Retirement Systems of Alabama

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

The Alabama State Senate and House of Representatives began their special legislative session yesterday, then quickly adjourned for three weeks.

Governor Robert Bentley had surprised lawmakers who were expecting the session to begin in August by calling it on just a few days’ notice. The session is necessary after lawmakers failed to pass a General Fund budget for the fiscal year beginning in October.

Today may be the day of reckoning for supporters of football at The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

UAB President Ray Watts says he will announce his decision today on whether to reinstate the Blazers football program, as well as the bowling and rifle teams. The initial announcement to cancel UAB football angered students, alumni, and local community leaders.

We spoke to Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin about the situation. He says the loss of UAB football has a wide impact.

Alabama teachers and other education employees will soon be shelling out more for insurance if they smoke or have a spouse on the plan.

A state board voted on a number of changes to Alabama education employee benefit plans Thursday to help offset a nearly $140 million shortfall for 2016.

Retirement Systems of Alabama Deputy Director Don Yancey says the shortfall is mostly linked to rising health care costs.

A study says pension funds serving more than 335,000 Alabama state workers and retirees could run out of money in a decade if changes aren't made.

The study released Monday was conducted by the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy State University. It says the Retirement Systems of Alabama are underfunded and rely on unrealistic expectations of 8 percent investment returns per year when calculating how much money will be available to pay future retirees.

Gov. Robert Bentley says his disagreement with state pension fund Chief David Bronner over expanding the state Medicaid program had nothing to do with new controls being placed on Bronner's investment authority.

Bentley says one of his appointees to a Retirement Systems board came up with a resolution requiring the board's investment committee to approve Bronner's investments. Bentley said Tuesday that he didn't know about the resolution until after it happened, but he supports the oversight.

Sean Marshall / Flickr

A Canadian executive is free on bond in Alabama, and his attorney predicts the case will be resolved positively once all the facts are provided.

Gregory Aziz, the chairman and CEO of National Steel Car Ltd. of Hamilton, Ontario, was released by a Colbert County judge on $1 million bond Thursday. Aziz posted $250,000 in cash and will forfeit the remainder if he fails to appear in court.

Sean Marshall / Flickr

An Alabama grand jury has indicted the chairman of National Steel Car on securities fraud charges.

The indictment made public Friday accuses Gregory Aziz of Hamilton, Canada, of misleading officials with Alabama's state pension program to get financing for a rail car manufacturing plant that was never finished in northwest Alabama. The 10-count indictment claims Aziz misled officials about how much the plant would cost.

Aziz's attorney, Joe Espy, says they are reviewing the charges and hopeful that they can be resolved.