Representative Bill Poole

A federal appeals court has declined to stop an upcoming execution in Alabama.

Yesterday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied an emergency stay sought by inmate Christopher Eugene Brooks. Brooks is scheduled to be put to death tomorrow for the 1992 rape and murder of Jo Deann Campbell.

Brooks’s attorney had asked the court to stay the execution until a federal judge reviews the state's new lethal injection drug combination. A hearing on the constitutionality of those drugs is scheduled for April.

Lloyd Gallman / Montgomery Advertiser

In the last few years the state has had to tighten its belt to rein in spending during some lean budget years. Alabama’s teachers have had to shoulder some of that burden with pay cuts and increased contributions to their pensions. Teachers received a two percent pay raise last year, their first since 2007. More raises were expected this year to help bring teacher pay back to pre-recession levels. Governor Robert Bentley took up the cause during his State of the State address...

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The chairman of a Senate education budget committee says a raise for school employees appears unlikely in the fiscal year that begins next October.

Chairman Trip Pittman said Tuesday repaying the education budget's debt to the state Rainy Day Fund is a priority for fiscal 2015 because it's required by state law.

Pittman says debt and other obligations, including increased health insurance costs, will likely use up extra money in the fiscal 2015 budget.

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Republican state Rep. Bill Poole of Tuscaloosa has been named chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Education Committee.

Poole was appointed to the position Wednesday by Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn. Effective Aug. 1, he will replace Republican Rep. Jay Love of Montgomery, who last week announced he is resigning his position in the Legislature.