Alabama Legislature

Alabamians will soon find out which of the state’s drivers' license offices, National Guard armories and state parks will shut down due to budget cuts.

The governor's office says state agencies will announce their plans for dealing with funding reductions later today.

Governor Robert Bentley says state agencies have to work with the amount of money appropriated to them by lawmakers for the new fiscal year beginning tomorrow.

The Alabama Legislature has approved a general fund budget and wrapped up their second special session.

Lawmakers gave final approval to a spending plan that will avoid cuts to critical state agencies such as Medicaid, prisons and mental health. Other state agencies will see cuts of around 5.5%. Gov. Robert Bentley says he expects to sign the budget into law after reviewing it this morning. He praised lawmakers for their hard work.

Wilson Lock
Dailynetworks / Wikimedia

Alabama lawmakers are getting closer to a budget agreement after lots of activity in both chambers yesterday.

The Alabama Senate made a few revisions to the 25 cent per pack cigarette tax increase proposal before passing it 21-13. The House voted 52-42 to accept those changes.

Lawmakers also struck a compromise on transferring money from the education budget to the general fund. The House had approved a $50 million transfer, while senators wanted to transfer twice that. A conference committee approved a measure that will shift $80 million between the two budgets.

Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery today for their third attempt at balancing the state’s general fund budget.

The special session begins at 5 PM this afternoon.

So far, legislators haven’t been able to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

A Pelham man was convicted Friday on charges dating back to last November for openly carrying a loaded gun to a polling site during the 2014 general election.

59 year old Robert Kennedy, Jr. was convicted on misdemeanor charges of voting obstruction and unlawful possession of a firearm. Kennedy is a founding member of BamaCarry, an advocacy group defending gun rights in the state.

It’s been almost one week since the Legislature ended a special session without a general fund budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is expected to call another special session to deal with a projected $200 million shortfall in the state’s coffers.

As both chambers remain divided on the issue, the house did vote in favor of cutting $156 million from Medicaid before passing their version of the budget.

Huntsville Republican Representative Phil Williams says he was ashamed of that vote, but he believes the move sent a message throughout Montgomery.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a special session to work on the budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He also wants to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut. The governor has also suggested ending the ability of taxpayers to claim a state income tax deduction when they pay their federal Social Security taxes.

Tuscaloosa Representative Bill Poole says he is not optimistic the legislature will draft a budget in this special session.


Governor Robert Bentley is calling a special session next week on the general fund budget.

The governor says that he will call lawmakers back to Montgomery on July 13.

The 2015 regular session ended in a stalemate after lawmakers could not agree on tax increases. Bentley vetoed a spending plan that would have cut $200 million from state agencies.

Alabama lawmakers are still struggling to finalize the general fund budget. Governor Robert Bentley says he’ll call the state House and Senate into a special session next month to talk about raising revenue. The legislature didn’t finish the general fund spending plan, but they all did complete the six billion dollar education budget. If you’ve ever wondered why Alabama has two budgets, well—APR political commentator Steve Flowers tries to sort it all out…

An Alabama House budget committee has approved a bill that would let state agencies increase fees to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index.

The House Ways and Means General Fund Committee today approved one of the few revenue ideas that has gotten traction this session.

The Senate-passed bill would let a state agency increase fees every five years. The change could not exceed an increase of two percent per year.

Time is running out for the Alabama Legislature to work out a general fund budget. 

State agency heads told members of the Senate budget committee yesterday that proposed cuts will close circuit clerk offices, slash Medicaid services and send state prisons into a danger zone of crowding and violence.

Chairman Arthur Orr says there are close to $150 million in revenue generating bills under discussion that could reduce the cuts if they win legislative approval.

The University of Alabama is teaming up with Washington to study the nation's water. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association just unveiled its newest national center on the Tuscaloosa campus.

The twenty four million dollar National Water Center is a collaboration between several federal agencies. It will become the U.S. center for water forecasting.

NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says they plan to hit the ground running at the new center with a research project starting this summer.

House approves Education Budget, Lake Wedowee fishing

May 21, 2015

The Alabama House has unanimously approved a nearly $6 billion education budget for 2016.  All 105 votes from state representatives went towards approving the Education Trust Fund budget.  A number of House Democrats and Republicans commended education budget committee chairman Bill Poole on an unusually smooth spending plan.

House to vote on budget, small buisness tax tips

May 19, 2015

The Alabama House of Representatives will vote on a stripped-down budget that cuts more than $200 million from state agencies.

Representatives are expected to approve the budget today and send it up to the Alabama Senate. There, discussions will continue on how to handle a shortfall for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Governor Robert Bentley has criticized the proposed cuts as "irresponsible." The governor has vowed to veto a budget with deep funding cuts.

Alabama General Fund budget, Hobdy's Bridge

May 14, 2015

Alabama’s general fund budget is slowly taking shape. APR’s Pat Duggins reports on action in the State House…

The House Ways and Means Committee has approved a budget that makes deep cuts to state agencies. The budget would cut Medicaid, mental health and state prisons corrections by five percent. Other state agencies would be cut by nine percent.


