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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.

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.

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.

5 Alabama Schools Named Blue Ribbon Schools

Sep 7, 2012

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.