Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Governor Robert Bentley will deliver his state of the state address tomorrow.

The big issue is will likely be a half billion dollar tax hike. Bentley announced his plan on Friday and his annual speech will be his first big opportunity to sell it to what may be a skeptical Republican majority in the state house and senate.

Four hundred million dollars of the proposed tax hike would come from raising taxes on cigarettes and new car purchases. A pack of cigarettes would go up by eighty two cents. Buying a new car would be taxed by two to four percent.

Saying Alabama is in a budget crisis, Gov. Robert Bentley is asking legislators to approve $541 million tax increase.

Bentley on Friday unveiled proposals that include an 82.5-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase and raising the sales taxes on automobile purchases from 2 to 4 percent.

Bentley said he has been opposed to tax increases most of his life. However, he said "there is nothing more conservative" than the state getting its fiscal house in order.

The world is getting ready to remember the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma early next month. But another bit of Selma history is being remembered now.

100 years before the voting rights march and Bloody Sunday, the Battle of Selma took place during the Civil War. A historic marker was just unveiled at the corner of Highland and Summerfield Road.

In April of 1965, Union general James H. Wilson defeated the troops under Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. Wilson’s biographer, Edward Longacre, says Wilson was only 27 at the time.

Governor Robert Bentley is declaring a state of emergency ahead of a winter storm expected to bring snow, ice, and freezing rain to the region.

Thirty Alabama counties stretching from the Tennessee border to Birmingham and Tuscaloosa are under a winter storm warning from 9 AM until midnight today.

Tim Troutman is the lead forecaster at Huntsville’s National Weather Service. He says everyone in the warning area should prepare for a lot of snow.

Governor Robert Bentley will ask lawmakers to approve a $700 million tax and revenue package in the upcoming legislative session.

Bentley said Thursday he wasn't going to sugarcoat the state's budget situation. He said Alabama needs additional revenue to maintain services. Bentley also joked that it must be true if a Deep South Republican says raising taxes is the only option.

Bentley is expected to discuss the specifics of those new tax proposals in his State of the State address on the opening day of the legislative session, March 3.

Lawyers for House Speaker Mike Hubbard are now asking prosecutors to disclose any conversations they had with legislators. They are also looking for conversations with members of the executive branch about the case.

Defense lawyers filed a discovery motion Wednesday asking a judge to force prosecutors to disclose any calls with legislators or executive branch members. They also asked for any copies of conversations that might have been recorded.

Hubbard's lawyers had already asked prosecutors to disclose any media calls.

Bringing new industry into your state is often an expensive undertaking, full of tax breaks and other financial incentives. But as APR’s Alex AuBuchon reports, Alabama may start looking for results before handing over any cash...

     Governor Bentley is looking at changing how the state of Alabama tries to lure new business and industry to the area.That’s what he told an audience today at the Economic Development Association convention in Montgomery.

  Governor Robert Bentley says there are no easy solutions to the state's budget and prison problems. Bentley, in his second inaugural address, said state leaders face tough decisions as they come into office for the next four years. However, Bentley said state leaders will not shrink away from the challenge.

     A budget shortfall and the state's severely overcrowded prisons are expected to be the biggest problems facing the Legislature when it convenes in March. The governor is expected to give his proposals when he gives his State of the State address in March.

The state of Alabama and the country of Peru are a step closer to stronger economic ties. APR Student Reporter Sable Washington reports on today’s ceremony and a similar one is underway involving Europe…

Governor Robert Bentley is telling Attorney General Luther Strange that the state has limited resources to fight gambling.   The governor, in a January 13th letter to Strange, says the primary duty rests with local law enforcement.

The governor says he was responding to a memo that Strange sent district attorneys and local law enforcement officials suggesting that state police would be a "valuable resource" to them in trying to shut down gambling operations.  Strange said he expected them to enforce gambling laws.


Alabama’s Unmanned Aerial System Task Force has submitted a report to Governor Bentley. That report will lay the groundwork for regulating unmanned aerial drones throughout the state. Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan heads that task force. He says the privacy of Alabama’s citizens was a great concern when drafting the report, but compared UAVs to another hot-button privacy topic.

Polaris Industries is planning a manufacturing plant that will bring as many as 2,000 jobs to north Alabama.  Governor Robert Bentley and other leaders announced the factory during an event in Huntsville on Friday.

The 600,000-square-foot plant will construct off-road vehicles in Limestone County west of Huntsville. Production is slated for 2016.The project adds a new twist to Alabama's growing vehicle industry, which mainly involves automobiles.

Alabama's unemployment rate is down to 6 percent.   The preliminary jobless rate announced Friday represents the state's best unemployment numbers in more than six years. But the state is still slightly above the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.

 Governor Robert Bentley's office says the November jobless rate is an improvement from October, when the rate was 6.3 percent. It's also better than the numbers a year ago.


Governor Robert Bentley may be softening his position on expanding Medicaid. APR’s Pat Duggins reports…

Governor Robert Bentley is challenging legislators to be leaders as they address the state's budget crisis next year.

  Bentley says he wants to make significant changes instead of putting a Band-Aid on the state's budget for another year.  The governor has said he will suggest solutions when he submits his proposed budget next year, but has not yet detailed what those will be.

