Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

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.

governor.alabama.gov / 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.

governor.alabama.gov

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.

dyn.politico.com

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.

wikipedia.org

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.

sos.state.al.us / 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.

dyn.politico.com

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.

dyn.politico.com

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.

governor.alabama.gov

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.

blog.al.com

Alabama's Republican governor isn't getting support from key Republicans or Democrats for his proposal to delay private school tax credits for two years.

The Republican architect of the tax credits, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, says a delay isn't needed.

The Senate Democratic Caucus and House Minority Leader Craig Ford say the tax credits should be repealed rather than delayed.

But Bentley is persisting. He sent a letter to legislators Friday and is contacting legislators urging them to support a delay when they wrap up the 2013 legislative session on Monday.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley wants the Legislature to delay Alabama's private school tax credits for two years.

Bentley told chamber of commerce leaders Wednesday that a delay will give schools time to try to get off the failing list and will help the state repay a $423 million debt before the tax credits begin.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate leader Del Marsh says they will discuss Bentley's proposal with their members.

Teacher lobbyist Henry Mabry says the tax credits were a horrible mistake and they won't be any better in two years.

blog.al.com

The schools Accountability Act, which will give tuition grants for students to transfer from failing schools, may not be in its final form.

At a chamber of commerce breakfast on Monday, Gov. Robert Bentley indicated that he is reviewing the act and is considering sending it back to the Legislature with executive amendments by mid-week.

The governor's staff confirmed that although no specific approach has been finalized, Bentley is considering some possible amendments that would clarify its intent.

governor.alabama.gov

Adoptions involving foster children will be streamlined in Alabama under a new law that Gov. Robert Bentley has signed.

Bentley and legislative leaders say the Best Interest of the Child Act will prevent foster families from having to wait several years before being able to adopt children in their care.

The law shortens from 15 months to 12 months the time that must pass after a child is in state custody before a court can consider a request to terminate parental rights.

http://governor.alabama.gov/

Gov. Robert Bentley's state finance director, Marquita Davis, is leaving for a new job in Birmingham.

Bentley's press secretary, Jennifer Ardis, said Davis has accepted a job as executive director of the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity. She will move to her new job after the current legislative session ends later this month.

Davis served as director of the state Department of Children's Affairs in Gov. Bob Riley's Cabinet and in Bentley's Cabinet before he made her finance director in August 2011.

NPR

Gov. Robert Bentley has filed tax returns showing he made more than $234,000 in 2012, and none of that was from a salary.

Bentley promised in his 2010 campaign that he would not take a salary as governor until Alabama's unemployment dropped to 5.2 percent. He also promised to release his tax returns each year. Press secretary Jennifer Ardis says Bentley makes his tax returns public so people will know he's keeping his promise not to take a salary.

governor.alabama.gov

Gov. Robert Bentley has signed legislation to help all counties participate in a program to repair roads and bridges.

The Associated Press

Gov. Robert Bentley has announced he will seek a second term.

The 70-year-old Republican governor put to rest Tuesday any speculation about his future plans.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard says he has no plans to run against Bentley.

Bradley Byrne, who finished second to Bentley in the GOP race in 2010, says he hasn't decided what he will do in 2014. Tim James, who finished a close third, says he's not running now, but you never say never in politics.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

Lawmakers are trying to ease the financial burden Medicaid places on Alabama by passing a bill designed to streamline the $5.63 billion program's operational system.

The bill under consideration could change the present "fee-for-service" basis of Medicaid payments to a for-profit, managed care plan or a combination of nonprofit and for-profit companies.

The Medicaid Advisory Committee commissioned by Gov. Robert Bentley does not want to use for-profit managed care companies.

www.fmcsa.dot.gov / U.S. Department of Transportation

A federal agency has struck down an Alabama law aimed at preventing heavy metal coils from falling off trucks and causing wrecks.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found the Alabama law placed "an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce." Passed by state lawmakers in 2009, the law required trucker drivers hauling metal coils on routes that either began or ended in Alabama to be certified in load securement techniques.

Office of the Governor

Alabama's governor has promoted his homeland security director, Spencer Collier, to secretary of law enforcement.

Collier will lead the creation of the new Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency. The agency is the result of a new state law combining many of Alabama's law enforcement programs, including the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Homeland Security.

governor.alabama.gov

Alabama's governor says he plans to sign legislation mandating stricter abortion clinic standards like Mississippi has done.

Opponents say Alabama's legislation will be challenged in court like Mississippi's.

The Republican-led House and Senate approved the bill Tuesday night, mostly along party lines. It now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley. He said Thursday he plans to sign it after his lawyers make sure there have been no unanticipated changes from the bill he endorsed early in the legislative session.

sos.alabama.gov

Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman says she won't seek any position in next year's election and will take a sabbatical from elective office.

Chapman has served two terms in her current office and could not seek a third term. She had been mentioned as a contender for higher office, possibly including governor, but she said Tuesday she wants to take a break to pursue entrepreneurial ideas and business opportunities. She said she will support Republican Gov. Robert Bentley for re-election.

She served one term as state auditor before becoming secretary of state.

Alabama is getting nearly $120 million in federal assistance to help with recovery from the deadly tornadoes in April 2011.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide the state government with $49.2 million to distribute to recovery projects. Tuscaloosa will get $43.9 million, Birmingham $17.5 million, and Jefferson County $9.1 million.

Bentley says the new funding will help several areas of the state that are still suffering long-term effects from the storms.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

  The state conservation department says it may eliminate some services and cut back hours of operation at state parks across Alabama.

The department's state parks director, Gregory Lien, has written a letter to community leaders explaining the circumstances.

Parks officials said the possible cuts stem from pending legislation that would divert $5 million in tax revenue that has been used in prior years to support the parks. Instead, the parks would rely only on the money they generate, which is not sufficient to maintain services.

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