Alabama Senate Minority Leader Vivian Figures

The Associated Press

The Alabama Senate has approved legislation saying private schools and non-failing public schools don't have to take students transferring from failing public schools.

The Senate voted 21-12 Thursday for a bill making changes to the Alabama Accountability Act. The bill makes clear that a student transferring from a failing school in one school system to a non-failing school in another system has to provide his own transportation. It also tightens up which schools will be designated failing schools.

AP Photo/Dave Martin

Democrats in the Alabama Senate are having trouble pressing their top issue.

Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures of Mobile offered a resolution Thursday urging the Republican governor to reconsider his decision not to expand Medicaid. The Senate's Republican leader, President Pro Tem Del Marsh, cut off debate on the resolution by getting it sent to the Senate Rules Committee.

Senate Democrats say their priority for the 2013 legislative session is getting Alabama to expand its Medicaid program.

The Senate Democratic Caucus announced at a news conference Tuesday that it hopes to get Republican Gov. Robert Bentley to reverse his decision not to expand the program under the federal Affordable Care Act. Bentley, a physician, is opposed to enlarging the Medicaid program under the current structure.

Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey is to meet with Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh of Anniston and with Senate Minority Leader Vivian Figures of Mobile in preparation for the 2013 session of the Legislature.

The meeting with Ivey will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the lieutenant governor's office at the Capitol. The session begins Tuesday.

Ivey said each of the Senate leaders will answer questions from the news media and deliver brief remarks,