Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

A panel of retired Alabama judges will be the ones to hear suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore's bid to return to the bench.

Yesterday, the current justices on the Alabama Supreme Court announced they will recuse themselves from hearing Moore's appeal because their impartiality might be questioned.

Attorney general's office clears Collier

Oct 20, 2016

A grand jury clears former Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier of wrongdoing.

The attorney general's office announced today that a grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by Collier and is closing the investigation requested by Gov. Robert Bentley's administration.

Bentley fired Collier in March saying a review found possible misuse of funds. The findings were sent to the attorney general's office.

Race fans headed to Talladega Superspeedway this week may need to leave their lighters at home.

Talladega Superspeedway issued a burn ban for the race week that ends on October 24th. That comes on top of bans from Governor Robert Bentley and the State Forestry Commission.

The ban includes campfires, pit fires, bonfires, and the use of fireworks on Talladega grounds.

Grant Lynch is the chairman of Talladega Superspeedway. He says this isn’t the first time weather conditions have made for a change in plans.

Alabama Auditor Jim Zeigler is opposing a November ballot measure that clarifies the threshold to oust an impeached public official.

Amendment 6 specifies that a two-thirds vote of the Alabama Senate is required to remove an impeached public official.

Zeigler says the change would make it almost impossible to remove Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. Zeigler called it the "Get Out of Impeachment Free Card."

Prison Reform: Alabama's overcrowding problem

Oct 14, 2016

Alabama’s prison system has been in the news a lot this year, and not for good reasons. Inmate riots, as well as allegations of mismanagement and corruption have pointed out plenty of problems. The Alabama Public Radio news team has spent the past several months examining what happens as people go into the state’s prison system and what happens when they come out. Today, APR’s MacKenzie Bates hears from critics of Alabama’s prisons are run and how plans to fix things may just throw money at the problem…

Brynn Anderson / AP

Weather conditions across the state have led to hundreds of fast-spreading wildfires, and the Governor has had enough.

Yesterday, Governor Bentley signed an emergency order banning all outside fires across 46 of Alabama’s counties due to the drought conditions. The declaration prohibits all campfires, bonfires, trash or debris fires or any other open burning in any of the specified counties.

Those in violation of the order can be fined up to $500 and sentenced to up to six months in jail, according to the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is fighting back as the legislative committee trying to impeach him is attempting to subpoena lots of documents from the governor’s administration.

On Monday, Bentley’s lawyer Ross Garber filed an objection with the House Judiciary Committee to subpoenas they had issued for various documents. Garber says the legislative committee does not have subpoena power and is seeking a large amount of documents that “go far beyond any legitimate inquiry”.

Gov. Bentley
Albert Cesare / Associated Press

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he can no longer vote for Donald Trump in the wake of the Republican presidential nominee's comments about women.

Bentley joined Alabama U.S. Representatives Martha Roby and Bradley Byrne yesterday calling for Trump to step aside from the presidential race. Trump is under fire for a leaked audio recording from 2005 in which he brags about groping and trying to seduce married women.

Alabama is answering a call for help from its neighbor to the Southeast.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit the Florida coast very soon. In anticipation of the damage, Florida made a request for state assistance from Alabama.

Governor Robert Bentley says Alabama will send an Emergency Operations Augmentation team to help the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Department of Justice

The U.S. Department of Justice is opening an investigation into the conditions at Alabama’s state prisons.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley released a statement yesterday sharing the Justice Department’s letter, and saying he welcomes a federal investigation into the state’s prisons. Bentley says both he and the DoJ share a common goal of wanting to improve the safety of officers and inmates in Alabama’s prisons. He also says past meetings with DoJ officials resulted in major improvements at the state’s Tutwiler Prison for Women.

Report criticizes Collier for absenteeism, spending

Oct 6, 2016

An internal investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is criticizing its former chief's attendance and management.

Gov. Robert Bentley included the report in his filing with an impeachment committee last week. It was former agency head Spencer Collier's accusations that helped launched the impeachment probe against Bentley.

Bentley creates commission on gambling

Oct 3, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley is creating a study commission on gambling.

The governor made the announcement Monday, a little more than a week after saying electronic bingo casinos were operating in the state illegally.

Bentley said Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming will assess the current state and local laws on gambling and practices in other states. The council will make recommendations to the governor and legislative leaders ahead of the 2017 legislative session.

Special counsel wants to subpoena documents from Bentley

Sep 27, 2016

The special counsel in the impeachment investigation against Gov. Robert Bentley is asking a House committee to subpoena documents from the governor and others after getting few voluntarily turned over.

Special counsel Jack Sharman told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that he had requested documents from Bentley and others but had "few or no documents" voluntarily produced.

An Alabama judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state’s plans to build a beachfront hotel with BP settlement money stemming from the 2010 oil spill.

Yesterday, Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin ruled Jim Zeigler had no authority to bring the lawsuit against Governor Robert Bentley in Zeigler’s official capacity as State Auditor.

The state of Alabama has been selected to take part in a national project to help combat the opioid epidemic across the country.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced earlier this week that the state will participate in a National Governors Association learning lab to address the opioid issue. The project aims to reduce the number of overdoses and deaths related to heroin and prescription opiates like fentanyl. Current data shows 78 people nationwide die of an opiate overdose every day.

VictoryLand Casino is expected to reopen today, more than three years after state authorities raided it and shut it down.

