Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Montgomery Business Journal / Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce

Gov. Robert Bentley's chief of staff, David Perry, is leaving and is being replaced on an interim basis by former House Speaker Seth Hammett.

Bentley said Perry announced during a staff meeting Wednesday that he is leaving. His new job is with Protective Life insurance company in Birmingham. Perry began as Bentley's state finance director in 2011 and then moved up to chief of staff.

blog.al.com

Alabama's governor is seeking federal assistance for five more Alabama counties that suffered damage from severe weather last week.

Gov. Robert Bentley says his administration submitted an application to the president on Tuesday for individual disaster assistance in DeKalb, Etowah, Blount, Tuscaloosa and Mobile counties.

The state is already receiving federal assistance for Limestone, Jefferson, Lee and Baldwin counties for the tornadoes and flooding that hit the state last week and claimed five lives.

Ryan Vasquez / APR News

Alabama's congressional delegation has written a letter to the president supporting the governor's request for an emergency declaration for Alabama.

Gov. Robert Bentley is seeking the declaration for severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that hit the state this week.

The letter from the congressional delegation urges approval of federal financial support for debris removal and emergency protective measures.

Bentley's request noted that at least 19 counties suffered damage and three people died in the severe weather.

blog.al.com

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has declared a state of emergency in response to a severe weather system that crossed the state.

Bentley said in a statement Monday evening that the declaration covers every county in Alabama, and that heavy damage has been reported in some areas that were in the path of a suspected tornado.

Bentley says all state agencies are ordered "to take necessary actions to respond to Alabama communities that need help."

The governor says 100 Alabama National Guard members are on stand-by and are ready to help in impacted areas if necessary.

Lloyd Gallman / Montgomery Advertiser

In the last few years the state has had to tighten its belt to rein in spending during some lean budget years. Alabama’s teachers have had to shoulder some of that burden with pay cuts and increased contributions to their pensions. Teachers received a two percent pay raise last year, their first since 2007. More raises were expected this year to help bring teacher pay back to pre-recession levels. Governor Robert Bentley took up the cause during his State of the State address...

politico.com

Gov. Robert Bentley and other leaders have broken ground on a 52-mile road that will someday complete a perimeter highway around Alabama's largest metropolitan area.

A ceremony was held Monday to mark the first phase of work on the Northern Beltline.

Bentley approved the first construction stage in the fall, but the project is expected to take more than 25 years to complete.

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

Gov. Robert Bentley's tax return shows he's still not receiving any income from being governor, but he and his wife reported an adjusted gross income of nearly $373,000 for 2013. About $233,000 of that came from Bentley selling his interest in the building where his medical practice was located in Tuscaloosa. Much of the remainder was from IRA distributions and Social Security. The governor and first lady paid more than $81,000 in taxes. They also donated more than $15,000 to charities. Bentley has been releasing his tax returns every year since he ran for governor in 2010.

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.

Pages