Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says lawmakers encroached on the powers of the executive branch with budget bill language dictating how state agencies should spend money.

The governor is asking the Alabama Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of budget language giving state agencies limitations as they deal with funding reductions.

Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange is asking the state Ethics Commission to reconsider an opinion that he says may undermine the state ethics law.

Strange sent a letter earlier this month asking commissioners to revisit advice they gave to state representative Patricia Todd. The commission told Todd she could advocate and vote on bills backed by her employer, an organization that works on gay and lesbian issues. The opinion says that’s OK, as long as the votes were on issues and not a financial benefit to her employer.


The subject of cyber security is taking center stage in Huntsville today. The University of Alabama at Huntsville is hosting a cyber security summit to raise awareness on different types of cyber threats. Joyce Vance is the United States district attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. She says it is important for people to report cyber threats or attacks they come in contact with.

The Tennessee Riverkeeper has announced its intention to sue several entities including chemical manufacturer 3M over pollution in the Wheeler Reservoir.

The riverkeeper plans to sue 3M as well as BFI Waste Systems of Alabama, Decatur Utilities and the City of Decatur. They allege those groups are responsible for contaminating the waterway with perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs. PFCs tend to accumulate in the bodies of humans and animals, and exposure has been linked to diseases like cancer, thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis.

It’s one week to go before Alabama’s new state budget goes into effect. APR’s Pat Duggins reports, big cuts might be coming despite tax increases…

Alabama lawmakers cobbled together a spending and taxation package of about one hundred and sixty six million dollars. That’s short of the two hundred million dollar budgetary shortfall Governor Robert Bentley was predicting during the budget debate.

Over 1200 high school students will be watching the Alabama Supreme Court firsthand today.

The state’s highest court will hear cases in Huntsville as part of an effort to take the justices on the road.

Mary Ena Heath is a Huntsville attorney and professor who helped coordinate the visit. She says many people are uninformed about how the Supreme Court does its job, so this is a good opportunity to see the court at work.

More than $500,000 in U.S. Department of Labor grants are being awarded to job-finding programs for Alabamians who have been laid off.

Gov. Robert Bentley says more than $196,800 will be used to support a mobile career center operated by the Alabama Department of Labor.

Planned Parenthood
Getty Images

Planned Parenthood is taking the state of Alabama to court after Governor Robert Bentley halted Medicaid payments to the organization's clinics in Alabama.

A federal judge will hold a hearing later this morning on Planned Parenthood Southeast's request for a preliminary injunction. Last month, Governor Bentley announced that he planned to terminate agreements allowing Planned Parenthood to be paid for providing services to Medicaid patients.

A new emergency air ambulance service will soon begin providing medical transportation in Dothan and its surrounding areas.

A formal announcement and aircraft display will be held Wednesday for Wiregrass Life Flight.

The ambulance helicopter will be based in Dothan. It will be able to respond to emergencies as far as 300 miles away.  However it will be primarily responsible for providing service to southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia and north Florida.

Oasis Tabernacle Church
Alaina Denean Deshazo / Selma Times-Journal / AP

Selma police have arrested a man after three people were shot in Selma’s Oasis Tabernacle Church yesterday.

26 year old James Junior Minter is being held without bond in the Dallas County Jail. He’s accused of shooting his former girlfriend, their 1-month-old son, and the church pastor during services yesterday. Authorities believe Minter was most likely upset about a recent breakup and visitation issues with his son.

The 24-year-old woman and her 1-month-old baby were both rushed to Birmingham for medical treatment. Both are currently in stable condition.

Carli Lloyd had her second straight three-goal game to lead the United States to an 8-0 victory over Haiti. Lloyd scored all three goals in the first half for her fifth hat trick and second in three days, then sat out the second half. She also did it Thursday night in the first game against Haiti, which substituted for the Australian team mired in a labor dispute. She has sixteen goals this year, one more than her previous high set in 2012 and matched in 2014.

Fans of both the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers went home empty handed. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly completed a deflected sixty six yard touchdown pass to help the Rebels beat the Bama 43-37 on Saturday night. Ole Miss left the topsy-turvy game with their first victory in Bryant-Denny Stadium since 1988. The Rebels made two final defensive stands, the first when Tony Bridges intercepted a deep ball from Jake Coker, who came off the bench to lead a second-half comeback.

christopdesoto [Flickr]

Can you spot the pets in this house?  Without help, neither can a firefighter.  Knowing where to look and how many animals to find makes it more likely firefighters can rescue pets from a house fire.


The Alabama Supreme Court says it does not have to recognize a lesbian woman's adoptions of her ex-partner's children that were granted in Georgia. Alabama justices say a Georgia court was wrong to allow the adoptions, arguing that Georgia law doesn't allow such second-parent adoptions. The woman in 2007 adopted the three children that her female partner gave birth to during their sixteen year relationship. The justices overturned an Alabama family court decision that recognized the adoption and granted visitation rights after the couple broke up in 2011.

Alabama's unemployment rate is looking a little rosier compared to the same time last year. The latest numbers of six point two percent are slightly higher than the six point five percent we had at the time last year. However, the August jobless rate is unchanged from unchanged from July’s numbers. Alabama’s unemployment numbers are still well above the U.S. unemployment rate of just over five percent. Wage and salary employment increased only slightly in August by 900 jobs. Unemployment is lowest in Shelby County at four point seven percent. Wilcox County is worst at sixteen percent.

