Alabama's prison system is getting dozens of new officers, but officials say it's still badly understaffed.
The Department of Corrections is holding a graduation ceremony in Selma on Thursday for 70 new correctional officers. It's the first of three corrections classes planned for this year at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center.
But department spokesman Brian Corbett says the agency loses more than 20 officers a month through attrition, so the new officers only make up for three months of normal turnover.
UAB President Ray L. Watts, center, announced an admissions partnership with four Alabama community colleges that will allow those that earn associate's degrees at those four colleges to be automatically admitted to UAB
The University of Alabama Birmingham has launched a partnership with four community colleges allowing students who earn an associate's degree automatic admission to UAB and a $2,000 per year scholarship.
AL.com reports (http://bit.ly/16ijqVT ) UAB President Ray Watts announced the partnership Wednesday with leaders from Gadsden State, Jefferson State, Lawson State and Wallace State-Hanceville.
Republican lawmakers are pushing a plan that would move up the voter registration deadline before each election.
Current law allows registration until 10 days before an election. A Republican bill would change the deadline to 17 days. The measure passed a Senate committee Wednesday on a party line vote. It now goes to the full Senate.
Republicans say local registrars need more time to prepare accurate voting lists for poll workers to use on election day. Democrats say the move will make it harder for people to vote.
Officials in Tuscaloosa City Schools are considering a policy to randomly test students for drugs.
Mike Daria, assistant superintendent of general administration, told the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education on Tuesday that he and several other administrators have been in talks with high school principals about creating a random drug testing policy for students in middle and high school.
The Tuscaloosa News reports (http://bit.ly/YF22Io) that creation of the policy is in its early stages.
The Alabama Senate worked late Tuesday night to approve an education budget and a 2 percent pay raise for K-12 employees.
The Senate voted 22-11 for a nearly $5.8 billion budget that would increase spending slightly on schools next year. Then it voted 18-16 to give teachers a 2 percent raise. Both the budget and the pay raise bill must return to the House for review on Thursday.
The raise would be the first for K-12 employees since October 2007. It would take effect when the new budget begins on Oct. 1.
The Alabama Legislature has voted to legalize home brewing.
The Senate voted 18-7 Tuesday night for a home brewing bill. The bill passed the House earlier and now goes to the governor for signing into law. Gov. Robert Bentley said recently he had no objections to the bill because it does not allow home brewers to sell their beer or wine.
Alabama has been the only state prohibiting home brewing. The bill allows adults to make 15 gallons of beer or wine every three months.
The state Public Service Commission is starting a review of Alabama Power Co. rates.
The commission holds the first of a series of meetings Wednesday in Montgomery. The commission announced it will have a company overview and discuss the fundamentals of the rate structure on the opening day.
The commission recently wrapped up a similar review of Mobile Gas rates. The commission plans to make a decision about the company's natural gas rates on June 6.
The Alabama Legislature passed a sweeping revision to Medicaid that replaces the way the program delivers and pays for care with regional managed care operators.
Under the legislation passed Tuesday, the State Medicaid Agency will no longer bear financial risks but will instead assume the role of contract administrators. Savings of $50 million to $75 million over five years and future cost containment is expected.
Privately owned Regional Care Organizations won't deal directly with patients, but will contract directly with doctors to provide care.
An Alabama House committee has passed a bill that will allow school systems to hire trained resource officers to provide security in their schools and for the school system to pay for the cost of training and hiring the officers.
The director of Alabama's Department of Homeland Security, Spencer Collier, said it's a way of insuring that Alabama student are safe when at school.
"To get people trained as police officers is the best way to make sure schools are safe," Collier said.
The Alabama Legislature is closer to providing money to repair and rebuild public schools hit by tornadoes in 2011 and 2012.
The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee voted unanimously Tuesday for a bill that would allow the state to sell $30 million in bonds. Of that, $15 million would go to Murphy High School in Mobile, which was hit by a tornado in December.