Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

St. Clair Prison
Equal Justice Initiative

The U.S. prison system is set to release thousands of inmates nationwide including hundreds in Alabama later this month thanks to new sentencing guidelines.

The Washington Post reports that this one-time release will occur between October 30 and November 2. The change is due to new guidelines shortening drug trafficking sentences that were approved last year.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley came out to defend the state’s closure of dozens of driver’s license offices after Congresswoman Terri Sewell said she was pursuing a Department of Justice investigation.

Bentley sent a letter to U.S Representative Terri Sewell yesterday responding to Sewell's criticisms. She has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate since Alabama requires a photo ID to vote. She says the closures disproportionately impact poor and African-American populations.

The Tennessee Riverkeeper has announced its intention to sue several entities including chemical manufacturer 3M over pollution in the Wheeler Reservoir.

The riverkeeper plans to sue 3M as well as BFI Waste Systems of Alabama, Decatur Utilities and the City of Decatur. They allege those groups are responsible for contaminating the waterway with perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs. PFCs tend to accumulate in the bodies of humans and animals, and exposure has been linked to diseases like cancer, thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis.

Planned Parenthood
Getty Images

Planned Parenthood is taking the state of Alabama to court after Governor Robert Bentley halted Medicaid payments to the organization's clinics in Alabama.

A federal judge will hold a hearing later this morning on Planned Parenthood Southeast's request for a preliminary injunction. Last month, Governor Bentley announced that he planned to terminate agreements allowing Planned Parenthood to be paid for providing services to Medicaid patients.

The state of Alabama has a general fund budget in place for the new fiscal year beginning in less than two weeks.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed the state's general fund budget yesterday morning. He says the spending plan isn’t perfect, but it is a step in the right direction for the state.

Lawmakers passed a $1.7 billion budget on Wednesday after months of negotiations over a substantial budget shortfall. Legislators approved a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase and a transfer of $80 million in education funds to minimize cuts to state services.

The Alabama Legislature has approved a general fund budget and wrapped up their second special session.

Lawmakers gave final approval to a spending plan that will avoid cuts to critical state agencies such as Medicaid, prisons and mental health. Other state agencies will see cuts of around 5.5%. Gov. Robert Bentley says he expects to sign the budget into law after reviewing it this morning. He praised lawmakers for their hard work.


Shelby County sits in the geographic center of Alabama.  It has been the fastest growing county in the state for the past four decades.  Shelby County has become a Mecca for suburbanites in the Hoover/Birmingham metropolitan area.

Shelby County has not always been a suburban enclave of Jefferson County.  While Governor Robert Bentley was growing up it was a rural county much like most of the counties in the state.  Shelby County was part of a four county center that was known as the home of the original Republicans in the state.

Media outlets are asking a judge in Tuscaloosa to unseal the divorce case of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and first lady Dianne Bentley.

A motion filed today by a group of Alabama television stations and newspapers says the case was sealed last month following a hurried hearing held without notice to the public.

The motion says the divorce is newsworthy and a fair subject for reporting by the media. It says allowing the case to remain closed promotes the spread of rumors.

Indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard has given a litany of complaints about his case in a recently unsealed document.

Hubbard says the state’s ethics law is unconstitutionally vague, did not apply to him as Republican party chairman and that he had a free speech right to lobby for his clients.

Late last week, a judge unsealed Hubbard's motion to dismiss his ethics case on the grounds that the ethics law is unconstitutional.

The civil rights trial of former Madison police officer Eric Parker was delayed for hours yesterday for a closed hearing involving the Madison police chief.

WHNT reports Police Chief Larry Muncey and other high-ranking members of the Madison Police Department were called into a closed hearing before the judge regarding allegations of improper contact between members of the department.

Muncey was asked to bring copies of all e-mails he sent regarding the trial. If the allegations are proven true, Muncey could face criminal contempt of court charges.

Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery today for their third attempt at balancing the state’s general fund budget.

The special session begins at 5 PM this afternoon.

So far, legislators haven’t been able to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Bentley makes appearance in Birmingham, Youth Dove Hunt

Sep 2, 2015

Governor Robert Bentley made his first public appearance Wednesday since first Lady Dianne Bentley filed papers last week to end their 50-year marriage. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold has more…

Governor Bentley appeared in a groundbreaking ceremony for a pharmaceutical company in Birmingham. Oxford Pharmaceuticals manufactures generic drugs and will create up to 200 jobs. The company is investing nearly $30 million at the Birmingham manufacturing site.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

Alabama lawmakers are heading back to the hill after the Labor Day weekend. APR’s Stan Ingold has more.

Governor Robert Bentley is calling a special session next week to try once again to pass a state budget.

The governor announced that he is bringing lawmakers back to Montgomery on September 8th.

The second special session is needed after the regular session and a first special session ended in a stalemate over proposed solutions to a projected general fund budget shortfall.

Eric Parker confrontation
Madison Police Department

A former Madison police officer stands trial today on a federal charge of using excessive force against an Indian man who was partially paralyzed during a confrontation.

Eric Sloan Parker is accused of violating the civil rights of 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel in February when he threw the man to the ground during a police stop.

Stan Ingold

            For years, Alabama was a “flyover” state for candidates seeking the presidency. That is, until recently. Within the past two weeks, the Yellowhammer State has been a popular destination for the seeking the Republican nomination.

