Alabama residents buying supplies they need to make it through times of severe weather will not have to pay sales tax for certain items this weekend.
Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday people need to take advantage of the break from Alabama's sales tax to stock up on supplies such as battery-powered radios, weather radios, first aid kits, portable generators and plywood.
The holiday from sales tax will begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday and will run through the end of the day on Sunday.
State Health Officer Don Williamson told Alabama lawmakers that money will be available to fund Alabama's Medicaid program at a minimal level through 2014.
But Williamson told a joint meeting of the House and Senate General Fund budget committees Wednesday he did not know where the money would come from after 2014 to run the health insurance program for the economically disadvantaged.
Williamson is also the interim director of the Alabama Medicaid Program.
Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders kept a promise Wednesday to enact legislation requiring the repayment of $437 million taken from a state trust fund to bolster state budgets.
Bentley signed a bill passed by the Legislature that mandates the repayment to the trust fund through annual appropriations concluding in 2026. The bill was the first passed by the Legislature in the current session.
Legislation that would allow city and county school systems to opt out of state education laws could come up for a final vote in the Senate next week.
A school flexibility bill cleared the House on Feb. 14 and was approved by the Senate Education Committee in a 5-3 vote Wednesday, with Republicans voting yes and Democrats voting no. A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says the bill is a priority and could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday.
Gov. Robert Bentley says he's ready to sign whatever version of the bill the Legislature passes.
A House committee has approved a bill that would provide tax credits for rehabilitating historic structures or non-historic buildings that were built before 1936.
The House education budget committee approved the bill unanimously. The sponsor, Republican Sen. Victor Gaston of Mobile, told committee members it would encourage home and business owners to make improvements to historic structures.
Gambling operators say the state is overstepping its bounds by trying to shut down four casinos in Alabama.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians says the state lacks the power to shut down its three electronic bingo operations in Atmore, Montgomery and Wetumpka.
The state filed suit Tuesday claiming the gambling centers are illegal.
And an attorney for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says the state's raid on the east Alabama casino is improper. McGregor lawyer Joe Espy says no court has ever ruled that VictoryLand's machines are illegal.
The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to campaign finance laws limiting how much an individual can give to political campaigns.
The justices on Tuesday decided to hear an appeal from Shaun McCutcheon of Alabama and the Republican National Committee. They are arguing that it's unconstitutional to stop a donor from giving more than $46,200 to political candidates and $70,800 to political committees and PACs.