Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Newscast
9:17 am
Wed May 20, 2015

House Passes Steep Cuts in Budget Bill, Blue Bell Explains Layoffs

Alabama Representative Steve Clouse

The Alabama House of Representatives has approved a General Fund budget that slashes $200 million from state agencies, after GOP lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on tax increases.

Representatives voted 66-36 for the spending plan yesterday. Most Democrats voted against the budget after criticizing the cuts.

The budget bill now heads to the Alabama Senate. House Speaker Mike Hubbard says his plan is to work with Senators for the rest of the legislative session to avoid some of the state agency cuts.

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Newscast
10:03 am
Mon May 18, 2015

Time Crunch for State Budget, NASA Robotics Mining Competition

Alabama engineering student Kellen Schroeter adjust his team's mining robot.

With only eight days left in the current legislative session, state lawmakers are running short on both time and options to patch a $200 million hole in the General Fund Budget.

The Alabama House of Representatives is set to vote tomorrow on a budget draft totaling $1.6 billion for next year. That would cut around 200 million dollars from funding for a wide variety of state agencies. House Speaker Mike Hubbard says his aim is to get that budget onto the Senate floor, and then work with Senators on a possible solution to avoid those cuts.

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Newscast
9:35 am
Fri May 15, 2015

General Fund Budget Taking Shape, Alabama Unites for Nepal

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Alabama’s general fund budget is slowly starting to take shape after some action in the state house.

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee has approved a budget that makes deep cuts to state agencies. The budget would cut Medicaid, mental health and state prisons corrections by five percent. Other state agencies would be cut by nine percent.

This proposal would impact the general fund budget. Alabama’s schools are funded by a separate spending plan.

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Newscast
9:11 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Judge kills Hubbard's subpoenas, Selma tax audit and Civil War reenactment

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard

A judge recently stopped another effort from Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s defense to have his ethics case dismissed.

Lee County Judge Jacob Walker III granted a state motion to kill subpoenas against Governor Robert Bentley and the custodian of records for the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Hubbard’s lawyers say those subpoenas were necessary to learn about possible communication records from Governor Bentley regarding Attorney General Luther Strange recusing himself from the case and appointing chief prosecutor Van Davis.

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Newscast
9:20 am
Wed May 13, 2015

GOP waits on tax vote, oil train regulations and fallen Alabama officers honored

Aftermath of a 2013 oil train derailment in Aliceville, AL.
Credit Reuters

The Alabama House of Representatives has delayed debate on a series of GOP-backed tax bills aimed at solving the state's General Fund Budget shortfall.

Yesterday, leaders in the legislature chose not to debate that series of tax bills that have divided Alabama’s Republican party. House Rules Chairman Mac McCutcheon says the budget bills are still being worked on.

The main piece of legislators’ new revenue plan is a 25-cents-per-pack cigarette tax increase.

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Newscast
9:18 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Gambling bill hearing, potential mental health cuts and Alzheimer's research

Mobile Greyhound Park, one proposed location for a casino in Alabama

Supporters and critics of legalized gambling and an Alabama state lottery are scheduled to meet in Montgomery today.

If approved by voters, the measure would allow casino gambling at four state dog tracks along with lotto drawings. Critics of lotteries claim they’re a tax on the poor and a study by the non-partisan John Locke Foundation in North Carolina appears to support that idea.

Foundation spokesman Mitch Kokai says they examined who bought tickets during the first year of North Carolina’s lottery in 2007.

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Newscast
9:29 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Lawmakers drop furlough proposal, new tax on motor oil and ACE Mentor Program

Lea Ann Macknally, President of ACE Mentor Program of Alabama Board of Directors

Republicans in the Alabama House are backing off proposals to furlough state employees for two days and to suspend longevity bonuses for a year.

Both ideas were considered to help the General Fund budget. But Speaker Mike Hubbard says they aren't needed after a change to a cigarette tax bill.

The proposals drew criticisms from Democrats who say they're pleased to see the ideas dropped.

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Newscast
9:33 am
Wed May 6, 2015

GOP introduces budget bill, mayoral summit and Rotary honor flight

Alabama House of Representatives

Republican lawmakers in Alabama’s House of Representatives have a new proposal to end the state's budget crisis.

