Alabama House of Representatives

Last night, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a dramatic cut to Medicaid as lawmakers try to balance the General Fund budget.

Legislators in the House approved the $156 million dollar Medicaid cut on a second vote yesterday. The first vote failed.

Immediately afterward, the House passed its version of a General Fund budget. Funding for public health, prisons, mental health, human resources and the state’s courts would be unchanged. All other state agencies would see a 5.5% reduction in their operating budgets.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

The Alabama State Senate and House of Representatives began their special legislative session yesterday, then quickly adjourned for three weeks.

Governor Robert Bentley had surprised lawmakers who were expecting the session to begin in August by calling it on just a few days’ notice. The session is necessary after lawmakers failed to pass a General Fund budget for the fiscal year beginning in October.

Members of the Alabama House of Representatives are returning to Montgomery today for what the speaker's office is calling a "legislative workday," despite the legislative session having ended and lawmakers being unable to take any official action.

Representatives plan to convene this morning at 10 a.m. The budget committee and several budget-related task forces plan to meet in the afternoon.

The Alabama House of Representatives has approved a General Fund budget that slashes $200 million from state agencies, after GOP lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on tax increases.

Representatives voted 66-36 for the spending plan yesterday. Most Democrats voted against the budget after criticizing the cuts.

The budget bill now heads to the Alabama Senate. House Speaker Mike Hubbard says his plan is to work with Senators for the rest of the legislative session to avoid some of the state agency cuts.

Aliceville oil train derailment

The Alabama House of Representatives has delayed debate on a series of GOP-backed tax bills aimed at solving the state's General Fund Budget shortfall.

Yesterday, leaders in the legislature chose not to debate that series of tax bills that have divided Alabama’s Republican party. House Rules Chairman Mac McCutcheon says the budget bills are still being worked on.

The main piece of legislators’ new revenue plan is a 25-cents-per-pack cigarette tax increase.

Republicans in the Alabama House are backing off proposals to furlough state employees for two days and to suspend longevity bonuses for a year.

Both ideas were considered to help the General Fund budget. But Speaker Mike Hubbard says they aren't needed after a change to a cigarette tax bill.

The proposals drew criticisms from Democrats who say they're pleased to see the ideas dropped.

Republican lawmakers in Alabama’s House of Representatives have a new proposal to end the state's budget crisis.

Yesterday, House leaders announced a plan to fix the General Fund budget shortfall through a combination of cost-cutting, consolidation and new taxes. They plan to raise taxes on cigarettes and car rentals, cap paid state employee holidays and transfer revenue from the Education Trust Fund to the General Fund.

The proposal would raise nearly $200 million in new revenue. That’s less than half the $541 million Gov. Robert Bentley wants to raise.

Alabama’s Senate could be debating allowing medical marijuana in the state soon, since a Senate committee approved a comprehensive medical marijuana bill yesterday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4 to 3 to pass the measure. The bill was likely able to pass committee because three Republican senators failed to attend the meeting.

The legislation, if passed, would allow patients who suffer from 25 specific conditions to purchase a maximum of ten ounces of medical marijuana per month from a state-regulated dispensary.

Democrats in Alabama’s House of Representatives say it’s time for the state to consider legalized gambling as an additional source of revenue.

House Democrats revealed their legislative agenda yesterday. It includes creating a state lottery and urging Gov. Bentley to negotiate a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The tribe would be allowed to operate table games without interference in exchange for giving the state a share of the revenue.

House Minority Leader Craig Ford said Alabama’s voters deserve the chance to vote on a state lottery.

Lawmakers in Alabama may ban the majority of abortions in the state if a bill currently in the House of Representatives is approved.

Rep. Terri Collins (R) of Decatur has proposed legislation to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Collins says that if the end of life is defined by the absence of a heartbeat, it makes sense to her to define the beginning of life with the start of a heartbeat.

