Alabama Legislature

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.

     

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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.

Al.com 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.

fox10tv.com

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.

istockphoto

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.

blog.al.com

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.

http://www.legislature.state.al.us

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 State Capitol
Wikimedia

The Alabama Legislature has wrapped up the first half of its 2013 session and gone on spring break.

Wednesday marked the 15th meeting day of the session. Lawmakers left the capital city Wednesday evening and will return April 2 for their final 15 meeting days.

The issues remaining for the second half of the session include the state education budget and the General Fund budget.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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.

repmikeball.com

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.

votesmart.org

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.

istockphoto

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.

http://www.nasda.org/

Alabama's agriculture department is reworking a proposed $288,000 consulting contract. Agriculture officials on Thursday pulled the item from the agenda of the Legislative Contract Review Committee. Commissioner John McMillan said he wanted to rework the contract's terms and expand its description. The committee's agenda had included a two-year, $288,000 deal with lobbyist and former state Rep. Noopie Cosby Jr. The contract requires him to create significant agriculture product exporting and rural development programs, among other duties, for McMillan.

http://www.legislature.state.al.us/senate

Another Democrat in the Alabama Legislature has switched to the Republican Party. Sen. Jerry Fielding of Talladega County announced Thursday that he's joining the Republican Party. His switch gives the Senate 23 Republicans, 11 Democrats and one independent. The Republican Party has been picking up party switchers since it took control of the Legislature in the November 2010 election. Four Democratic representatives switched shortly after the election: Steve Hurst of Munford, Alan Boothe of Troy, Lesley Vance of Phenix City, and Mike Millican of Hamilton.

Bill Would Make Changes To School Start Date Law

Aug 20, 2012

Two state legislators say they will introduce a bill in the Legislature that allows local school boards to set start and stop dates for the school year in their systems.

The bill by Republican Sen. Bill Holtzclaw of Madison and GOP Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood is being pre-filed this week. It would change a law passed by lawmakers this year that requires the first day of school be no earlier than the Monday two weeks before Labor Day and the last day be no later than the Friday before Memorial Day.

Blacks In Ala. Legislature File Redistricting Suit

Aug 10, 2012
Alabama Reapportionment Office / State of Alabama

The Alabama Legislature's black caucus has filed a lawsuit against the plan passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate to redraw lawmakers' districts. The Legislature's 33 black members claim the redistricting plan approved by lawmakers earlier this year is racial gerrymandering and reduces the voting influence of blacks by packing black residents into as few districts as possible. The lawsuit was filed Friday morning in federal district court in Montgomery.

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