Yesterday, House leaders announced a plan to fix the General Fund budget shortfall through a combination of cost-cutting, consolidation and new taxes. They plan to raise taxes on cigarettes and car rentals, cap paid state employee holidays and transfer revenue from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund.

The proposal would raise nearly $200 million in new revenue. That’s less than half the $541 million Gov. Robert Bentley wants to raise.

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Newscast
9:38 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Bentley says gambling isn't enough, VA Deputy Secretary in Alabama and freestanding ER opens

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Republican lawmakers seem to be turning toward gambling to shore up Alabama’s General Fund Budget, but Gov. Robert Bentley says that won’t provide enough money to stave off deep cuts to law enforcement and other state agencies.

Bentley spoke to the Associated Press yesterday in Dothan. He says the drafts of lottery and casino legislation proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh would bring Las Vegas-style gambling to the state of Alabama, which he says is not the budget solution the state needs.

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Newscast
10:50 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Candlelight vigil supporting gay marriage, oil cleanup workers may see trial and Opelika drops pre-K

The U.S. Supreme Court began to hear arguments yesterday as to whether state bans on same-sex marriage are federally constitutional.

In Tuscaloosa, advocates gathered in the shadow of Denny Chimes at the University of Alabama for a candlelight vigil in support of gay marriage and gay rights in general.

Meredith Bagley is a communications professor at the University of Alabama and one of the organizers of last night's event. She explains why they chose a candlelight vigil.

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Newscast
10:03 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Senate committee passes medical marijuana bill, Bentley keeps parks open and Old Cahawba memorial

Alabama Senator Bobby Singleton

Alabama’s Senate could be debating allowing medical marijuana in the state soon, since a Senate committee approved a comprehensive medical marijuana bill yesterday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4 to 3 to pass the measure. The bill was likely able to pass committee because three Republican senators failed to attend the meeting.

The legislation, if passed, would allow patients who suffer from 25 specific conditions to purchase a maximum of ten ounces of medical marijuana per month from a state-regulated dispensary.

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News
4:38 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

State Park closures delayed, Desegregation in schools in Huntsville, Earth Day

Alabama parks scheduled to close next month will stay open a little while longer.

Alabama State Parks Director Greg Lein on Wednesday said Gov. Robert Bentley has instructed him to delay closing four parks and two golf courses on May 1.

Earlier this month the park system announced plans to close as many as 15 of the state's 22 parks due to budget cuts.

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Newscast
9:57 am
Wed April 22, 2015

Bentley details cuts, First Lady in Alabama and Earth Day at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

First Lady Michelle Obama
Credit Ben Baker / Redux

Gov. Robert Bentley is giving lawmakers what he calls an "unvarnished" view of the cuts to state government that will occur without new revenue.

The governor sent a memo to each member of the Alabama Legislature last night. That memo describes the emergency operation plans state agencies produced in response to a draft budget lawmakers have already reviewed.

The reductions on the table include the layoff of more than 1,000 state employees, including 600 court employees and 132 law enforcement officers.

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Newscast
9:09 am
Tue April 21, 2015

Bentley on state budget, Alabama Nature Conservancy and new round of BP recovery funding

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Governor Robert Bentley says the state faces a “real crisis” with its budget. Bentley is now taking his fight to fill the state’s coffers to the streets.

The governor is continuing his tour of speaking engagements to rally support for his proposed $541 million tax proposal. He spoke at Guntersville State Park yesterday.

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Newscast
9:47 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Percy Sledge Remembered, Group Backs Tax Plan and Senate Passes Education Budget

Kimble Forrister, Executive Director of Alabama Arise

The singer who became famous for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman" died yesterday. Percy Sledge had a massive impact on what became known as the "Muscle Shoals sound".

Sledge walked into a recording studio in Alabama's Muscle Shoals region in 1966. In a few weeks, his signature song "When a Man Loves a Woman" would become the first of his five gold records.

Dick Cooper is the Curator of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He says Sledge's legacy was defined when he was just 25 years old.

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