This is national Small Business Week, which recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.  More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business.  Many military veterans use the skills learned during their service time when they return home and find jobs or start a business.  Jim Salmon is the head of business lending for Navy Federal Credit Union and he says there are plenty of ways veterans can get help starting a new business …

The Alabama Legislature is honoring two Huntsville police officers for extraordinary courage in the line of duty.

 Lawmakers bestowed the annual Alabama Legislative Medal of Honor for Law Enforcement to officers Jason Moore and Reynard Robinson on Thursday.

   A domestic-violence suspect opened fire on the two officers with a shotgun and rifle last year. Moore was shot in the face, neck, and shoulder and still has dozens of birdshot pellets in his face and body. He stayed on the scene despite his injuries.

Medical Marijuana Bill and Battle of Selma anniversary

Apr 23, 2015

Alabama’s Senate Judiciary Committee passed a comprehensive bill to legalize medical marijuana.

If enacted, the bill would allow patients suffering from any of 25 specified medical conditions to purchase a maximum of ten ounces of marijuana a month from a state-licensed dispensary. Sales would be taxed, with revenue going toward police and sheriff’s departments to combat drug trafficking.

Michelle Obama
Ben Baker / Redux

Gov. Robert Bentley is giving lawmakers what he calls an "unvarnished" view of the cuts to state government that will occur without new revenue.

The governor sent a memo to each member of the Alabama Legislature last night. That memo describes the emergency operation plans state agencies produced in response to a draft budget lawmakers have already reviewed.

The reductions on the table include the layoff of more than 1,000 state employees, including 600 court employees and 132 law enforcement officers.

Committee members throughout the Alabama Legislature have a busy day ahead of them.

The Senate Education Committee will hold a public hearing this morning on a bill aiming to repeal the Common Core curriculum standards.

The House Ways and Means Education Committee will also consider changes to the Alabama Accountability Act, a state program that provides scholarships to help some families pay for private school.

State lawmakers consider cigarette tax increase

Apr 4, 2015

Gov. Robert Bentley has proposed a number of ways to raise revenue to heal Alabama's ailing budget.

One possible way is a higher cigarette tax. Alabama lawmakers are considering two proposals that would raise cigarette taxes to fill a major hole in the state's general fund.

Bentley's proposal would raise the tax on a pack from 42.5 cents to $1.25.

A second proposal would raise the tax rate by 32.5 cents per pack.

Experts say higher cigarette taxes can lead to smuggling.

  Governor Robert Bentley says there are no easy solutions to the state's budget and prison problems. Bentley, in his second inaugural address, said state leaders face tough decisions as they come into office for the next four years. However, Bentley said state leaders will not shrink away from the challenge.

     A budget shortfall and the state's severely overcrowded prisons are expected to be the biggest problems facing the Legislature when it convenes in March. The governor is expected to give his proposals when he gives his State of the State address in March.


Alabama state lawmakers will gather in Montgomery this week. APR’s Pat Duggins reports on orientation week for the state house and senate…

Alabama’s newly elected senators and representatives will hear presentations about the legislative process, state budgets and the role of a legislator. Members will also take a mandatory training course on the requirements of the state ethics law.

The Governor's Office

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he plans to call a special session of the Legislature to use money from the state's education budget to pay for economic incentives to lure new businesses. reports Bentley made the remarks Wednesday at a workforce development summit in Washington County. He said the special session would come after the election in November.

Lloyd Gallman/Advertiser

A federal judge says he will hold a trial on Alabama's new law requiring abortion clinic doctors to have approval to admit patients to nearby hospitals.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Monday that the trial will address one issue: whether the law violates the due process rights of women seeking abortion. The judge set aside all other issues raised by the clinics that sued over the law and by the state officials named as defendants.

The Alabama Legislature has agreed to create a council of business executives to advise state leaders on workforce development issues.

The Senate voted 28-1 Thursday to go along with changes the House made in a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Paul Bussman of Cullman. The bill now goes to the governor for signing into law.

The Alabama House was unable to meet Tuesday because many members couldn't make the icy trip to Montgomery. But the Senate got enough members to Montgomery to meet.


More than two dozen Alabama legislators have taken state officials up on an invitation to visit schools in their districts and talk with students, teachers and school administrators.

Legislators said they were impressed with the teachers and students they met during the visits Tuesday. But several legislators said they were disappointed to find overcrowded classrooms and not enough money for supplies.

Republican Rep. Greg Wren of Montgomery says he's disappointed teachers have to spend so much time filling out paperwork when they could be teaching students.

Demetrius Newton, a civil rights attorney who represented icons like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. before becoming the first black person to serve as speaker pro tem of the Alabama House, has died. He was 85.

Rep. John Rogers of Birmingham, a longtime friend of Newton, says he was notified by the lawmaker's family that Newton died Wednesday morning.

Newton was former city attorney for Birmingham and had served in the Legislature since 1986.

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.