Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Governor Robert Bentley testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington yesterday. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold reports the Governor was highlighting Alabama’s prison reform efforts.

The goal of the committee’s hearing is to share lessons on successful criminal justice reform from states like Alabama. Several federal reform bills are currently before the U.S. House and Senate covering topics like reducing repeat offenders, changing federal sentencing rules and guidelines, and improving prison practices.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

The Alabama State Senate and House of Representatives began their special legislative session yesterday, then quickly adjourned for three weeks.

Governor Robert Bentley had surprised lawmakers who were expecting the session to begin in August by calling it on just a few days’ notice. The session is necessary after lawmakers failed to pass a General Fund budget for the fiscal year beginning in October.


Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says the state must solve a budget crisis to avoid deep cuts in government services.

      Bentley rolled out his plans for a special legislative session focusing on the state budget.

      The governor says he is seeking "fair minimal taxes" including a cigarette tax increase, changes to business privilege taxes, and either a soft drink tax or small changes to a state income tax deduction.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is calling legislators into a special session Monday to hammer out a General Fund Budget, but legislators may have other plans.

An e-mail sent from House Speaker Mike Hubbard to members of the House of Representatives hints at plans to circumvent the session. The e-mail describes a plan put forth by Speaker Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh to convene the legislature as asked on Monday, then immediately adjourn until August 3rd.


Governor Robert Bentley is calling a special session next week on the general fund budget.

The governor says that he will call lawmakers back to Montgomery on July 13.

The 2015 regular session ended in a stalemate after lawmakers could not agree on tax increases. Bentley vetoed a spending plan that would have cut $200 million from state agencies.

New law cracks down on rural drag racing

Jul 5, 2015

A new law in Alabama is targeting both rural drag racers and observers.

Gov. Robert Bentley last month signed the new law stiffening the penalties for the offense.

Anyone convicted of drag racing on a public road will lose their driver's license for up to six months for a first offense. Repeat offenders could face longer suspensions, a $6,000 fine and a year of probation.

Bystanders will face $500 fines. Previously, those who just watched drag races faced no penalties.

Alabama lawmakers looking for funds to fix the state's cash-strapped general fund might have to thank BP. APR's Stan Ingold has more...

Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange announced a 2.3 billion dollar settlement that will be paid to the state over the next 18 years.

About one billion dollars will be dispersed over 18 years to state's general fund. The other 1.3 billion dollars from the settlement will be used for environmental restoration over a 15-year period. The other

The United States Supreme Court upheld a ruling yesterday declaring that tax subsidies for health care from the federal government are constitutional.

In Alabama, that’s good news for more than 130,000 people that purchased insurance through the Affordable Care Act. In most cases, the federal tax breaks on those plans were what made them affordable enough to purchase.

Governor Robert Bentley on Friday released a statement on the same- sex marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Governor’s statement is below.

The TVA’s Widows Creek power plant near Stevenson is shutting down soon, and it’s already found a new tenant.

Google plans to build a $600 million data center at the site with construction beginning next year.

The data center will be Google’s seventh in the U.S. and fourteenth worldwide. They expect to add 75 to 100 high-paying jobs to the north Alabama region once the new data center is operational. The facility is expected to support general Internet traffic as well as the many user services that Google offers.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley put the Yellowhammer State in the national spotlight today. The Governor ordered the removal of the four confederate flags from the Capitol Grounds.

Bentley knows the Confederate flag is a part of the state’s history. But, he says it is offensive to people in Alabama and the symbol is often associated with hate…

The push to expand legalized gambling in Alabama is gaining some prominent new supporters.

Former Auburn University football coach Pat Dye and former Alabama Power Company CEO Charles McCrary say they will lead a foundation to legalize a state lottery and allow casinos at the state's four dog tracks.

The two attended a news conference in Montgomery yesterday to announce the formation of the new Alabama Jobs Foundation.

The group says a gambling expansion could create as many as 11,000 jobs and add $400 million to the state’s coffers.

Members of the Alabama House of Representatives are returning to Montgomery today for what the speaker's office is calling a "legislative workday," despite the legislative session having ended and lawmakers being unable to take any official action.

Representatives plan to convene this morning at 10 a.m. The budget committee and several budget-related task forces plan to meet in the afternoon.

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.

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.

Harper Lee
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Aliceville oil train derailment

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.