MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Republicans are considering changes to campaign finance laws. Senate Republicans want to tinker with the overhaul the GOP pushed in 2010 and 2011. House Republicans want to go one step further to lift the existing ban on corporate contributions. But neither chamber proposes changes that would block the kind of fundraiser House Republicans held Tuesday night. State law already bars lawmakers from raising money during a legislative session. The House GOP was able to host a fundraiser, however, because the money is going to its not-for-profit foundation.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Richardson and his team have been named as finalists for the 2013 Heyman Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal. They are being honored for their role in the rescue of a 5-year-old south Alabama boy who was abducted at gunpoint earlier this year. The boy, who was held in an underground bunker for six days, was rescued safely. His captor, Jimmy Lee Dykes, was killed. Richardson oversaw a FBI team that included crisis negotiators, tactical units, bomb experts, behavioral scientists and surveillance units.
Alabama's governor has signed legislation making home brewing legal.
Alabama had been the only state banning the home brewing of beer and wine, but the Legislature passed a bill Tuesday. A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley says he signed the bill Thursday. The new law takes effect immediately.
The American Homebrewers Association estimates there are 5,000 home brewers in Alabama, even though the practice has been illegal.
The new law allows them to make 15 gallons of beer or wine every three months. It cannot be sold.
The Alabama Legislature has approved a nearly $5.8 billion education budget that will fund a 2 percent pay raise for K-12 employees and give extra money to all levels of education.
The House approved the budget 70-26 Thursday afternoon. The budget got approved in the Senate 22-11 on Tuesday and now goes to the governor for his review. The budget provides a 3.6 percent increase in spending after several years of recession-riddled budgets.
The Alabama Senate has approved legislation saying private schools and non-failing public schools don't have to take students transferring from failing public schools.
The Senate voted 21-12 Thursday for a bill making changes to the Alabama Accountability Act. The bill makes clear that a student transferring from a failing school in one school system to a non-failing school in another system has to provide his own transportation. It also tightens up which schools will be designated failing schools.
The main gun bill before Alabama lawmakers is headed to a compromise committee of senators and representatives.
Sen. Scott Beason, the Senate sponsor, says he couldn't sign off on the version that House members passed late last week after reaching a compromise that involved law enforcement leaders and the National Rifle Association.
The Alabama Legislature has voted to extend two taxes that support the state Medicaid program.
The assessments on nursing homes and hospitals were due to expire this year, but the Senate gave final approval Thursday to bills that extend the nursing home tax for two years and the hospital tax for three years. The bills passed the House earlier and now go to the governor to be signed into law.
Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr of Decatur says the bills were critical to maintaining Medicaid services for low-income Alabamians.
One of Alabama's best known political scientists is retiring.
Brad Moody is ending a 40-year career of teaching political science and public administration at Auburn University Montgomery. Moody is a Texas native who arrived at AUM in 1972 and soon made a name for himself as a media commentator on Alabama government and politics.
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.
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.