drones

A bare-bones General Fund budget that could mean deep cuts for Medicaid passed a House committee and could see a House vote next week.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved the draft budget yesterday, putting it in line for a House vote next week. The state Medicaid commissioner says this budget will result in some deep cuts to Medicaid and other state services. Gov. Robert Bentley has already threatened to veto the budget unless lawmakers find more Medicaid funding.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's prison construction proposal is facing its first legislative test.

Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve an $800 million bond issue to build four new prisons and close most existing facilities. Some members of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee questioned aspects of the project during a public hearing Wednesday.

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Alabama’s Unmanned Aerial System Task Force has submitted a report to Governor Bentley. That report will lay the groundwork for regulating unmanned aerial drones throughout the state. Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan heads that task force. He says the privacy of Alabama’s citizens was a great concern when drafting the report, but compared UAVs to another hot-button privacy topic.

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Gov. Robert Bentley has created a task force to look at the potential uses of drones in agriculture, conservation and law enforcement.

Bentley says the new Alabama Drone Task Force will review the Federal Aviation Administration requirements for the use of drones in Alabama and establish the necessary guidelines.

State Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan is chairman of the task force. McMillan says it's time for Alabama to be proactive with ideas that enable the rapidly developing drone technology to be a positive innovation for the long term.

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A consortium of companies and universities in Alabama and Tennessee are hoping to develop a site where drones would be tested.

If approved, the facility could become one of only a half-dozen sites approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for research involving Unmanned Aerial Systems, more commonly known as drones.

Alabama and Tennessee have submitted a joint application in an effort to be selected as one of the six FAA UAS testing sites. Testing would be done at a site near Savannah, Tennessee.