Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

State of Alabama

  Gov. Robert Bentley won't make a quick decision on whether to sign the state's Education Trust Fund budget or force lawmakers back into a special session over the issue of a raise for education employees.

Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis said Friday that there is no timeframe on when he will make a decision.

Bentley has until April 13 to sign the budget into law or it will die through a pocket veto.

NPR

Gov. Robert Bentley says he still hopes to get a 2 percent pay raise approved for public school employees.

Bentley said Monday that he's glad that he and legislative leaders agreed to increase funding for the education employees' health insurance program, and he says that should keep them from having to pay higher costs. But Bentley says he wants the Legislature to do more with three meeting days left in the legislative session.

The Associated Press

A spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley says he's supportive of $250,000 added to the state General Fund budget for hiring a prison ombudsman in the governor's office.

Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr added the money to the General Fund budget when his committee approved it on Wednesday. Orr says the ombudsman would start by focusing on complaints from inmates at Tutwiler Prison for women in Wetumpka. Some inmates at Tutwiler have complained about sexual abuse. Orr says the ombudsman would give the governor a direct line to what's going on in Tutwiler.

yellowhammernews.com

Gov. Robert Bentley may have no way to give education employees the 2 percent pay raise he has recommended.

Bentley recommended a 2 percent raise at the start of the legislative session. The Senate reduced Bentley's pay raise bill to a one-time bonus of 1 percent. That bill stalled in the House budget committee Wednesday. Bentley said Thursday he needs a pay raise bill of some type to amend the amount to 2 percent. He said he can't enact a raise by adding language to the state education budget.

Garry Knight / Flickr

Three candidates for governor are running on state lottery platforms.

Both Democratic candidates for governor, former U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith of Huntsville and Fayette businessman Kevin Bass, are proposing a lottery to pay for college scholarships. One of the Republican candidates, former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George, is advocating a lottery to pay for scholarships and several other programs.

http://governor.alabama.gov / Office of the Governor

Alabama's Scenic River Trail will be getting signs alerting boaters to navigation obstacles, takeout points, and locations for food, gas and lodging.

Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded $80,000 in federal recreation funds for signs along the 2,500-mile trail of navigable rivers, streams and lakes.

The Scenic River Trail Association estimates the grant will help provide at least 200 signs. The association says the signs will encourage more recreational use of Alabama's waterways and increase opportunities for outfitters and merchants along the trail.

opensecrets.org

Former U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith kicked off his Democratic campaign for governor by calling for the creation of a state lottery to fund college scholarships and an expansion of the state Medicaid program under the federal health care law. Griffith says a healthier, better educated Alabama will lead to more jobs. Griffith outlined his campaign agenda of jobs, education and health care in a letter posted on his new campaign website Wednesday. In interviews, he called Republican incumbent Robert Bentley timid for not expanding Medicaid. Griffith was elected to Congress as a Democrat.

politico.com

Gov. Robert Bentley says two National Guard wreckers have been dispatched to Interstate 65 near Cullman to help clear jackknifed 18-wheelers that blocked northbound traffic.

The governor says one lesson learned from the Jan. 28 ice storm was to get National Guard wreckers organized early to pull stalled vehicles to the side of the road until the weather clears and the owners can reclaim them.

Alabama Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Harris says the state has brought in contractor crews to assist with snow removal across north Alabama counties.

opensecrets.org

Former U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith of Huntsville is running for governor as a Democrat. Griffith turned in his qualifying papers at state party headquarters in Montgomery shortly before the deadline on Friday. Griffith served as a Democrat in the Alabama Senate and then was elected to Congress to represent part of north Alabama. After his election he switched to the Republican Party and lost a GOP primary bid to Mo Brooks, who now represents the 5th District. Griffith recently rejoined the Democratic Party.

The Governor's Office

Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to 6.1 percent.

Gov. Robert Bentley says that's a five-year low. The last time Alabama has a rate at or below 6.1 percent was October 2008, when the rate was 5.9 percent.

