2014 Legislature

Special Session
6:35 pm
Sat April 5, 2014

Bentley Has Until April 13 To Sign Budget

Gov. Robert Bentley won't make a quick decision on whether to sign the state's Education Trust Fund budget or force lawmakers back into a special session over the issue of a raise for education employees.
Credit State of Alabama

  Gov. Robert Bentley won't make a quick decision on whether to sign the state's Education Trust Fund budget or force lawmakers back into a special session over the issue of a raise for education employees.

Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis said Friday that there is no timeframe on when he will make a decision.

Bentley has until April 13 to sign the budget into law or it will die through a pocket veto.

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General-Fund
6:27 pm
Sat April 5, 2014

General Fund Becomes Law With Few Changes

Alabama's $1.8 billion General Fund budget for the next fiscal year has become law with only small changes from the governor.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

  Alabama's $1.8 billion General Fund budget for the next fiscal year has become law with only small changes from the governor.

Gov. Robert Bentley sent a line item veto the House of Representatives late Thursday making some alterations to the budget. Those changes became law when representatives adjourned for the night without taking action.

House budget committee chairman Rep. Steve Clouse of Ozark says the governor's changes to the operating budget were minor.

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Gun Bill
4:32 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Gun Bill Fails In Alabama House Committee

Members of a legislative committee have shot down a bill to let people carry loaded handguns in their cars without a concealed carry permit.
Credit www.abc3340.com

Members of a legislative committee have shot down a bill to let people carry loaded handguns in their cars without a concealed carry permit.

The House Public Safety Committee didn't advance the bill Wednesday after several sheriffs and police chiefs said they were concerned that it could lead to more violence.

No lawmaker seconded a motion to approve the bill, meaning it is dead for the session.

Republican Sen. Scott Beason says he's disappointed. Beason says people should not have to pay a fee to keep a loaded gun in their car.

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Dead Bills
4:15 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Common Core Repeal, Wiretapping Among Dead Bills

A repeal of the Common Core curriculum standards and a cap on payday loan interest rates are among the legislative proposals that are dead for the 2014 session.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

A repeal of the Common Core curriculum standards and a cap on payday loan interest rates are among the legislative proposals that are dead for the 2014 session.

With just two days remaining, time has run out for many of the 1,103 bills introduced this session. Legislative proposals that have not passed at least one chamber have no chance of winning approval.

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Governor-Raises
4:40 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Gov. Bentley Still Pushes For 2 Percent Pay Raise

Gov. Robert Bentley says he still hopes to get a 2 percent pay raise approved for public school employees.
Credit NPR

Gov. Robert Bentley says he still hopes to get a 2 percent pay raise approved for public school employees.

Bentley said Monday that he's glad that he and legislative leaders agreed to increase funding for the education employees' health insurance program, and he says that should keep them from having to pay higher costs. But Bentley says he wants the Legislature to do more with three meeting days left in the legislative session.

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Abortion
4:05 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

48-Hour Wait For Abortion Closer To Being Ala. Law

The Alabama Legislature is getting closer to extending the waiting period for an abortion in the state.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

The Alabama Legislature is getting closer to extending the waiting period for an abortion in the state.

The Senate Health Committee voted 7-1 Wednesday to approve a bill that extends the waiting time from 24 hours to 48 hours after a woman receives information from an abortion clinic about the procedure and associated risks. Republicans senators cast the yes votes, and Democratic Sen. Billy Beasley cast the lone nay vote.

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Smoking Ban
3:46 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Alabama Smoking Restrictions Die In Legislature

Legislation to ban smoking in many Alabama businesses has died in the a House committee.
Credit khawkins04 / Flickr

Legislation to ban smoking in many Alabama businesses has died.

The bill by Democratic Sen. Vivian Davis Figures of Mobile failed in the House Health Committee 4-7 Wednesday.

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Politics & Government
10:24 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Alabama Committee Approves Fetal Heartbeat Bill

An Alabama legislative committee has voted to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected -- something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

An Alabama legislative committee has voted to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected -- something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The House Health Committee approved the fetal heartbeat bill Tuesday. Both sides of the abortion debate agree the proposal would ban most abortions if it becomes law. They also agreed the proposal will be destined for a court fight if given final approval.

