakers look to allocate funds this year, Baker said.
Local governments have so far not asked for any special bills for the upcoming session, but Baker said he will meet with all of the commissions and city councils to see if they need him to address anything.
Baker does not expect redistricting - a controversial topic - to be an issue in the legislative session this year. House speaker Seth Hammett, D-Andalusia, has already said he does not expect to allow the issue to come to the floor, Baker said.
The legislative session begins Feb. 5 in Montgomery.