Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Newscast
9:46 am
Wed June 10, 2015

Chattahoochee Water Wars, Likely Candidate for UA Presidency

UA Presidential Candidate Stuart Bell

Governor Robert Bentley was not present at a private meeting between the governors of Florida and Georgia to discuss a long-running water dispute.

The meeting comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a challenge from Florida seeking to limit Georgia's withdrawals from the Chattahoochee River. Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been battling for decades over rights to take water from the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint river system.

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Newscast
9:29 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Chinese Drywall Settlement, Draft Beer in Fayette

Chinese drywall

Homeowners in Alabama as well as five other states whose houses were ruined by substandard Chinese drywall will find out what their settlement will be today.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon has scheduled a one-day, non-jury trial to hear expert testimony and determine a settlement amount for 3,000 homeowners. Those people will be replacing drywall and also repairing the damage caused by drywall manufactured by Taishan Gypsum Co.

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Newscast
9:21 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Special Session Looming, Alabama Writers Hall of Fame

Novelist Harper Lee
Credit Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Alabama’s legislators will be headed to a special session later this summer to devise a working General Fund budget.

The Senate passed a budget late last week that included $200 million in cuts to various state agencies. Governor Robert Bentley vetoed that budget, calling it “unworkable” and extremely damaging to Alabama residents.

APR’s political commentator Steve Flowers says one of the main reasons the General Fund budget was so difficult to pass is what lawmakers were hearing from the people they represent.

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Newscast
9:20 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Bentley Vetoes General Fund Budget, Moon Rock in Mobile

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Gov. Robert Bentley has vetoed an austere General Fund budget that included massive cuts for state agencies across the board.

Bentley says the budget approved by lawmakers last night is unworkable and would seriously hurt the people of Alabama. He vows to bring lawmakers back into special session this summer to come up with a new solution.

The budget would have cut $200 million from state agencies after lawmakers failed to agree on tax increases or any new sources of revenue.

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Newscast
9:31 am
Thu June 4, 2015

Senators to Pass Austere Budget, Huntsville School Desegregation Committee Seeking Parents

Alabama State Senate

Alabama legislators are desperate to end a legislative session marked by frustration and disagreements over how to handle a gaping hole in the state's General Fund budget.

The Alabama Senate will vote today on a General Fund budget expected to include significant cuts after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on new taxes or moving revenue from the state's education budget.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says a special session to try and patch some of those budget holes is looming.

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Newscast
9:23 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Education Budget Becomes Law, Senate Struggles With General Fund

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says lawmakers will pass a General Fund budget, and did not rule out adjourning the session early after the budget is passed.

Marsh says lawmakers will concentrate their final meeting days on bills that could save money or generate some funds for the cash-strapped General Fund budget.

However, the Republican Senate leader cautioned the bills weren't enough to make a "big change" in the budget that faces a $200 million shortfall next fiscal year.

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Newscast
9:17 am
Fri May 29, 2015

Time Expires on Gambling and Revenue Bills, House Passes Scholarship Reform

Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery

Time has run out on a bill to legalize gambling and a state lottery in Alabama, and efforts to avoid deep state budget cuts may be too little too late as well.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s gambling bill didn't get a floor vote on the Senate yesterday, and legislative rules make it extremely difficult to pass controversial Senate bills in the final four days of the 30-day session.

Senators also adjourned yesterday before voting on a bill to transfer $100 million from the Education Trust Fund to the cash-strapped General Fund.

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Newscast
9:29 am
Mon May 25, 2015

Alabama's Crumbling Governor's Mansion, Memorial Day Commemorations

Alabama National Cemetery in Birmingham

Alabama's Gulf Coast governor's mansion is vacant this Memorial Day. And, for that matter, every other day.

The 50-year-old house and land are worth $1 million, but the state hasn't repaired the building since it was damaged by a hurricane 18 years ago.

Fixing the mansion could present a political risk amid current debates over tax increases and spending cuts, and Gov. Robert Bentley doesn't need the house because he owns property nearby.

So the 7,500-square-foot governor’s mansion sits with boarded-up windows on a lot overlooking the beach.

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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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