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.
Three schools in the Tuscaloosa area would benefit, with $3 million for Alberta City Elementary and $2.5 million each for University Place Elementary and Holt Elementary. They were hit on April 27, 2011.
Alabama lawmakers are one step from letting voters decide, at least in theory, whether to make it harder for government to adopt restrictions on firearms.
A proposed constitutional amendment would apply a judicial standard called strict scrutiny to any limits on possessing weapons. The proposal cleared a Senate committee Tuesday. It must pass the full Senate before it goes on a statewide ballot.
The Alabama Legislature is one step away from passing a bill that would make sure private schools and non-failing public schools don't have to take students who want to transfer from failing public schools.
The bill making transfers optional won approval in the House last week and in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. The bill by Republican Rep. Jim Carns of Mountain Brook now goes to the Senate for what could be a final vote.
Six coastal governors have called on Washington to open up more waters to offshore drilling and to make permitting a quicker, more efficient process.
The governors of Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Alaska spoke Monday at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. Officials from Louisiana and Virginia also spoke.
They say a federal moratorium on offshore drilling after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and permitting requirements put in place after that, have made it difficult for companies to develop resources.
Fisherman gathered over the weekend off Alabama's coast for the annual the 64th annual Blessing of the Fleet.
The Press-Register reports (http://bit.ly/18plF8X) that Sunday's event was the largest fund-raiser of the year for St. Margaret Catholic Church. It was also a highlight of the two-day community festival in Bayou La Batre.
Alabama farmers say they're trying to cope with several weeks of cool temperatures and excessive rainfall, which has oversaturated the soil.
Agriculture experts say that has slowed farming across the state, which could threaten yields.
Farmer Keith Bryant tells The Anniston Star (http://bit.ly/13ls16h) that he's being slowed down in his efforts to plant 400 acres of cotton this year. But he said his cotton harvest will be fine as long as he can plant by May 15.
Alabama voters will have a much easier time following campaign donations in the 2014 elections for state offices.
The Alabama secretary of state's office plans to launch a searchable online database of campaign donations by the end of May. It will replace the old system of paper documents and scanned-in documents, and it will premier in time for the start of fundraising for the 2014 elections.
Gov. Robert Bentley's state finance director, Marquita Davis, is leaving for a new job in Birmingham.
Bentley's press secretary, Jennifer Ardis, said Davis has accepted a job as executive director of the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity. She will move to her new job after the current legislative session ends later this month.
Davis served as director of the state Department of Children's Affairs in Gov. Bob Riley's Cabinet and in Bentley's Cabinet before he made her finance director in August 2011.