4:40 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Bentley releases gameplan for special session, Farmer's Conference

Governor Robert Bentley has released his tax and budget proposals ahead of next week's special session on a budget shortfall.

Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis says the state is at a critical point, and must either make cuts to state services or find new revenue.

The governor is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He is also seeking to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut.

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4:41 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

Two more counties issuing Same-Sex Licenses

Two more Alabama counties say they will issue wedding licenses following the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.

Both Houston and Henry counties have refused to issue any licenses because of gay marriage.

But the Dothan Eagle reports that probate judges in both counties say they will now issue marriage licenses to anyone.

The change came at the end of a 25-day window in which the U.S. Supreme Court could have reconsidered its decision.

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5:05 pm
Thu June 11, 2015

Charter School guidelines, AARPs "Back to Work" program

The Alabama Board of Education has approved initial guidelines for regulating future charter schools in the state.

The board on Thursday voted in favor of regulations that include stipulations such as approval timelines, funding and safety.

The guidelines are rules temporarily set in place before a June 17 deadline.

State Superintendent Tommy Bice says the guidelines adopted are "broad categories" that will be addressed in permanent guidelines the board is putting together.

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4:37 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

NOAA Opens Tuscaloosa Water Center, State Legislature passes Education Budget

The University of Alabama is teaming up with Washington to study the nation's water. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association just unveiled its newest national center on the Tuscaloosa campus.

The twenty four million dollar National Water Center is a collaboration between several federal agencies. It will become the U.S. center for water forecasting.

NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says they plan to hit the ground running at the new center with a research project starting this summer.

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4:38 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

House approves Education Budget, Lake Wedowee fishing

The Alabama House has unanimously approved a nearly $6 billion education budget for 2016.  All 105 votes from state representatives went towards approving the Education Trust Fund budget.  A number of House Democrats and Republicans commended education budget committee chairman Bill Poole on an unusually smooth spending plan.

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Politics & Government
10:04 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Alabama Voters to Decide School Funding Issue

Alabama voters will decide Nov. 4 whether to give new protections to public schools against unfunded mandates enacted by the Legislature.

Amendment Four requires that at least two-thirds of the Legislature must pass a law that causes city and county boards of education to collectively spend more than $50,000 in local funds if the state is not going to pay for the increased expense. Currently, that can be done by a majority vote.

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Alabama-Education Fight
9:17 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

In Ala., GOP Dictates New Landscape For Education

AEA's new leader Henry Mabry now fight's an uphill battle on education since Republicans won a supermajority in the House and Senate in 2010.

The Alabama Education Association was once the unquestioned power in the Alabama statehouse. But that's changed since Republicans won a supermajority in the House and Senate in 2010.

Lawmakers around the country have made significant changes to teacher tenure, expanded charter schools and introduced different versions of voucher programs. But in Alabama, these kinds of changes have been part of a political upheaval not seen in most states.

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School Flexibility
7:23 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

School Flexibility Bill Headed To Senate For Vote

A bill to allow city and county school systems to opt out of state education laws could come up in the Senate for final vote next week.

Legislation that would allow city and county school systems to opt out of state education laws could come up for a final vote in the Senate next week.

A school flexibility bill cleared the House on Feb. 14 and was approved by the Senate Education Committee in a 5-3 vote Wednesday, with Republicans voting yes and Democrats voting no. A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says the bill is a priority and could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he's ready to sign whatever version of the bill the Legislature passes.

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Cutting School Revenue
5:12 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Settlement Costs Ala. Schools $70 M

Experts say the fiscal cliff settlement could cut funding to Alabama public schools by as much as $75M.
Credit istockphoto

Financial experts say the fiscal cliff agreement in Washington will cut funding for Alabama's public schools and colleges by at least $70 million annually.

The fiscal cliff settlement affects Alabama differently than most other states. That's because Alabama is one of the few states that provides its citizens with a state income tax deduction for the federal taxes paid. The federal settlement allowed a temporary reduction in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare to expire. It also raised the tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.

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2013 Legislative Session
5:03 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

2013 Session Of Alabama Legislature Begins

The 2013 legislative session is underway.
Credit Trance Mist / Flickr

The Alabama Legislature's 2013 regular session has started.

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey started the session in the Senate at noon. Speaker Mike Hubbard gaveled the House into session at 12:10 p.m.

The session will last until mid-May. Lawmakers must complete the session in 30 meeting days during 105 calendar days.

Major issue facing lawmakers will be balancing the General Fund and education budgets in a year when funds are expected to be tight.

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Community College-Courses
5:07 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Ala. Officials Considering Free College Courses

Ala. Community College System Chancellor Mark Heinrich is working on legislation to maximize participation in community college courses by offering them for free
Credit Shelton State Community College

State officials are considering introducing a bill that would allow high school students to enroll in community college courses for free.

Community College System Chancellor Mark Heinrich says he is working with state lawmakers to draft a bill on the issue as early as the 2013 legislative session. Heinrich made the statement Tuesday at the Economic Development Association of Alabama's winter conference.

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4:52 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Gov. Bentley Forms Career Ready Task Force

Gov. Robert Bentley is forming a task force aimed at helping students become more career ready.

Gov. Robert Bentley is creating a task force aimed at helping students better prepare for successful careers.

The governor signed an executive order Tuesday in Columbiana forming the College and Career Ready Task Force. He says it will bring together representatives of K-12 schools, two-year and four-year colleges and the business community to help the state offer a more coordinated approach to workforce development.

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Blue Ribbon Schools
4:06 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

5 Alabama Schools Named Blue Ribbon Schools

Five Alabama Schools have been designated Blue Ribbon Schools this year by the federal government

State and federal education officials are recognizing five Alabama schools which have been designated Blue Ribbon Schools this year. Officials say the schools earned the distinction based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels. U.S.