Tommy Bice

Alabama Department of Education Superintendent Tommy Bice says he will propose raising teacher salaries over the next three years.

Bice said yesterday his department would recommend raising teachers' salaries 5 percent in fiscal year 2017, which begins next October.

The state government will have the final word on public school spending next year. According to the department, the raise would cost $160 million.

Bice says he will seek additional raises in 2018 and 2019, with the goal of bringing teacher salaries in line with inflation.

Sureshbhai Patel
Brynn Anderson / AP

The state of Alabama’s effort to cut off Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood facilities was shut down in federal court yesterday.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson is ordering the state of Alabama to restore funding to Planned Parenthood. He says the state had no legal reason to cancel the agreement between those facilities and Medicaid providers.

Susan Watson is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama. She says the judge’s ruling should be the end of this funding discussion.

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / AP

Federal prosecutors are trying for a second time to convict former Madison police officer Eric Parker of using unreasonable force when questioning an Indian man in February.

57 year old Sureshbhai Patel appears to have been slammed to the ground by Parker in a police dash camera video.

Robert Posey is the first assistant U.S. attorney for the northern district. He says the prosecution has good evidence on their side.

Planned Parenthood
Getty Images

Planned Parenthood is taking the state of Alabama to court after Governor Robert Bentley halted Medicaid payments to the organization's clinics in Alabama.

A federal judge will hold a hearing later this morning on Planned Parenthood Southeast's request for a preliminary injunction. Last month, Governor Bentley announced that he planned to terminate agreements allowing Planned Parenthood to be paid for providing services to Medicaid patients.

Governor Robert Bentley is endorsing Ohio Governor John Kasich for the Republican presidential nomination. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold has more…

Governor Kasich joined Bentley at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham. Governor Bentley says Kasich has the executive level experience and background necessary to lead.  Bentley called Kasich to offer his support after seeing him in a recent debate.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says he will not back down as he battles with members of his own party over tax increases.

The governor says the cuts currently proposed to state services will cause a tremendous amount of pain to the citizens if lawmakers fail to plug a revenue hole.

The Alabama Senate will vote later today on a budget that slashes $200 million from Alabama’s state agency funding. Governor Bentley calls that budget unworkable and unacceptable. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says Republican senators remain largely opposed to any tax increases.

Last night, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a dramatic cut to Medicaid as lawmakers try to balance the General Fund budget.

Legislators in the House approved the $156 million dollar Medicaid cut on a second vote yesterday. The first vote failed.

Immediately afterward, the House passed its version of a General Fund budget. Funding for public health, prisons, mental health, human resources and the state’s courts would be unchanged. All other state agencies would see a 5.5% reduction in their operating budgets.

The Alabama House of Representatives is debating a large cut to Medicaid after a plan for filling a budget hole unraveled in a tension-filled special session.

Legislators will consider a $156 million funding reduction to Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and disabled.

The Republican proposal comes after a committee voted down an increase in the state's cigarette tax. But Democrats and some Republicans are opposing big cuts to Medicaid.

A new national study says Alabama has the lowest rate in the South for children without health care coverage.

A study by the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University says 4.3 percent of Alabama's children didn't have health coverage in 2013. Other Southern states ranged from slightly more than 5 percent to 11 percent. The national average was 7.1 percent. Alabama ranked 10th best among the states.

The study found that Alabama had nearly 11,000 fewer uninsured children in 2013 than in 2011.


The National Governors Association says Alabama, Nevada and Washington will participate in a year-long project to examine ways to spur changes in how states pay for Medicaid and other health care services.

The NGA says the project should help the states reach agreements with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for changes in the delivery and payment of health care and in the improvement of health outcomes.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

  Alabama's $1.8 billion General Fund budget for the next fiscal year has become law with only small changes from the governor.

Gov. Robert Bentley sent a line item veto the House of Representatives late Thursday making some alterations to the budget. Those changes became law when representatives adjourned for the night without taking action.

House budget committee chairman Rep. Steve Clouse of Ozark says the governor's changes to the operating budget were minor.

Monday is the last day for the uninsured to start signing up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  Anyone who hasn’t at least started the process of signing up by then will have no other way of doing so until November and will face a penalty.  Bill Corr is Deputy Secretary with the US Department of Health and Human Services. 

Bill Corr: “It’s important for people to sign up by then.  If they don’t, it’ll be November before they have another enrollment period.  If you signed up next November, you’d have insurance starting in January.”

State of Alabama

Alabama's governor says the state won't create a health insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act or use the law to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income Alabamians.

Gov. Robert Bentley made the announced Tuesday while speaking to the Birmingham Business Alliance. Friday is the deadline for states to notify President Barack Obama's administration whether they will create a state exchange or let the federal government implement one for them.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

The Alabama Nursing Home Association is proud of the fact that at least one nursing home is available in every county in the state. But if the budget referendum taking place tomorrow fails that effort could be in danger. John Matson is a spokesman for the Alabama Nursing Home Association. He says a vote of "no" tomorrow could spell deep cuts on the horizon.

Tuscaloosa, AL – It's been one week since cuts to the state's Medicaid budget took effect. A dire budget shortfall prompted state lawmakers to make spending cuts. Dr. Don Williamson is Alabama's public health officer and is also chair of the Medicaid Transition task force. Alabama Public Radio's Ryan Vasquez talked to Wiliamson about the short term and long term impact of the cuts as well as how to fix Medicaid going forward.