            “You know I represent the state of Texas, we’ve got twelve hundred miles of border with Mexico, and we see firsthand the consequences of illegal immigration…”

Judge seals Alabama governor's divorce file

Aug 31, 2015

A judge orders that Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's divorce case be sealed from public view. Tuscaloosa Circuit Judge Elizabeth Hamner issued the order today after the couple's attorneys jointly requested that the records be kept private. Lawyers told the judge that it would be in the best interest to keep the divorce records private. The request noted the governor's position as a prominent public office holder. Dianne Bentley filed for divorce on Friday, saying the couple's 50-year marriage had suffered an irretrievable breakdown.

UPDATE: Alabama first lady Dianne Bentley has filed for divorce from Governor Robert Bentley, saying their 50-year marriage has suffered an "irretrievable breakdown." The complaint, filed Friday, says that attempts at reconciliation are futile and that the couple has been living apart since January. A lawyer for Dianne Bentley wrote that her client says "there is such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together." The complaint says the couple's personalities conflict. The Bentleys have been married since 1965 and have four adult sons.

Donald Trump
Jeff Haller / New York Times

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh will not propose his bill to allow a statewide vote on a lottery and casinos during the second special session.

Another Republican senator, Paul Sanford of Huntsville, says he plans to introduce his own lottery proposal.

The bill Marsh championed throughout the general assembly and first special session was a constitutional amendment to allow a lottery and casinos at the state's four dog tracks.

Six Hundred and fifty new jobs are coming to Tuscaloosa County.

Governor Robert Bentley announced that Samvardhana Motherson Group plans to build a new $150 million automotive supplier plant in the area.

The new 700,000 square foott facility in Tuscaloosa will produce painted bumpers, rocker panels, spoilers, interior door panels and other parts. This plant will supply Mercedes Benz U.S. International plant in Vance.

The Birmingham City Council will consider increasing the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

Local media reports the council could vote on an ordinance as soon as this evening.

Dozens of people rallied outside City Hall after a council meeting last month to show support for an ordinance requiring all businesses within the city and those contracted through the city to raise the minimum wage.

Governor Robert Bentley is endorsing Ohio Governor John Kasich for the Republican presidential nomination. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold has more…

Governor Kasich joined Bentley at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham. Governor Bentley says Kasich has the executive level experience and background necessary to lead.  Bentley called Kasich to offer his support after seeing him in a recent debate.

It’s been almost one week since the Legislature ended a special session without a general fund budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is expected to call another special session to deal with a projected $200 million shortfall in the state’s coffers.

As both chambers remain divided on the issue, the house did vote in favor of cutting $156 million from Medicaid before passing their version of the budget.

Huntsville Republican Representative Phil Williams says he was ashamed of that vote, but he believes the move sent a message throughout Montgomery.

The Alabama Senate narrowly passed a budget that slashes millions of dollars from Medicaid, mental health, law enforcement and nearly all other state agencies.

Senators voted 19-15 for the cut-filled budget yesterday after lawmakers failed to agree on how to fix a $200 million budget shortfall during the special session. The new budget is identical to the one passed at the end of the regular session and then vetoed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says he will not back down as he battles with members of his own party over tax increases.

The governor says the cuts currently proposed to state services will cause a tremendous amount of pain to the citizens if lawmakers fail to plug a revenue hole.

The Alabama Senate will vote later today on a budget that slashes $200 million from Alabama’s state agency funding. Governor Bentley calls that budget unworkable and unacceptable. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says Republican senators remain largely opposed to any tax increases.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is cutting off Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos implying the group was selling fetal tissue to research groups.

Governor Bentley called Planned Parenthood's practices "deplorable” in a statement yesterday. He says he doesn't want Alabama to be associated with the group. Bentley says the state is terminating an agreement with Planned Parenthood Southeast to serve as a Medicaid provider.

Last night, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a dramatic cut to Medicaid as lawmakers try to balance the General Fund budget.

Legislators in the House approved the $156 million dollar Medicaid cut on a second vote yesterday. The first vote failed.

Immediately afterward, the House passed its version of a General Fund budget. Funding for public health, prisons, mental health, human resources and the state’s courts would be unchanged. All other state agencies would see a 5.5% reduction in their operating budgets.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a special session to work on the budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He also wants to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut. The governor has also suggested ending the ability of taxpayers to claim a state income tax deduction when they pay their federal Social Security taxes.

Tuscaloosa Representative Bill Poole says he is not optimistic the legislature will draft a budget in this special session.

Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell
Matt Teague / Los Angeles Times

Probate judges from across Alabama are meeting in Tuscaloosa today. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold reports they’ll be talking about updates to marriage laws.

State lawmakers from Mobile and Baldwin Counties are drafting legislation to try and keep a large portion of the BP oil settlement money near Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

The proposed bill would request $500 million of the $1 billion currently destined for the state’s General Fund budget to instead be dedicated to the Gulf region. The projects that legislators would like to see funded in the area are primarily major road construction.

Civil rights advocates are pursuing a complaint against the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden.

The complaint covers a wide range of conditions-related issues including medical neglect and alleged abuse by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers against foreign detainees.

Christina Mansfield is the co-founder of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC). She says the report alleges how ICE officers have physically assaulted and coerced detainees into signing travel documents that could prompt deportation.