Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

AP Photo/Dave Martin

Democrats in the Alabama Senate are having trouble pressing their top issue.

Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures of Mobile offered a resolution Thursday urging the Republican governor to reconsider his decision not to expand Medicaid. The Senate's Republican leader, President Pro Tem Del Marsh, cut off debate on the resolution by getting it sent to the Senate Rules Committee.

Alabama's governor said the state stands to lose 24,000 jobs if automatic government spending cuts kick in on March 1.

Gov. Robert Bentley said the impact was calculated by the National Governors Association. It forecast the biggest impact in Alabama would be on defense-related jobs. Bentley said the Huntsville area would be the hardest hit. / Office of the Governor

Gov. Robert Bentley and legislative leaders kept a promise Wednesday to enact legislation requiring the repayment of $437 million taken from a state trust fund to bolster state budgets.

Bentley signed a bill passed by the Legislature that mandates the repayment to the trust fund through annual appropriations concluding in 2026. The bill was the first passed by the Legislature in the current session.

AP Photo/Alabama Governor's Office, Jamie Martin

The Alabama House has given final passage to a bill that requires full repayment of money transferred from an oil and gas revenues savings account to the state's General Fund budget.

The House voted 90-0 Thursday to approve an amendment put on in the Senate that requires repayment of the money even if the Legislature doesn't appropriate the funds.

State of Alabama

Gov. Robert Bentley says he wants to move quickly to implement two recommendations of a commission he appointed to study the availability and rising cost of homeowners insurance.

Bentley received the recommendations of the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission Wednesday at the Capitol. He says he will move forward with a recommendation to use part of the money Alabama gets from the BP oil spill to provide grants to residents of Mobile and Baldwin counties to fortify their homes against high winds.

Senate Democrats say their priority for the 2013 legislative session is getting Alabama to expand its Medicaid program.

The Senate Democratic Caucus announced at a news conference Tuesday that it hopes to get Republican Gov. Robert Bentley to reverse his decision not to expand the program under the federal Affordable Care Act. Bentley, a physician, is opposed to enlarging the Medicaid program under the current structure.

A new study of Alabama's agricultural and forestry industries says they contribute more than $70 billion annually to Alabama's economy and account for 22 percent of the state's workforce.

The Alabama Agribusiness Council and other groups joined Gov. Robert Bentley in releasing the study Tuesday.

Bentley said the last similar study was done in 1989, and the new study by Auburn University shows how important agriculture and forestry are to Alabama's economy.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

The Alabama House has voted to require repayment of $437 million that voters allowed to be transferred from a state savings account by 2026.

The House voted 80-19 Thursday for the bill by Republican Rep. Jay Love of Montgomery. It was the first bill passed by the House during the 2013 regular session.

State of Alabama

Alabama's governor is proposing an education budget that gives small increases to all levels of education from kindergarten through college.

Gov. Robert Bentley unveiled his recommended budgets Wednesday. His education budget includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for public school employees and a substantial expansion of Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds.

AP Photo/Dave Martin

Republican and Democratic legislators say Gov. Robert Bentley's plan to expand Alabama's pre-kindergarten program has broad support and will be approved by the Legislature.

Bentley called for the expansion in his State of the State address Tuesday night. Senate Democratic leader Vivian Davis Figures said an expansion will provide a solid foundation for Alabama children.

Gov. Robert Bentley says his proposed budgets for the new fiscal year are slightly better than this year's budgets.

Bentley told legislators in his State of the State address Tuesday night that Alabama's economy is improving and that's allowing him to recommend more education spending. His plan includes expanding Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds and giving a 2.5 percent cost-of-living raise to teachers. He did not recommend a raise for state employees.

Bentley's finance director, Marquita Davis, will release the details of his budget proposals Wednesday.

Alabama's governor and a legislative leader have compromised on consolidating law enforcement programs.

Gov. Robert Bentley and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh had offered different plans to improve efficiency, but they announced an agreement on a bill Tuesday.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

The Alabama Legislature's 2013 regular session has started.

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey started the session in the Senate at noon. Speaker Mike Hubbard gaveled the House into session at 12:10 p.m.

The session will last until mid-May. Lawmakers must complete the session in 30 meeting days during 105 calendar days.

Major issue facing lawmakers will be balancing the General Fund and education budgets in a year when funds are expected to be tight.

State of Alabama

Gov. Robert Bentley has announced 302 more road and bridge projects that the state will finance with bond sales.

The 302 projects announced Monday total $398 million. That boosts his Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program to 439 projects totaling $613 million.

The largest projects include $18.7 million in Tuscaloosa to extend Fifth Avenue to Hackberry Lane at the University of Alabama campus and $16.6 million in Foley to extend Pride Drive from Alabama Highway 59 to County Road 20.

The Alabama Republican Party has re-elected party Chairman Bill Armistead despite a campaign by the governor and other top Republicans to oust him.

The State Republican Executive Committee voted Saturday in Birmingham, with Armistead defeating challenger Matt Fridy. The winner will lead the GOP into the 2014 elections.

Gov. Robert Bentley, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mike Hubbard supported Fridy. Armistead had the backing of Chief Justice Roy Moore.

The Auburn University Board of Trustees has approved two men for positions on the board.

