The Alabama Legislature is starting a massive reorganization of Alabama's law enforcement programs that proponents predict will save millions.
The Senate voted 17-2 Tuesday night to grant final approval to a law enforcement reorganization bill developed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley. The bill now goes to the governor for signing into law.
The Alabama House has approved legislation that supporters say will give local school districts the authority to make changes in rules and regulations to improve education in Alabama public schools.
The House voted 65-37 mostly along party lines to pass the legislation called the Local Control Flexibility Act. The Republican majority in the House supported the bill and said it would allow local schools to in some cases change rules and regulations that school officials feel are getting in the way of quality education.
A north Alabama lawmaker is suggesting possible legislation that he said would streamline the state's election process by eliminating some party primary runoffs.
Republican state Rep. Mike Ball of Madison told the Florence Times-Daily the primary runoffs are costly. He said sometimes in special elections the runoff could cause a district to go through most of a legislative session without representation.
Ball said he's researching the idea and hopes to file a bill by the end of March to discontinue most primary runoffs.
One of Alabama's longest serving legislators, former Democratic state Senate President Pro Tem Hinton Mitchem of Union Grove, has died. He was 74.
Direct Communications President Rick Heartsill, a friend of Mitchem, says the former senator died Tuesday after a long illness.
Mitchem was a longtime tractor dealer in Albertville. He was first elected to the Albertville City Council in 1968 and then to the state House of Representatives in 1974. After serving four years in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 1978 and in 1982.
Participants in a Statehouse summit meeting have agreed that preventing and reacting to incidents like the Connecticut elementary school shooting will be the top priority for the Alabama Legislature in the regular session that begins Feb. 5.
That was the consensus among speakers Wednesday at a meeting of lawmakers, law enforcement officers and educators at the Alabama Statehouse.
The meeting was called by House and Senate leaders to discuss the issue following the shooting last month that killed 26 at a Connecticut elementary school.