The Associated Press


Medicaid Expansion
4:39 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Ala. Senate Democrats Blocked On Medicaid Effort

Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures has offered a resolution urging Governor Bentley to reconsider his decision not to expand Medicaid.
Credit AP Photo/Dave Martin

Democrats in the Alabama Senate are having trouble pressing their top issue.

Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures of Mobile offered a resolution Thursday urging the Republican governor to reconsider his decision not to expand Medicaid. The Senate's Republican leader, President Pro Tem Del Marsh, cut off debate on the resolution by getting it sent to the Senate Rules Committee.

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Alabama University Shooting
4:32 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Ex-Professor Seeks Delay In Ala. Shooting Lawsuits

Former University of Alabama in Huntsville professor Amy Bishop is asking a Huntsville to delay action in lawsuits against her.

Former university professor Amy Bishop is asking a judge in Huntsville to delay action in lawsuits against her.

The two suits were filed by victims of a 2010 shooting spree at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Bishop pleaded guilty to the crime.

Bishop maintains that information in the lawsuits could jeopardize her appeal in her criminal case.

A court had stopped action in the lawsuits while Bishop was awaiting trial. Attorneys were allowed to resume gathering evidence when she pleaded guilty to murder.

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Hagel Nomination
4:26 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

GOP Senator From Ala. Signals Support For Hagel Nomination

Republican Senator Richard Shelby says he will vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.
Credit United States Senate / Wikimedia Commons

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby says he will vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, a major boost for President Barack Obama's nominee.

The Alabama lawmaker tells the Decatur Daily he has concerns about his fellow Republican but plans to support him. Shelby spokesman Jonathan Graffeo said Thursday that, barring unforeseen surprises, the senator will vote for confirmation.

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Government Spending Cuts
9:03 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Ala. Governor: 24,000 Jobs at Stake on Budget Cuts

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says automatic government spending cuts could cost the state 24,000 jobs.

Alabama's governor said the state stands to lose 24,000 jobs if automatic government spending cuts kick in on March 1.

Gov. Robert Bentley said the impact was calculated by the National Governors Association. It forecast the biggest impact in Alabama would be on defense-related jobs. Bentley said the Huntsville area would be the hardest hit.

Sales Tax Holiday
8:59 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Ala. Bad Weather Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend

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.

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Alabama Probate Judges Association
8:56 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Alabama Probate Judges Elect New President

Jefferson County Judge Alan King ahs been elected as president of the Alabama Probate Judges Association.

The Alabama Probate Judges Association has a new president.

Members of the organization elected Judge Alan King of Jefferson County to the position.

King previously served as treasurer, secretary and vice president of the group.

King won a third term as Jefferson County probate judge in November.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Medicaid Funding
7:35 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Williamson Says Money Runs Out For Medicaid After 2014

State health officer Don Williamson says he doesn't know where funding for Alabama's Medicaid Program will come from after 2014.

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.

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Trust Fund Payback
7:29 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Ala. Governor Signs Law To Repay Trust Fund

Gov. Bentley signed a bill today that mandates repaying the Alabama Trust Fund by 2026.
Credit / Office of the Governor

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.

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School Flexibility
7:23 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

School Flexibility Bill Headed To Senate For Vote

A bill to allow city and county school systems to opt out of state education laws could come up in the Senate for final vote next week.

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.

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Historic Rehabilitation
4:44 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

House Panel Votes For Credits For Historic Work

A bill now goes to the full House for debate that would give tax credits for rehabbing structures built before 1936.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

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.

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UA Drug Roundup
8:07 am
Wed February 20, 2013

UA Students Could Face Expulsion After Drug Sweep

University of Alabama authorities say the students arrested as part of a massive drug sweep centered around the school will be referred to its judicial affairs process.

University spokeswoman Cathy Andreen said that after the judicial reviews are completed, students will receive sanctions up to and including expulsion.

The students also face criminal charges. Authorities say the drug sweep resulted in the arrest of about 100 people.

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Trust Fund bill
6:53 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Ala. Legislature Approves Bill to Repay Savings

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says he'll make good on his promise to voters and sign legislation that requires full repayment of money transferred from the Alabama Trust Fund to the General Fund Budget.
AP Photo/Alabama Governor's Office, Jamie Martin

The Alabama House has given final passage to a bill that requires full repayment of money transferred from an oil and gas revenues savings account to the state's General Fund budget.

The House voted 90-0 Thursday to approve an amendment put on in the Senate that requires repayment of the money even if the Legislature doesn't appropriate the funds.

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Abortion Legislation
6:36 am
Wed February 20, 2013

House Passes Bill to Stiffen Abortion Clinic Rules

The Alabama House has passed legislation that would stiffen the requirements for abortion clinics in the state. Opponents of the bill said the tougher rules would force most abortion clinics to close.

The bill would place requirements on the facilities such as requiring clinics to have wider hallways. The bill would require clinics to have a doctor available when an abortion is performed.

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Casino Crackdown
6:28 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Ala Black Caucus Critical of Casino Raid

Baracades are installed at the entrance to Victoryland Casino in Shorter, Ala. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, after Attorney Gen. Luther Strange shut the casino down.
AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh

Members of Alabama's legislative black caucus are criticizing the state's latest crackdown on the VictoryLand casino at Shorter.

State Rep. Pebblin Warren of Tuskegee says a raid at VictoryLand is unfair to Macon County residents who voted to legalize bingo.

She says it's also unfair that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians continue operating their three casinos when VictoryLand is shutdown.

State Rep. Alvin Holmes of Montgomery says he's worried that people who work at VictoryLand are out of jobs.

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Alabama Casinos
4:32 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Poarch Band, McGregor Respond To Suit, Raid

The Wind Creek Casino in Atmore is one of three casinos run by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians that AG Luther Strange seeks to close.
Credit PCI Gaming / Poarch Band of Creek Indians

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.

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