North Dakota approved similar legislation, but a federal judge put the law on hold while a legal challenge plays out in court.

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Seniors-Jury Duty
1:03 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Ala. Bill Would Let Seniors Opt Out Of Jury Duty

A state lawmaker has proposed legislation to allow people older than 70 to withdraw from jury pools.
Credit Douglas Muth / Flickr

A state lawmaker has proposed legislation to allow people older than 70 to withdraw from jury pools.

A bill proposed by Rep. Rod Scott, a Fairfield Democrat, has been discussed in the House Judiciary Committee. Scott says many seniors have trouble making it to court but some lawmakers say the legislation could pose problems in smaller counties.

Republican Rep. Mike Jones of Andalusia says he's concerned with defendants losing the ability to have their case heard by a jury of peers. The bill would allow seniors to reinstate themselves to the pool if they wished.

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School Prayer Bills
12:51 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Bills Seek 10 Commandments, Prayers In Schools

Alabama lawmakers are proposing a multitude of school prayer and religious expression bills this session including one to allow the display of the Ten Commandments in schools and other public buildings.
Credit Gerry Fincher / Flickr

Alabama lawmakers are proposing a multitude of school prayer and religious expression bills this session.

Legislators say the bills are an effort to push back efforts to squash all vestiges of religion from the public square. But opponents called the bills election-year pandering and said the proposals are either unnecessary or unconstitutional.

Republican Rep. Steve Hurst has proposed setting aside up to 15 minutes at the start of each school day to study the procedures of Congress, including having teachers give a verbatim reading of a congressional opening prayer.

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Lethal Injection
4:02 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Ala. Seeks To Keep Secret Execution Drug Suppliers

Alabama lawmakers are seeking to keep secret the manufacturers and suppliers of the drugs used in lethal injection executions.
Credit blog.al.com

Alabama lawmakers are seeking to keep secret the manufacturers and suppliers of the drugs used in lethal injection executions.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill Tuesday.

The bill would require the state to keep the identities of people and companies who provide the drugs to the state confidential.

Rogersville Republican Lynn Greer says the state needs to make sure it can continue to obtain the lethal injection drugs.

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Workforce Council
4:15 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Legislature Votes To Create Ala. Workforce Council

The Alabama Legislature has agreed to create a council of business executives to advise state leaders on workforce development issues.

The Alabama Legislature has agreed to create a council of business executives to advise state leaders on workforce development issues.

The Senate voted 28-1 Thursday to go along with changes the House made in a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Paul Bussman of Cullman. The bill now goes to the governor for signing into law.

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Medical Marijuana
4:38 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Ala. Senate Committee Approves Cannabis Oil Bill

Alabama lawmakers took a step toward effectively legalizing a marijuana extract that doesn't get people high, but can be used to treat certain medical conditions
Credit Laurie Avocado / Wikimedia Commons

Alabama lawmakers took a step toward effectively legalizing a marijuana extract that doesn't get people high, but can be used to treat certain medical conditions.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a bill aimed at allowing people with certain illnesses to possess the oil called cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil.

Sen. Paul Sanford says the oil does not make people feel high, because it is low in marijuana's psychoactive compound.

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Retiree Bonus
4:17 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Senate Committee Approves Bonus For State Retirees

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh's bill would provide $2 for each month of a retiree's state service.
Credit twitter.com

Retired state employees might get their first pension bonus since 2008.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-General Fund Committee approved a bill Wednesday to provide a one-time bonus, but the bill's sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, says the amount and affordability of the bonus still must be determined.

Marsh's bill would provide $2 for each month of a retiree's state service. A retiree who worked 25 years would get $600.

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Payday Loans
4:02 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Group Rallies To Limit Payday Loans In Alabama

Members of the Alliance for Responsible Lending gathered Tuesday to support bills from Democratic Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield and Patricia Todd of Birmingham that limit interest to 36 percent.

About 50 people rallied on the Statehouse steps in Montgomery to show their support for legislation limiting interest rates on payday and title loans.

Members of the Alliance for Responsible Lending gathered Tuesday to support bills from Democratic Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield and Patricia Todd of Birmingham that limit interest to 36 percent. The group backing the bills includes representatives of Alabama Appleseed, the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, the state NAACP, and AARP.

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