The Opelika-Auburn News reports ( that the board made the decision during a meeting in Montgomery Thursday afternoon.

Mike DeMaioribus was approved as the District 8 trustee; and Wayne Smith was approved as an at-large trustee.

The 58-year-old DeMaioribus is the senior vice president at Dynetics Inc., a Huntsville-based company that specializes in intelligence, missiles, aviation and space.

Al Whitaker / WHNT News 19

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he has called the mother of the 5-year-old Dale County boy kidnapped from his school bus on Tuesday. The boy is being held in a handmade bunker in Dale County in southeast Alabama.

Bentley said he has talked to the mother on the telephone. He described her as being "very distraught as I would be." The governor has four grown sons.

The governor said he and other state officials are "hoping for a peaceful" resolution of the situation.

Gov. Robert Bentley says it's unlikely teachers and state employees will get pay raises in this year's budgets.

The governor says his staff is studying the issue but that the money is just not there for a state employees' pay raise, which would mostly have to come out of the cash-strapped General Fund budget. He said it also looks uncertain whether the funds will be available for a pay increase for education employees.

Gov. Robert Bentley says it's unlikely teachers and state employees will get pay raises in this year's budgets.

The governor says his staff is studying the issue but that the money is just not there for a state employees' pay raise, which would mostly have to come out of the cash-strapped General Fund budget. He said it also looks uncertain whether the funds will be available for a pay increase for education employees. / Alabama State University

The lone Alabama State University trustee to vote against a separation agreement with former president Joseph Silver has resigned.

Kathy Sawyer did not provide Gov. Robert Bentley with a reason for her resignation, but says she does not believe she can make any contributions to the school's board of trustees. The newspaper reports Bentley thanked Sawyer for her service and says she has served with dignity and integrity.

State of Alabama

Bentley signed the order Tuesday, which makes state Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier the state's senior law enforcement adviser.

One of Collier's responsibilities will be to ensure the maximum number of state law enforcement officers are on the streets. The governor says consolidating administrative duties among departments is a way to accomplish that.

Bentley says his plan would consolidate some administrative functions such as purchasing, fleet maintenance and communications.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley plans a news conference to detail a plan for "increasing efficiency" among state-level law enforcement agencies.

Bentley plans to sign an executive order creating the position of Senior Law Enforcement Adviser. Bentley said in a news release Monday that Alabama Department of Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier will serve in this role and will help coordinate activities among state law enforcement agencies.

More than 500 people attended a rally on the steps of the Alabama Capitol to celebrate civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

King Day fell on the same day that President Barack Obama was sworn in for a second term as the nation's first black president.

Speakers Monday included Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who called the King Day celebration "a great day for America."

Earlier Monday, Southern Christian Leadership Conference President Charles Steele told a Unity Breakfast in Birmingham that there was still much work to be done to fulfill King's dream.


Competing plans are being developed for achieving more efficiency in Alabama's law enforcement operations.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh unveiled legislation Friday that would consolidate and reorganize the state's many law enforcement functions into a new Public Safety Agency. It would include state troopers, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, marine police, the fire marshal and others. It would abolish the state Department of Homeland Security and divide its duties among other agencies.

Gov. Robert Bentley is creating a task force aimed at helping students better prepare for successful careers.

The governor signed an executive order Tuesday in Columbiana forming the College and Career Ready Task Force. He says it will bring together representatives of K-12 schools, two-year and four-year colleges and the business community to help the state offer a more coordinated approach to workforce development.

Gov. Robert Bentley will join other officials in Cullman on Monday for the groundbreaking of an expansion at an automotive parts manufacturing company.

A spokesman for Bentley says about 200 jobs will be created by the expansion at REHAU. The company announced the 150,000-square foot expansion in June. The expansion will allow the company to develop and produce bumper assemblies for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and M-Class vehicles.

When the company announced the project, it set the first round of production for mid-2013.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Gov. Robert Bentley has become the first Alabama governor to serve as chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

The commission is an organization of 38 states involved in oil and natural gas production. Bentley's office said his goals as the chairman for 2013 include providing more extensive training for oil and gas inspector certification and bringing the states' regulatory and technical staffs together to share ideas and best practices.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley plans to visit locations in the Troy area in Pike County that were affected by Christmas Day tornadoes.

The governor plans to visit Brantley Mobile Home Park in Troy at 1:45 p.m. Friday. At 2:45 p.m. Friday he will visit a home on Pike County Road 2214 to survey damage from the storms.

Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner will join the governor to survey the damage. The governor made a similar trip Thursday to survey storm damage in Mobile.

The governor will also visit with local officials while in the Troy area.

Al Whitaker / WHNT News 19

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says officials aren't sure whether the state will qualify for federal aid to help with recovery from the Christmas Day tornado outbreak.

Bentley's comments came Thursday in Prichard, where he is touring damage left by the storm. A twister left millions in damage at a trucking company the governor visited.

Bentley says the state is still compiling damage assessments from the storms, which hit multiple counties across the state. He says officials are trying to determine what sort of aid the state and local governments could receive.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is scheduled to tour the Mobile area to visit neighborhoods that were impacted by the storm system that recently tore through the area.

Officials in Bentley's office have announced the governor plans to join Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner Thursday to ensure communities that were impacted by the storm are connected to the resources they need.