Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery today for their third attempt at balancing the state’s general fund budget.

The special session begins at 5 PM this afternoon.

So far, legislators haven’t been able to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Bentley makes appearance in Birmingham, Youth Dove Hunt

Sep 2, 2015

Governor Robert Bentley made his first public appearance Wednesday since first Lady Dianne Bentley filed papers last week to end their 50-year marriage. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold has more…

Governor Bentley appeared in a groundbreaking ceremony for a pharmaceutical company in Birmingham. Oxford Pharmaceuticals manufactures generic drugs and will create up to 200 jobs. The company is investing nearly $30 million at the Birmingham manufacturing site.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

Alabama lawmakers are heading back to the hill after the Labor Day weekend. APR’s Stan Ingold has more.

Governor Robert Bentley is calling a special session next week to try once again to pass a state budget.

The governor announced that he is bringing lawmakers back to Montgomery on September 8th.

The second special session is needed after the regular session and a first special session ended in a stalemate over proposed solutions to a projected general fund budget shortfall.

Eric Parker confrontation
Madison Police Department

A former Madison police officer stands trial today on a federal charge of using excessive force against an Indian man who was partially paralyzed during a confrontation.

Eric Sloan Parker is accused of violating the civil rights of 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel in February when he threw the man to the ground during a police stop.

Stan Ingold

            For years, Alabama was a “flyover” state for candidates seeking the presidency. That is, until recently. Within the past two weeks, the Yellowhammer State has been a popular destination for the seeking the Republican nomination.

            “You know I represent the state of Texas, we’ve got twelve hundred miles of border with Mexico, and we see firsthand the consequences of illegal immigration…”

Judge seals Alabama governor's divorce file

Aug 31, 2015

A judge orders that Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's divorce case be sealed from public view. Tuscaloosa Circuit Judge Elizabeth Hamner issued the order today after the couple's attorneys jointly requested that the records be kept private. Lawyers told the judge that it would be in the best interest to keep the divorce records private. The request noted the governor's position as a prominent public office holder. Dianne Bentley filed for divorce on Friday, saying the couple's 50-year marriage had suffered an irretrievable breakdown.

UPDATE: Alabama first lady Dianne Bentley has filed for divorce from Governor Robert Bentley, saying their 50-year marriage has suffered an "irretrievable breakdown." The complaint, filed Friday, says that attempts at reconciliation are futile and that the couple has been living apart since January. A lawyer for Dianne Bentley wrote that her client says "there is such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together." The complaint says the couple's personalities conflict. The Bentleys have been married since 1965 and have four adult sons.

Donald Trump
Jeff Haller / New York Times

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh will not propose his bill to allow a statewide vote on a lottery and casinos during the second special session.

Another Republican senator, Paul Sanford of Huntsville, says he plans to introduce his own lottery proposal.

The bill Marsh championed throughout the general assembly and first special session was a constitutional amendment to allow a lottery and casinos at the state's four dog tracks.

Six Hundred and fifty new jobs are coming to Tuscaloosa County.

Governor Robert Bentley announced that Samvardhana Motherson Group plans to build a new $150 million automotive supplier plant in the area.

The new 700,000 square foott facility in Tuscaloosa will produce painted bumpers, rocker panels, spoilers, interior door panels and other parts. This plant will supply Mercedes Benz U.S. International plant in Vance.

The Birmingham City Council will consider increasing the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

Local media reports the council could vote on an ordinance as soon as this evening.

Dozens of people rallied outside City Hall after a council meeting last month to show support for an ordinance requiring all businesses within the city and those contracted through the city to raise the minimum wage.

Governor Robert Bentley is endorsing Ohio Governor John Kasich for the Republican presidential nomination. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold has more…

Governor Kasich joined Bentley at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham. Governor Bentley says Kasich has the executive level experience and background necessary to lead.  Bentley called Kasich to offer his support after seeing him in a recent debate.

It’s been almost one week since the Legislature ended a special session without a general fund budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is expected to call another special session to deal with a projected $200 million shortfall in the state’s coffers.

As both chambers remain divided on the issue, the house did vote in favor of cutting $156 million from Medicaid before passing their version of the budget.

Huntsville Republican Representative Phil Williams says he was ashamed of that vote, but he believes the move sent a message throughout Montgomery.

The Alabama Senate narrowly passed a budget that slashes millions of dollars from Medicaid, mental health, law enforcement and nearly all other state agencies.

Senators voted 19-15 for the cut-filled budget yesterday after lawmakers failed to agree on how to fix a $200 million budget shortfall during the special session. The new budget is identical to the one passed at the end of the regular session and then vetoed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says he will not back down as he battles with members of his own party over tax increases.

The governor says the cuts currently proposed to state services will cause a tremendous amount of pain to the citizens if lawmakers fail to plug a revenue hole.

The Alabama Senate will vote later today on a budget that slashes $200 million from Alabama’s state agency funding. Governor Bentley calls that budget unworkable and unacceptable. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says Republican senators remain largely opposed to any tax increases.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is cutting off Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos implying the group was selling fetal tissue to research groups.

Governor Bentley called Planned Parenthood's practices "deplorable” in a statement yesterday. He says he doesn't want Alabama to be associated with the group. Bentley says the state is terminating an agreement with Planned Parenthood Southeast to serve as a Medicaid provider.

Last night, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a dramatic cut to Medicaid as lawmakers try to balance the General Fund budget.

Legislators in the House approved the $156 million dollar Medicaid cut on a second vote yesterday. The first vote failed.

Immediately afterward, the House passed its version of a General Fund budget. Funding for public health, prisons, mental health, human resources and the state’s courts would be unchanged. All other state agencies would see a 5.5% reduction in their operating budgets.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a special session to work on the budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He also wants to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut. The governor has also suggested ending the ability of taxpayers to claim a state income tax deduction when they pay their federal Social Security taxes.

Tuscaloosa Representative Bill Poole says he is not optimistic the legislature will draft a budget in this special session.

Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell
Matt Teague / Los Angeles Times

Probate judges from across Alabama are meeting in Tuscaloosa today. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold reports they’ll be talking about updates to marriage laws.

State lawmakers from Mobile and Baldwin Counties are drafting legislation to try and keep a large portion of the BP oil settlement money near Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

The proposed bill would request $500 million of the $1 billion currently destined for the state’s General Fund budget to instead be dedicated to the Gulf region. The projects that legislators would like to see funded in the area are primarily major road construction.

Civil rights advocates are pursuing a complaint against the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden.

The complaint covers a wide range of conditions-related issues including medical neglect and alleged abuse by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers against foreign detainees.

Christina Mansfield is the co-founder of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC). She says the report alleges how ICE officers have physically assaulted and coerced detainees into signing travel documents that could prompt deportation.

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.

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