Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

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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Newscast
9:27 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Baldwin County education tax, state budget crisis and tax deadline approaching

Terry Burkle, Executive Director of the Baldwin County Education Coalition

Baldwin County school officials plan to meet today to talk about the failure of a tax plan at the ballot box. That meeting will focus on what to do now.

The referendum was voted down March 31. It would have given the county an 8 mill property tax increase. Voters in Baldwin County also voted to end existing funding that gives Baldwin County 12 mills a year. Now, Baldwin County only has 8 mills total in education tax revenue, and needs to get to the state-mandated 10 mills.

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Newscast
8:39 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Jobs bills advance in legislature, charter schools update and Tuscaloosa plant sale

Todd Ziebarth, Senior Vice President for National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Two Alabama economic development bills aimed at bringing new jobs to the state are another step closer to becoming law.

Alabama lawmakers passed legislation yesterday to revamp how the state offers economic incentives to companies.

The Alabama Jobs Act would create a pay-as-you-go model for tax abatements and other benefits offered to companies creating jobs or capital investment in the state. Alabama's present model offers those incentives upfront.

That bill is now headed to Governor Bentley's desk to be signed into law.

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Charter schools
11:34 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Alabama Charter School Legislation is Here... Now What?

The voting is over regarding charter schools in Alabama. Now, the big question is how to implement these non-traditional schools and what happens next.

Governor Robert Bentley put Alabama in line with 42 other states by signing SB45 into law last month, allowing charter schools to operate. Perhaps the most asked question about these non-traditional schools is what exactly the difference is between them and a regular public school.

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Water use dispute
4:46 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Alabama, Georgia governors quarrel over water

(L) Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) Georgia Governor Nathan Deal

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal met recently to discuss a long-running dispute over water.

The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear a case out of Florida that seeks to limit Georgia's water withdrawals from the Chattahoochee River. Alabama officials are also concerned about Georgia's water use. Residents and officials in both Alabama and Florida argue that Georgia withdraws too much of the river upstream, which impacts wildlife and industry downstream.

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News
11:07 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Medicaid Expansion in Alabama: The Battle of the Five Armies

The current state legislation session is underway and one topic that seems to be getting a cold reception is Medicaid expansion. Governor Robert Bentley caused political shockwaves when he said he was at least open to the idea.

That guarded endorsement isn’t winning a lot of support in the state House and Senate.

But a proposal to insure more than 250-thousand Alabamians is not getting anywhere.

“We must take real steps to reverse the trouble health trends that have occurred in our state.”

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Newscast
9:31 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Charter school bill becomes law, Alabama ranks poorly on welfare reform and Mobile Aerofest

Ret. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Dave Glassman, President of Aerofest

A bill to establish charter schools in Alabama was signed into law yesterday by Governor Bentley.

The Alabama Legislature gave its final approval to the bill on Wednesday after several hours of contentious debate in the House of Representatives.

Republicans call the bill a session priority, saying that the schools will spark innovation and provide education choices for families.

Opponents argue the new schools will drain education resources and criticize the potential involvement of for-profit companies in certain school operations.

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Newscast
9:09 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Charter school bill passes legislature, ACLU fights state abortion law and Cottage Food Law class

ACLU attorney Andrew Beck

The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill to establish charter schools in the state.

The House of Representatives voted 58 to 41 to pass the bill after making a few changes. State senators voted 24 to 11 to adopt those changes. The bill now heads to Governor Bentley, who is expected to sign the measure into law after a legal review.

State Democrats have been especially critical of the bill. Nick Rose is the President of the Tuscaloosa Democratic Party. He outlined the party’s three main complaints with the charter school measure.

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