The state Labor Department says December's rate of 6.1 percent compares to 6.2 percent in November and 6.8 percent a year ago. Alabama's rate is below the national average of 6.7 percent. Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby at 3.8 percent, Lee at 4.7 percent and St. Clair and Cullman at 4.8 percent.

governor.alabama.gov

Gov. Robert Bentley is proposing state budgets that would require most state agencies to get by next year with about the same amount they are receiving this year.

Bentley's proposals include increases for all levels of public education.

Bentley's office released his recommended budgets Tuesday, which is the second day of the Legislature's 2014 session.

Bentley's state General Fund budget for the next fiscal year would spend $1.8 billion. The biggest increase is $70 million is for Medicaid. Courts would get a small increase.

blog.al.com

Alabama is launching a program called "State of Champions" to try to reduce the state's high infant mortality rate.

State Health Officer Don Williamson and Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday it will take time to reduce Alabama's rate, which is traditionally in the top three among states, but they are determined to do it.

RNC

A longshot Republican candidate for governor is campaigning again after being sidelined by illness.

Former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy George said Thursday that he was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic on Oct. 2. The illness involves a low blood platelet count. It required lots of treatments to get his platelet count back to normal and end his fatigue. But George says he's back to running.

yellowhammernews.com

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says Boeing used the state for leverage when it was shopping for potential plant sites during labor negotiations.

But Bentley said Wednesday that he believes the aircraft manufacturer really was interested in the Huntsville area as a new home for jetliner production. Bentley says putting together a proposal for the plant will help Alabama eventually.

Bentley made his remarks after a luncheon speech in Birmingham where he talked about the upcoming legislative session.

Senator Billy Beasley / Facebook

Democratic state Sen. Billy Beasley of Clayton is considering running for governor.

The four-term legislator says his campaign platform would include repealing Alabama's new private school tax credits and holding a statewide referendum on legalizing a state lottery.

Beasley says he's assessing support and will make a decision soon. The deadline for Democrats and Republicans to sign up is Feb. 7.

Alabama School Readiness Alliance

Advocates of early childhood education are expecting another expansion of the state's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds, and they are waiting to see how much the governor will propose when the Legislature convenes Jan. 14.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he will recommend an increase, but he's not saying how much yet.

The Alabama School Readiness Alliance, the Alabama Partnership for Children and others are seeking an increase of $12.8 million for the upcoming school year.

The Associated Press

Alabama's unemployment rate is once again down to a five-year low of 6.2 percent.

The governor's office said Friday that the state's jobless rate dropped two-tenths of a percent in November, down from October's revised rate of 6.4 percent.

The 6.2 percent rate matches a five-year low that was also achieved in July and August. It's also below the U.S. unemployment rate of 7 percent.

The November rate represents 132,381 people without jobs in Alabama, compared to 148,956 a year ago.

Boeing

Gov. Robert Bentley's office says Alabama is interested in seeing Boeing jetliners built in the state, but it isn't saying whether that might happen.

Boeing says it has started telling states whether they remain in the running to build its new 777X aircraft.

Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis said Friday the state remains in a non-disclosure agreement with Boeing, so officials can't comment on the project.

yellowhammernews.com

Gov. Robert Bentley says his disagreement with state pension fund Chief David Bronner over expanding the state Medicaid program had nothing to do with new controls being placed on Bronner's investment authority.

Bentley says one of his appointees to a Retirement Systems board came up with a resolution requiring the board's investment committee to approve Bronner's investments. Bentley said Tuesday that he didn't know about the resolution until after it happened, but he supports the oversight.

apr

Gov. Robert Bentley says Alabama is getting more than $30 million in federal grants to help with the recovery from deadly tornadoes in April 2011.

Bentley announced the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants on Tuesday. He says nearly $19 million more is still available for cities and counties to seek.

