Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

State of Alabama

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is scheduled to continue his Road to Economic Recovery Tour with stops in Fayette County.

Bentley's tour of Fayette County will begin at noon Tuesday with a lunch stop at Sam's Smokehouse Restaurant in Fayette. At 1:30 p.m. the governor will participate in a round table discussion sponsored by the Fayette Area Chamber of Commerce at the Fayette Civic Center.

At 2:40 p.m. the governor will tour the Ox Bodies' facility in Fayette. Ox Bodies is a locally based company that designs and manufactures truck bodies, trailers, parts and accessories.

Alabama National Guard

Most, but not all, full-time staff of the Alabama National Guard is covered by a new Pentagon policy providing benefits for same-sex couples.

Capt. Andrew Richardson of the Alabama National Guard says there are about 2,500 full-time Guardsmen in Alabama who are considered federal employees and are eligible for federal benefits. They are covered by the Pentagon's new policy.

He says the Guard has fewer than 300 full-time employees who are considered state employees, and they continue to receive state benefits. Those benefits don't cover same-sex marriages.

State lawmakers have approved another $50,000 for the company conducting a forensic audit at Alabama State University.

   A panel of lawmakers on Thursday approved the latest request for money for the independent audit. The Montgomery Advertiser reports ( that the increase could take the total cost for review up to $650,000.

   Jennifer Ardis, a spokeswoman for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, said the auditing process is taking longer because of difficulty in gaining access to needed information.

Judge Bill Cole's Facebook profile

A former Jefferson County judge who lost re-election last year will be returning to the bench to fill the seat opened by retiring Circuit Judge Alfred Bahakel.

Gov. Robert Bentley on Friday appointed former Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge J. William "Bill" Cole to fill the vacant seat.

Bentley's spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis tells that Cole "brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position and he is well qualified to serve on the court."

Gov. Robert Bentley says the Alabama Accountability Act is designed to help students in all public schools.

The governor spoke out Monday after the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal court suit seeking to block the law. The suit says some impoverished students can't access part of the law providing tax credits for families that move their children from failing public schools to private schools.

Bentley says another portion of the law gives those failing schools the flexibility to make changes and improve.

The Associated Press

Alabama's unemployment rate declined to 6.3 percent in July, which is the lowest rate in nearly five years.

Gov. Robert Bentley said Alabama has not had a rate that low since October 2008. July's rate was down from 6.5 percent in June and was well below the 7.6 percent rate recorded a year ago.

The state Department of Labor said the July rate represents about 135,000 people looking for work. That's down by nearly 5,000 people from the previous month.

Gov. Robert Bentley has changed the date of a special primary election for the vacant seat in House District 104 in Mobile County because of a conflict with a local election in Mobile County.

Bentley said Friday the special primary election in District 104 will be Tuesday Oct. 15 instead of Oct. 8 as originally scheduled.

A runoff election, if needed, will be Tuesday, Dec. 3.

If a runoff election is not needed, the general election will be Tuesday, Dec. 10. If a runoff is needed, the general election will be Tuesday, Jan. 28.


State officials are issuing $33 million in bonds to keep promises to new and expanding industries and refinancing nearly $140 million in old bonds to save $12 million.

Two state boards headed by the governor voted unanimously Wednesday to refinance $1.9 million in bonds sold in 2001 for improvements at state parks and $137.7 million in bonds sold between 2001 and 2005 to pay for incentives the state promised new and expanding industries.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will hold a ceremonial signing of bills aimed at reducing the abuse of prescription drugs.

   Bentley's office said the governor will be joined by officials with the Medical Association of Alabama and other leaders at the ceremonial signing ceremony. The governor officially signed the legislation earlier this year.

   The ceremony will be at 1 p.m. Monday in the Old House chamber at the Alabama Capitol.

The Associated Press

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley has raised more than $1 million in two months for his re-election campaign.
   Bentley filed a campaign finance report Thursday showing he has raised $1,009,270 since fundraising began in early June. He began with nearly $237,000 left over from his 2010 victory. After spending nearly $180,000, he has almost $1.1 million in his campaign chest.

   Campaign spokeswoman Rebekah Mason said receiving more than $1 million in two months amounts to a vote of confidence from Alabama citizens.

The Associated Press

Residents in eight Alabama counties will have an opportunity to safeguard their homes from severe weather.

Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday that more than $900,000 in hazard mitigation funds is available in Baldwin, Covington, Dallas, Geneva, Mobile, Monroe, Perry and Pickens counties.

The funds are a result of the federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Isaac in 2012. People interested in applying should contact their county Emergency Management Agency office.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley takes his Road to Economic Recovery Tour back on the road with a visit to Monroeville in Monroe County.

   A release from the governor's office says Bentley will begin the tour at about 11 a.m. Tuesday with a visit to the Monroeville town square on the West Claiborne Street side.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley has announced another $372 million in road and bridge projects for 45 counties in Alabama.

The announcement Wednesday alongside a $10 million bridge widening project in Calera will bring Bentley's Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program to nearly $1 billion in projects. The Republican governor says that will culminate the program for now because that's all the state should borrow at this time. Bentley wouldn't speculate on whether he would bring the program back if he's elected to a second term next year.

Alabama is getting 73 cents per person to help residents understand the Affordable Care Act and decide if they want coverage through a health insurance exchange.

Federal funding figures show Alabama's amount is lower than many states because Gov. Robert Bentley decided not to create a state-run health insurance exchange and is leaving it to the federal government. That meant Alabama's state government didn't seek any of the millions available for outreach and advertising.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will hold a ceremonial signing ceremony for a bill that allows qualified emergency workers to vote by absentee ballot if they are called away from their homes to respond to an emergency immediately before an election.

