Alabama Senate

Newscast
10:03 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Senate committee passes medical marijuana bill, Bentley keeps parks open and Old Cahawba memorial

Alabama Senator Bobby Singleton

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.

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Newscast
9:38 am
Thu April 16, 2015

Lawmakers Look to Repeal Common Core, PCB Alcohol Ban to Expire, A&M Confucius Institute

Confucius Institute logo

A Senate committee has approved a bill that would repeal Common Core standards in Alabama public schools.

The State Senate Committee on Education and Youth Affairs voted 5-3 yesterday morning in favor of repealing current standards applying to math and English curriculums.

Those standards are built into the state's Alabama College and Career Ready Standards.

Supporters of the bill say repealing Common Core gives more control to state and local educators.

Opponents say it would put Alabama behind other states and disrupt learning.

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Newscast
9:47 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Percy Sledge Remembered, Group Backs Tax Plan and Senate Passes Education Budget

Kimble Forrister, Executive Director of Alabama Arise

The singer who became famous for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman" died yesterday. Percy Sledge had a massive impact on what became known as the "Muscle Shoals sound".

Sledge walked into a recording studio in Alabama's Muscle Shoals region in 1966. In a few weeks, his signature song "When a Man Loves a Woman" would become the first of his five gold records.

Dick Cooper is the Curator of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He says Sledge's legacy was defined when he was just 25 years old.

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Newscast
8:39 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Jobs bills advance in legislature, charter schools update and Tuscaloosa plant sale

Todd Ziebarth, Senior Vice President for National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

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.

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Newscast
9:08 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Prison reform bill hits Senate floor, Huntsville women's mentoring and Gulf Shores sea turtles

Julie Schumacher, acting Deputy to the Commander at SMDC/ARSTRAT, Redstone Arsenal

The Alabama Senate will start debating some sweeping changes to the state's prison system today.

Republican Senator Cam Ward is bringing the bill to the Senate floor, which would change sentencing and probation standards to try and reduce prison overcrowding.

The proposed legislation is based on a year of study by the state prison reform task force. One of the main changes is the creation of a new Class D felony level, which will keep low-level, non-violent offenders out of prison entirely.

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Newscast
9:42 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Senate passes multiple bills, Stutts recants opposition and Huntsville to expand fiber optics

Alabama Senator Larry Stutts

Yesterday was a busy day in the Alabama Senate. Two bills passed the Senate floor and are on their way to be heard in the House of Representatives.

The first is a bill that looks to change how Alabama recruits businesses and industry. The Alabama Jobs Act would create a pay-as-you-go model for incentives like tax breaks that the state uses to recruit companies.

Under the old model, the state would provide millions of dollars of funding up-front. This bill will allow Alabama to peg those incentives to the companies' performance.

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Newscast
8:24 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Charter school bill in House, prison reform bill headed to Senate, and kids "Kick Butts"

Alabama Senator Cam Ward

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.

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Newscast
8:38 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Prison reform bill in Senate committee, biblical marriage rally and J.F. Drake beer course

Mary Jane Caylor, director of workforce development at J.F. Drake State Technical College

A state Senate committee is expected to vote on a reform bill today aimed at reducing overcrowding issues in Alabama prisons.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 10 AM today. The bill, among other changes, would create a new felony category, Class D, for low-level theft and drug convictions.

People convicted of class D felonies would be sent to community corrections programs instead of prison.

The bill would also mandate a period of supervision after release from prison.

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Newscast
9:32 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Lethal injection bill passes House, Alabama women's poverty report and Windham inducted into HoF

Asma Lateef, Director of the Bread for the World Institute

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.

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Newscast
9:04 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Senate approves charter school measure, Hubbard ethics trial update and Barons nat'l anthem tryouts

Alabama Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Hubbard

The Alabama Senate approved a measure to establish charter schools in the state in a 22 to 12 vote last night. That bill will now head to the House of Representatives.

The proposal allows the establishment of up to 10 brand new charter schools in the state each year, and allows school districts to convert an unlimited number of existing schools to charter status.

Republicans say charter schools provide education choices to families and encourage innovation. Opponents say they will drain resources from existing public schools.

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Newscast
8:29 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Jimmie Lee Jackson remembered, state senate agenda and Tuscaloosa tax vote

Jimmie Lee Jackson

The city of Selma is preparing to remember the fiftieth anniversary of the attack known as "Bloody Sunday".

Today also marks fifty years since the funeral of civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson. His death at the hands of an Alabama State Police Trooper is considered one of the reasons Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Selma to help organize the voting rights marches.

Vera Jenkins Booker was the nurse that tended to Jackson when he was brought in to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma.

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Newscast
5:55 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

New State Senate Minority Leader, Toxic Waste Clean Up Plan and College Football Playoffs

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 Democratic state Sen. Quinton Ross of Montgomery is the new minority leader in the Alabama Senate.  The Senate Democratic Caucus announced that it picked Ross to replace Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, who did not seek another term. The caucus said Figures will become the group's treasurer.

Ross is taking over the leadership of a smaller minority. Going into the Nov. 4 election, Democrats held 12 of the 35 seats in the Senate. They now have eight.

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Senate Chamber Update
4:16 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Alabama Senate Chamber Getting New Look

The new Alabama Senate elected in November will get to serve in a redesigned Senate chamber in Montgomery.
Credit Alabama State Legislature

The new Alabama Senate elected in November will get to serve in a redesigned Senate chamber in Montgomery.

Senate Secretary Pat Harris says his staff is gutting the Senate chamber, including the removal of gray laminate desks and podiums that have been there since 1985. He's asked the state's two-year college system to build hickory desks and podiums that will be stained dark. The walls are also being redone and the audio system reconfigured to provide more evenly distributed sound.

Harris says the project should be finished by Nov. 15 and cost less than $200,000.

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Lethal Injection Drugs
3:34 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Committee Approves Secrecy For Execution Drugs

Alabama lawmakers are getting close to approving a bill that would keep secret the identities of manufacturers and suppliers of lethal injection drugs used in state executions.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

Alabama lawmakers are getting close to approving a bill that would keep secret the identities of manufacturers and suppliers of lethal injection drugs used in state executions.

The Senate Health Committee approved the legislation Wednesday in a 7-0 vote. It now moves to the Alabama Senate floor.

Rep. Lynn Greer, a Rogersville Republican, says states are struggling to get execution drugs because pharmacies and companies fear lawsuits and backlash from death penalty opponents.

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Common Core
4:15 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Common Core Sides Spar Over 'Opt Out' Bill

Opposing sides in the Common Core standards debate sparred over an "opt-out" bill in the Senate.
Credit iew.com

A state senator says letting local school systems opt out of Common Core would let policy makers compare outcomes between the new and old curriculum standards.

The Senate Education Committee is holding a public hearing Tuesday on the Common Core opt out bill. Schools could revert to the previous standards for math and English.

The latest bill brought out familiar arguments in the long-running Common Core debate.

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