Tuscaloosa County will get $7.3 million for sewer improvements and demolition in Holt.

heritage.org

  Alabama teachers could be in line for another pay raise when the state legislature meets next year, but non-education state employees should not get their hopes up.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he plans to propose an increase for education employees. But he says the state General Fund is too anemic to do the same for non-education employees.

Bentley says he has not decided how much of a raise he will recommend for teachers.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley says he's assuring Airbus that it is still Alabama's priority even though he's courting their competitor, Boeing.

Bentley says he was up early Friday to work on Alabama's offer to Boeing to make the 777X aircraft in the Huntsville area, and he said he will work throughout the weekend to finish the proposal by its due date Tuesday.

One issue is how much money Alabama can offer after landing the Airbus aircraft plant in Mobile last year. Alabama and local governments offered several tax breaks and $158 million in incentives.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says he's assured the governor that the Legislature will make sure Alabama is competitive for the Boeing 777X aircraft assembly plant.

The Republican leader from Auburn said Thursday that he and Gov. Robert Bentley have had discussions about Boeing and have gone over different scenarios about what the Legislature could do to help.

Hubbard says he told the governor that legislators will do everything in their power to land the Boeing project.

Alabama's offer to Being is due Tuesday. Several other states are competing for the project.

governor.alabama.gov

Governor Robert Bentley says Alabama will be among the states submitting a proposal next week to land the assembly plant for Boeing's new 777X aircraft.

Bentley says he will meet Thursday with the state's chief industrial recruiter, Greg Canfield, to work on the proposal.

Bentley and other officials met with Boeing executives two weeks ago to try to get the company to develop the plant in the Huntsville area.

Bentley says Boeing has had operations in Huntsville for more than 50 years, and already owns a large tract of land at the Huntsville airport.

governor.alabama.gov

Governor Robert Bentley has announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing Alabama with $1.8 million in grants help fund emergency housing initiatives.

Bentley says that the grants will "prevent homelessness by giving a helping hand to Alabamians at a time of critical need."

The money is being provided by the Emergency Solutions Grant program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funding is meant to help agencies provide shelter, legal and health services and financial consulting.

The Associated Press

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he used his trip to Japan to strengthen existing relationships with Japanese companies.

Bentley told reporters Monday that his five-day trip focused mostly on relationship building, but also included some economic development and recruitment opportunities.

Bentley says he met with top executives from Honda and Toyota, both of which have operations in Alabama. He also met with executives at Hayashi Telempu, an automotive parts supplier.

governor.alabama.gov

Alabama's governor says the president is realizing that the federal health care law is unworkable.

The president announced Thursday that consumers should be allowed to renew individual plans that are slated to end because they don't meet the requirements of the federal law.

Gov. Robert Bentley said that's an acknowledgement that the complexities of the law are making implementation practically impossible.

The governor said he would like to see the law repealed and a bipartisan group brought together to create an accessible and affordable health care plan.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials are traveling to Japan on a trade mission.

The governor's office says the delegation will depart Sunday for a five-day visit in hopes of bringing more jobs to the state and strengthening ties with Japanese companies already operating in Alabama.

In Japan the group will meet with executives from companies including Honda and Toyota, which have large factories that employ thousands in Alabama.

The Javorac / Flickr

Alabama public health officials say they're aware of statistics in a report saying Alabama's prescription drug overdose rate has nearly tripled since 1999 and they are working with other agencies to confront the problem.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported Tuesday that a national report by Trust for America's Health says Alabama's fatal prescription drug overdose rate has jumped from 3.9 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 11.8 per 100,000 people.

Pharmacy Director for the Alabama Department of Public Health, Charles Thomas, says state officials are working to address the issue.

National Weather Service

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has declared a state of emergency across the state as Tropical Storm Karen approaches the coast.

In a statement Friday afternoon, the governor said the emergency was being declared in anticipation of heavy rains and high winds from the storm. Bentley added that tornadoes will also be possible.

Alabama's coast faces a possible 5-foot storm surge, high winds and dangerous rip currents as Tropical Storm Karen is expected to arrive over the weekend.

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