The state of Alabama has a general fund budget in place for the new fiscal year beginning in less than two weeks.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed the state's general fund budget yesterday morning. He says the spending plan isn’t perfect, but it is a step in the right direction for the state.

Lawmakers passed a $1.7 billion budget on Wednesday after months of negotiations over a substantial budget shortfall. Legislators approved a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase and a transfer of $80 million in education funds to minimize cuts to state services.

With the Alabama Crimson Tide gearing up for Saturday's SEC season opener against Ole Miss, APR's Pat Duggins takes you "behind the scenes" at the press box of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Radio, television, and print reporters, as well as students studying journalism, all crowd the press box to cover the Tide, including the team's first home game of 2015 against Middle Tennessee.

Governor signs General Fund Budget, Bayfest update

Sep 17, 2015
Alabama Governor's Office

Alabama has a general fund budget.

Governor Robert Bentley signed the budget in to law today.

The governor says the spending plan was not perfect but was a step in the right direction.

Lawmakers passed a $1.7 billion operating budget yesterday after months of negotiations over a budget shortfall. Legislators approved a 25-cent-per pack cigarette tax and a transfer of education funds to minimize cuts to state services.

The Alabama Legislature has approved a general fund budget and wrapped up their second special session.

Lawmakers gave final approval to a spending plan that will avoid cuts to critical state agencies such as Medicaid, prisons and mental health. Other state agencies will see cuts of around 5.5%. Gov. Robert Bentley says he expects to sign the budget into law after reviewing it this morning. He praised lawmakers for their hard work.

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / AP

A court date has been set for a Madison police officer accused of slamming an Indian man to the ground.

Limestone County District Court records say a status conference in the assault case of 27-year-old Eric Parker is set for December 9th, as federal prosecutors plan a retrial on a civil rights charge.

Authorities say Parker slammed 58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel to the ground February 6th. During the federal trial in Huntsville, Parker said Patel defied orders and resisted during a suspicious person investigation.

Stan Ingold

All year long on Alabama Public Radio, we’ve been looking at water. Specifically, the condition of Alabama’s water supply and the health of our rivers. Rain is usually considered a blessing. It makes your yard green and it helps crops grow. Too much of a good thing however, can cause flooding. Either way the water has to go somewhere.


Shelby County sits in the geographic center of Alabama.  It has been the fastest growing county in the state for the past four decades.  Shelby County has become a Mecca for suburbanites in the Hoover/Birmingham metropolitan area.

Shelby County has not always been a suburban enclave of Jefferson County.  While Governor Robert Bentley was growing up it was a rural county much like most of the counties in the state.  Shelby County was part of a four county center that was known as the home of the original Republicans in the state.

Wilson Lock
Dailynetworks / Wikimedia

Alabama lawmakers are getting closer to a budget agreement after lots of activity in both chambers yesterday.

The Alabama Senate made a few revisions to the 25 cent per pack cigarette tax increase proposal before passing it 21-13. The House voted 52-42 to accept those changes.

Lawmakers also struck a compromise on transferring money from the education budget to the general fund. The House had approved a $50 million transfer, while senators wanted to transfer twice that. A conference committee approved a measure that will shift $80 million between the two budgets.


Alabama lawmakers are considering legislation to take the state out of the marriage business in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday voted for a bill to do away with state-issued marriage licenses. Instead, couples would bring in a signed marriage contract and file it with the probate office.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama Senators will continue budget talks today after a late-night meeting yesterday failed to end in agreement.

A conference committee will meet again this morning to keep discussing a proposal to shift education funds to the cash-strapped general fund budget.

The committee met for over an hour last night but couldn’t reach an agreement. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh described the talks as productive, but fragile.

Senators want to shift $100 million from education funds. House members voted to move half of that.

Smithsonian Magazine

It was on this date back in 1963, when four black girls were killed when a bomb went off during Sunday services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Three Ku Klux Klansmen were eventually convicted for their roles in the blast. Ceremonies in Birmingham remembered the victims of the attack. Click here to listen to some of Alabama Public Radio's international award winning coverage of the civil rights movement...

Media outlets are asking a judge in Tuscaloosa to unseal the divorce case of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and first lady Dianne Bentley.

A motion filed today by a group of Alabama television stations and newspapers says the case was sealed last month following a hurried hearing held without notice to the public.

The motion says the divorce is newsworthy and a fair subject for reporting by the media. It says allowing the case to remain closed promotes the spread of rumors.

Indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard has given a litany of complaints about his case in a recently unsealed document.

Hubbard says the state’s ethics law is unconstitutionally vague, did not apply to him as Republican party chairman and that he had a free speech right to lobby for his clients.

Late last week, a judge unsealed Hubbard's motion to dismiss his ethics case on the grounds that the ethics law is unconstitutional.


 Alabama is updating its science standards to require that students understand evolution and learn about climate change.

Educators say the new rules don't require that students in the Bible Belt state believe in evolution or accept the idea that climate is changing globally.

However, students will be required to understand the theory of evolution starting next year. Teachers will address climate change, which wasn't a focus in the state's previous, decade-old standards.

The state school board approved the new standards unanimously late last week.


Dr. Don Williamson is stepping down next month to take a job as president of the Alabama Hospital Association.

For more than two decades, Williamson has served as Alabama's state health officer.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Williamson said he's proud of the work the state has done to establish a statewide trauma system and to provide health insurance to children. The state's ALL Kids program provides subsidized insurance to more than 80,000 children and has won Alabama praise for reducing rates of un-insurance for children.