Owner Milton McGregor announced last month that VictoryLand would have a soft reopening on September 13. At that time, he said the bingo parlor would hire around 200 employees and would have around 500 electronic bingo machines for patrons. He says the casino plans to expand over the coming months.

Alabama State House

State lawmakers have decided how to spend Alabama’s incoming BP settlement money from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Yesterday, state Senators voted 22-8 for a compromise plan to use the money for a mixture of paying down state debts, funding Medicaid and building roads in coastal Alabama counties.

The bill now moves to Gov. Robert Bentley for his signature. The plan, if signed into law by the governor, will steer $400 million to repay state debt, $120 million to road projects and $120 million to the state’s Medicaid program.

A state legislative committee looking into the possibility of impeaching Gov. Robert Bentley has denied the governor’s requests to suspend their investigation.

House Judiciary Chairman Mike Jones says the impeachment probe is moving forward despite Bentley’s repeated pleas to the contrary.

The governor and his lawyers asked the committee to halt their investigation until lawmakers clarify their concerns. The request was accompanied by an Aug. 25 letter from the House Judiciary Committee's special counsel saying their concerns with the Governor had been well-publicized.

Bentley appeals refugee lawsuit dismissal

Aug 30, 2016

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is appealing the dismissal of the state's lawsuit against the federal government over refugee placement.

Officials with the governor's office filed the appeal today with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Bentley asked a federal judge in January to block refugees from coming to the state unless federal officials provided a full background check and medical information on each refugee.

Lottery bill dies in Alabama Senate

Aug 26, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed state lottery has failed in the Alabama Senate.

Senators voted 23-7 to reject changes the House of Representatives made to the bill today. Sen. Jim McClendon, the bill's sponsor, said the legislation is "dead" for the session.

Senate support for the bill crumbled after Democrats said they could no longer support it. Democrats objected to House language that prohibited electronic lottery terminals, arguing that guaranteed the Poarch Band of Creek Indians a monopoly on gambling machines.

Lyric and Alabama Theaters
Joe de Sciose

The Alabama House of Representatives approved Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed state lottery last night by an extremely tight margin.

Representatives voted 64-35 for the bill late last night, barely clearing the 63 votes required to clear the 105-seat House. The vote came after 10 hours of back-and-forth debate and two vote attempts.

Lottery supporters cheered in the House as newly-elected Speaker Mac McCutcheon announced the bill's eventual success.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

A lottery bill is heading to a critical vote in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Today’s vote could determine whether a proposed state lottery goes before Alabama voters later this year or if the bill dies in the special session.

House members will debate Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed state lottery. Bentley is seeking the first statewide referendum on the establishment of a lottery since voters rejected the idea in 1999.

A legislative committee will hold a public hearing later today on a lottery bill that narrowly passed the state Senate last week.

The House of Representatives Economic Development and Tourism Committee will hold a hearing this afternoon on the proposal to amend the state’s constitution to establish a state lottery. Senators approved the bill Friday on a 21 to 12 vote.

Alabama State House

The Alabama House of Representatives will take up debate on a lottery proposal championed by Governor Robert Bentley after it narrowly passed the Senate last week.

The bill would put the establishment of an Alabama lottery to the voters for the first time since 1999. The House Tourism Committee could hear the bill tomorrow.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

A proposal to establish a state lottery is heading to the House of Representatives as Senators were finally able to break their gridlock and narrowly pass a measure.

This bill, backed by Governor Robert Bentley, would put the idea of creating a state lottery to the first public vote since 1999. This bill does not allow for any electronic gambling terminals like the measure proposed by Sen. Jim McClendon. It merely establishes a lottery, with the vast majority of revenue going to the state's General Fund.

Two dueling lottery bills both stalled in the state Senate yesterday amid deep disagreements over how to enact the proposal.

Alabama senators debated both bills for several hours before finally giving up and moving on to other legislation. One, backed by Governor Robert Bentley, would simply establish a state lottery and use the proceeds to shore up the state’s general fund. The other, backed by Senator Jim McClendon, would also allow for electronic slot machine-type games at the state’s four dog tracks.

Alabama’s Legislature is once again scrambling to find additional funding in a special session.

Governor Robert Bentley reconvened the House and Senate in order to find new revenue for Medicaid, infrastructure, and state debt repayment. One of the most popular approaches seems to be constitutional amendment to establish a state lottery to direct revenue into Alabama’s General Fund budget. Several legislators are pushing their own versions of lottery bills, many of which include other forms of gambling as well.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s Senate and House of Representatives are back in Montgomery once again to try and find a solution to the state’s budget woes.

Governor Robert Bentley called the special session of the state’s legislature to find funding for Medicaid, infrastructure and state debt repayment. One of the most popular plans is to amend the state constitution to set up a lottery, with revenue directed into Alabama’s ailing General Fund.

The Alabama House and Senate are set to gather in special session today.

Governor Robert Bentley wants lawmakers to consider a constitutional amendment to create a state lottery. If the legislature says yes, then state voters will get to vote up or down on the idea in November. The Governor wants the money to go the general fund to help pay for Medicaid.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says lawmakers will have questions and suggestions.

With all of the wet weather along the Gulf Coast, The National Weather service is issuing a Flash Flood Watch in that area for the next few days. 

The flood watch is effect for some areas until Saturday morning.  It stretches along the Gulf Coast from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

The NWS says periods of moderate to heavy rain are expected through Friday across portions of coastal southwest Alabama.