   Bentley has scheduled the ceremony for 10 a.m. Monday at the Circler of Flags at the Alabama Capitol. The bill passed the Legislature during the past session that ended in May.

The Associated Press

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will take his road to economic recovery tour back on the highway to visit Geneva in southeast Alabama. / Office of Governor Robert Bentley

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says a newly-formed task force is having success in combating rural crime, such as the theft of farm animals and equipment.

Bentley joined officials with the Agriculture Rural Crime Unit Thursday at a news conference at a cattle farm near Montgomery. Since June, agents with the newly-formed unit have made 14 felony arrests and have recovered more than a half million dollars in stolen property.

Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier says the new unit is part of an initiative to consolidate state law enforcement efforts.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley's office spent $621,712 on travel in state-owned airplanes in his first 21 months in office.

The Decatur Daily and TimesDaily obtained the figures by filing an open records request with the Bentley administration.

Most of the travel was on a six-passenger jet owned by the state Department of Transportation. That agency billed the governor's office $598,610. The remaining $23,102 was for using aircraft operated by two other state agencies.

Former Secretary of State Jim Bennett is returning to the office.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Tuesday that he's chosen Bennett to replace Beth Chapman. She's resigning at the end of the month to become a political consultant with the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Bennett served as secretary of state from 1993 to 2003. Then he served in Gov. Bob Riley's Cabinet and in Bentley's Cabinet as labor commissioner. He retired last year when the departments of Labor and Industrial Relations were merged.

The state Department of Commerce estimates Gov. Robert Bentley's industry-hunting trip to France last month will cost the state between $88,000 and $97,000.

The department says that estimate includes seven people: Bentley; his wife, Dianne; two security staff members; Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield; and two other department employees. The Department of Commerce leads the state government's industrial recruitment effort.

Department spokeswoman Gerri Miller said the goal of the trip to the Paris Air Show in mid-June was to bring home jobs.

Robert Bentley is finding that raising campaign money as an incumbent governor is much easier than doing it as a state representative seeking statewide office for the first time.

Bentley filed a campaign finance report Tuesday night showing he took in $422,500 in contributions in his first month of fundraising for his re-election campaign. He had raised about $15,500 at the same point four years ago, when he was a little-known state representative from Tuscaloosa running in the Republican primary with six other candidates.

State of Alabama

A commission established to study ways to revise the state Constitution has rejected a recommendation from Gov. Robert Bentley to expand the governor's power by making it harder for the Legislature to override his vetoes.

The commission is studying the 1901 Constitution and recommending proposed changes. Any changes would have to be approved by the Legislature and Alabama voters.

When the governor currently vetoes legislation, it takes a simple majority vote of the membership to override the veto. That's 53 votes in the House and 18 in the Senate. / Alabama Secretary of State

Republican Secretary of State Beth Chapman says she plans to resign Aug. 1 and enter private business with 17 months left in her term.

Chapman tells The Associated Press she has an offer in government and public relations consulting that she can't pass up, and she will end her decade in public office to take the position. She has not released details of the new job, but she said it doesn't involve lobbying.

State of Alabama

Gov. Robert Bentley has joined with legislators and military leaders to celebrate the enactment of three state laws designed to make Alabama more military friendly.

Bentley conducted ceremonial signings for the laws Thursday at the Capitol.

Alabama School Readiness Alliance

Alabama will award nearly $7.3 million in grants to increase the number of children enrolled in its pre-kindergarten programs.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced the grant recipients Wednesday. The spending is part of a $9.4 million funding increase approved by the state Legislature.

Bentley had earlier sought an additional $12.5 million in state funding for the program in Alabama's education budget, though lawmakers ultimately approved less money.

The Associated Press

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is expected to speak at the Alabama Community College Presidents Association summer conference.

   Bentley is slated to discuss the role of the state's community colleges in education, workforce development and job creation at the Monday morning meeting.

   The conference is being hosted at the Battle House Hotel in Mobile.

Alabama state employees are going to get their first raises in five years.

   Gov. Robert Bentley says he plans to reinstate merit raises starting Jan. 1. State employees got their last merit raises and cost-of-living raises in late 2008. There have been none since then because the recession affected state tax collections.

   Bentley signed a letter saying state employees have been asked to do more with less for several years, and it's time to resume merit raises. They can be up to 5 percent annually for meritorious performance.

Alabama state employees are going to get their first raises in five years.

   Gov. Robert Bentley says he plans to reinstate merit raises starting Jan. 1. State employees got their last merit raises and cost-of-living raises in late 2008. There have been none since then because the recession affected state tax collections.

   Bentley signed a letter saying state employees have been asked to do more with less for several years, and it's time to resume merit raises. They can be up to 5 percent annually for meritorious performance.

When the Legislature adjourned Monday just before midnight, more than 70 nominations to state boards died without a vote.

The affected bodies range from university governing boards to the state environmental management board and the Real Estate Commission.

Of the pending nominations, 56 were from Gov. Robert Bentley, while another 14 came from legislative leaders or self-perpetuating boards.

State of Alabama

The Republican majority in the Alabama Legislature has handed the Republican governor a major defeat by rejecting his proposal to delay the start of private school tax credits for two years.

The House voted against the governor's proposal 57-10 Monday. Then the Senate agreed 19-15 at the urging of the architect of the tax credits, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh. Republicans provided the decisive votes.