 Legislators heard a grim General Fund presentation on the final day of legislative orientation.

Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to 6.3 percent, but it remains above the national average.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that Alabama's rate declined from 6.6 percent in September to 6.3 percent in October. That's the same rate Alabama recorded a year ago. The October rate is higher than the national figure of 5.8 percent.

Bentley says Alabama is seeing healthy growth in jobs and is seeing a decline in the amount of unemployment benefits being paid.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley has selected Alabama Power's top executive to serve as chairman of his inaugural committee.

Bentley says Mark Crosswhite of Birmingham will be in charge of planning an inauguration that brings people together regardless of political affiliation and that celebrates the things that make Alabama great.

Crosswhite is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Alabama Power.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he plans to use any leftover campaign funds to benefit the state.

Bentley said Friday he will set up a charitable organization to receive his leftover funds and then distribute them to projects. He said no projects are definite, but one group he would like to help is foster children.

Bentley did something similar with his inaugural fund in 2011. He raised $1.6 million in donations to pay for his inauguration and had more than $300,000 left. He donated that to the state General Fund to support state agencies during a lean budget year.

Alabama's health officer says his staff has monitored three people who traveled to Alabama from west African countries with Ebola outbreaks, and there have been no problems.

Dr. Don Williamson and Gov. Robert Bentley provided an update Thursday on Alabama's preparations for Ebola.


A free program designed to help people after a traffic accident is now available statewide.

Bullock County officials joined Gov. Robert Bentley on Friday to start participating in the Yellow Dot program and complete coverage statewide. The program began in 2009 in Etowah County.

Yellow Dot coordinator Lora Weaver says a Yellow Dot decal is placed in the back window of a vehicle. If a crash occurs, the dot alerts first responders to a yellow information packet in the glove compartment that lists health conditions, medications and emergency contacts. / Office of the Governor

Gov. Robert Bentley has surpassed the $6 million fundraising mark in his quest to win a second term in office.

Bentley has raised $6.1 million over the last two years, according to fundraising reports filed Thursday.

Republican Bentley maintains a lopsided fundraising advantage over Democrat Parker Griffith a month ahead of the November election.

Griffith has raised $347,000 in cash donations since announcing his bid for governor.

The former congressman has also loaned his campaign $391,000.

The Governor's Office

Alabama is whittling down the debt it owes to a state trust fund for money borrowed during the recession.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Thursday that the state will repay $70 million to the Alabama Trust Fund from fiscal 2014 revenue. Half of that was required by state law, and the other half became available because of extra revenue the state received.

Associated Press

The state teachers' organization, the Alabama Education Association, has become the biggest contributor to Democrat Parker Griffith's campaign for governor.

Griffith filed a campaign finance report late Thursday afternoon showing he had received a $300,000 contribution from AEA. Prior to the contribution, he was reporting $25,050 in his campaign account.

The contribution comes after AEA's political action committee reported borrowing $700,000 from a bank on Sept. 4.

A deputy state attorney general is asking for the appointment of an independent investigation into accusations that he interfered with a public corruption investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Sonny Reagan sent a letter Monday to his boss, Attorney General Luther Strange, saying he did nothing wrong.

Reagan asked for Strange or Gov. Robert Bentley to appoint an independent person to look into the accusations against him as well as a misconduct complaint Reagan previously filed against Matt Hart, who's a key prosecutor in the corruption probe.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley says anyone with information that leads to a suspect's arrest and conviction in an eight-year-old girl's death will receive a $5,000 reward.

Hiawayi Robinson was reported missing Tuesday, and her body was found on Thursday.

Bentley says in a statement released Friday that he and his wife were heartbroken by Robinson's death. He says state law enforcement agencies have assisted police in the girl's hometown of Prichard, and 10 State Bureau of Investigation agents will remain until an arrest is made.

Associated Press

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley and Democratic challenger Parker Griffith won't be speaking to the same audience at the same time, but they will be speaking on consecutive days.

Bentley is scheduled to address a convention of active and retired public employees Tuesday in Montgomery, and then Griffith talks to the group on Wednesday. Several other candidates for state offices are also on the agenda Wednesday.

The group, known as ARSEA/APEAL, is a combination of the Alabama Retired State Employees' Association and the Alabama Public Employees' Advocacy League.

A newly-created special commission is expected to help small business startups throughout the state and assist existing businesses in their expansion efforts.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is expected to announce the creation of the Alabama Small Business Commission Monday morning at the state Capitol building along with House Speaker Mike Hubbard, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and National Federation of Independent Business State Director Rosemary Elebash.

The head of Gov. Robert Bentley's security detail made $16,918 in August including overtime. reports the August income pushed Wendell Ray Lewis' salary, including overtime, so far this fiscal year to $153,000. That's with one month to go in the fiscal year. Lewis' salary is almost $50,000 more than the head of the state Department of Public Safety made in the same period. reports that during the last four years on Bentley's security detail, Lewis has made $563,000, or an average of nearly $141,000 per year.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is maintaining a large fundraising lead over Democratic challenger Parker Griffith.

The Republican incumbent has raised more than $5 million in contributions in his quest to win a second term.

Campaign fundraising reports filed Wednesday show that Bentley added more than $400,000 to his campaign war chest in August.