Two Alabama economic development bills aimed at bringing new jobs to the state are another step closer to becoming law.

Alabama lawmakers passed legislation yesterday to revamp how the state offers economic incentives to companies.

The Alabama Jobs Act would create a pay-as-you-go model for tax abatements and other benefits offered to companies creating jobs or capital investment in the state. Alabama's present model offers those incentives upfront.

That bill is now headed to Governor Bentley's desk to be signed into law.

Lawmakers could give final approval very soon to legislation establishing charter schools in the state of Alabama.

The Alabama House of Representatives will debate a bill that would allow charter schools in the state this afternoon. That bill is expected to spark a filibuster from Democrats and other opposed lawmakers.

Charter schools are public schools that have freedom from the curriculum and regulation requirements placed on other public schools. Alabama is one of eight states without charter school legislation currently in place.

The Alabama House of Representatives approved a bill granting legal protections for judges, ministers and others who refuse to marry same-sex couples.

Representatives approved that measure by a 69-25 vote yesterday. It will now head to the Senate.

Republican Representative Jim Hill proposed the bill after getting calls from ministers and judges concerned that they would be required to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples if and when gay marriage is restored in Alabama..

Lawmakers want to keep the identities of the companies supplying drugs for lethal injections in Alabama a secret.

That's what a bill that just passed the state House yesterday in a 76 to 26 vote will guarantee. That bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

Alabama hasn't executed a death row inmate since 2013, partly because the state has had trouble obtaining lethal injection drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have historically shied away from associating their name with an execution drug.

The Alabama House of Representatives has approved a slate of tax bills that are part of Republicans' election-year agenda.

One proposal approved Thursday would create an independent body to oversee taxpayer disputes. Current law allows the Department of Revenue to appoint administrative judges to settle disagreements. Lawmakers say that system gives the agency too much power.

Another bill would let the Revenue Department suspend tax collections if the collection cost exceeds the revenue generated.

Two other bills are aimed at small businesses.

Vox Efx / Flickr

Voters in three parts of Alabama will participate in special elections Tuesday to help fill vacancies in the Alabama House of Representatives.

In House District 104 that covers part of Mobile County, a Republican runoff will be held between businesswoman Margie Wilcox and Susan Hightower, who's the wife of Republican state Sen. Bill Hightower of Mobile.

A state legislator from Wetumpka is quitting the Alabama House before the end of his term.

   Republican Rep. Barry Mask says he is resigning at the end of this month.

   Mask is the new chief executive of the Alabama Association of Realtors, and he will concentrate on that job full time.

   Mask is the third Republican to quit the House this summer. He announced his departure in a statement Tuesday.

   Reps. Jim Barton of Mobile and Jay Love of Montgomery both resigned their House seats previously.

Alabama House of Representatives

Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn has appointed representatives to fill committee leadership vacancies prior to the Feb. 5 start of the 2013 regular session.

Republican Rep. Lynn Greer of Rogersville will replace Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Capshaw as chairman of the Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee. McCutcheon recently became chairman of the House Rules Committee, replacing former Rep. Blaine Galliher of Rainbow City. Galliher resigned his House seat to take a position on the governor's staff.

Two Republicans appear to be headed to the Alabama State House of Representatives following special elections.

Republican David Standridge, of Hayden, won district 34 on Tuesday with nearly 55 percent of the vote. His Republican opponent Chris Latta, of Oneonta, received 45 percent. Alabama Republican Party Executive Director Timothy James Maloney said there was no Democratic contender. The district covers most of Blount County and part of Jefferson County.

Republican State Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Capshaw has been named chairman of the powerful Rules Committee in the Alabama House of Representatives.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn Thursday named McCutcheon to replace Republican Rep. Blaine Galliher of Gadsden as Rules Committee chairman. The Rules Committee sets the daily work agenda for the House.

Galliher resigned his House seat four months ago when Gov. Robert Bentley named him legislative director in the governor's administration.