Arthur Orr

Alabama lawmakers are stretching out this year's legislative session as tensions and disagreements on Wednesday derailed what they hoped would be their final meeting day.

Legislators abandoned a plan to conclude the session Wednesday as a number of measures had not reached final passage by late evening. They are returning to the State House Thursday morning.

"I think everybody — with clearer heads, at nine in the morning, making reasonable decisions— we'll still end up with a good session," said Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh.

A bill that passed the Alabama Senate yesterday would give payday loan customers longer to repay their loans.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr, would give borrowers 30 days to repay a loan, instead of as little as 10 days in some cases. Orr says that change would give people a much better chance at paying off the loan. He says the change drops the effective yearly interest rate of payday loans from 450 percent APR down to 220 percent.

A state senate committee has approved a bill that would require Alabama high schoolers to pass a basic civics test before graduating.

Senator Arthur Orr, the Decatur Republican that introduced the bill, says citizens right now don't know enough about their government. He cited a survey that found a third of people couldn't name the three branches of government.

Critics say Alabama schools already teach civics and call the test a waste of time.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says he isn’t looking for an appointment to Jeff Sessions’ senate seat. But he does plan to run for the office in a special election that may not be held until 2018.

Alabama’s junior U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions was recently tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as his Attorney General. That leaves a vacant seat that lots of Alabama politicians are clamoring to fill.

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Governor Robert Bentley is challenging legislators to be leaders as they address the state's budget crisis next year.

  Bentley says he wants to make significant changes instead of putting a Band-Aid on the state's budget for another year.  The governor has said he will suggest solutions when he submits his proposed budget next year, but has not yet detailed what those will be.

 Legislators heard a grim General Fund presentation on the final day of legislative orientation.

Authorities say the Alabama Department of Corrections has agreed to a new health care contract for inmates with a Missouri-based company.

The contract is with Corizon Inc., formerly known as Correctional Medical Services.

Officials say the state will pay $224.7 million to Corizon over the next three years.

Sen. Arthur Orr's staff released a statement Thursday saying the contract would save $23.8 million over the next three years. Alabama lawmakers had sought significant reductions in the cost of health care costs for the state's 25,000 inmates.

Gov. Bentley Says No New Taxes If Vote Fails

Aug 30, 2012
State of Alabama

Gov. Robert Bentley says he won't propose any tax increases if Alabama voters reject a proposal to take more than $437 million out of a state trust fund to use for the state General Fund budget. Bentley said he made a promise to the people of Alabama that he wouldn't raise taxes on families and he intends to keep that promise. Bentley said he will also veto any broad-based taxes passed by the Legislature. Senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr of Decatur said the governor's no-tax position means it's almost certain the Legislature won't pass a tax.