special session

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward says his prison construction bill is dead for this year’s legislative session.

Ward made the pronouncement yesterday. He says the bill already had heavy opposition in the House and was wounded further by tensions over redistricting and other issues in the final days of the session. Ward says opposed lawmakers had threatened to filibuster the bill.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is planning to call a special legislative session on prisons in the New Year.

Bentley says the special session will be isolated within next year’s regular legislative session as a way to compel lawmakers to focus on building new prisons.

The governor discussed his plans for the special session yesterday, but did not release any details on the package of bills he wants lawmakers to discuss.

Alabama's prisons are badly overcrowded. Bentley asked legislators to fund the construction of new prisons this year, but the legislation failed.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signs a compromise bill to use the state's oil spill settlement funds for debts, Medicaid and roads.

The Alabama Legislature gave final approval to the bill last night after lawmakers agreed to a compromise on how to use the money.

The plan sends $400 million to repay money borrowed during past budget shortfalls. It will also steer $120 million to the state's Medicaid program and $120 million to build roads in two coastal counties.

Alabama State House
AP

State lawmakers have decided how to spend Alabama’s incoming BP settlement money from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Yesterday, state Senators voted 22-8 for a compromise plan to use the money for a mixture of paying down state debts, funding Medicaid and building roads in coastal Alabama counties.

The bill now moves to Gov. Robert Bentley for his signature. The plan, if signed into law by the governor, will steer $400 million to repay state debt, $120 million to road projects and $120 million to the state’s Medicaid program.

Lottery bill dies in Alabama Senate

Aug 26, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed state lottery has failed in the Alabama Senate.

Senators voted 23-7 to reject changes the House of Representatives made to the bill today. Sen. Jim McClendon, the bill's sponsor, said the legislation is "dead" for the session.

Senate support for the bill crumbled after Democrats said they could no longer support it. Democrats objected to House language that prohibited electronic lottery terminals, arguing that guaranteed the Poarch Band of Creek Indians a monopoly on gambling machines.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says he believes a November lottery referendum is no longer possible, but is seeking an opinion from the attorney general's office.

Merrill believes the law is clear that today is the deadline for Alabama Lawmakers to approve a constitutional amendment and addit on the November ballot.  They missed that deadline.

A legislative committee will hold a public hearing later today on a lottery bill that narrowly passed the state Senate last week.

The House of Representatives Economic Development and Tourism Committee will hold a hearing this afternoon on the proposal to amend the state’s constitution to establish a state lottery. Senators approved the bill Friday on a 21 to 12 vote.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley
AP

A proposal to establish a state lottery is heading to the House of Representatives as Senators were finally able to break their gridlock and narrowly pass a measure.

This bill, backed by Governor Robert Bentley, would put the idea of creating a state lottery to the first public vote since 1999. This bill does not allow for any electronic gambling terminals like the measure proposed by Sen. Jim McClendon. It merely establishes a lottery, with the vast majority of revenue going to the state's General Fund.

The Alabama Senate has begun debate on a revamped lottery bill that would allow electronic gambling machines in more locations.  Senators expect to vote sometime this evening.

The bill was altered to allow electronic lottery terminals, which can resemble slot machines and video poker games, in Lowndes and Houston counties, in addition to four state dog tracks.

Two dueling lottery bills both stalled in the state Senate yesterday amid deep disagreements over how to enact the proposal.

Alabama senators debated both bills for several hours before finally giving up and moving on to other legislation. One, backed by Governor Robert Bentley, would simply establish a state lottery and use the proceeds to shore up the state’s general fund. The other, backed by Senator Jim McClendon, would also allow for electronic slot machine-type games at the state’s four dog tracks.

A Senate committee approves dueling lottery bills as lawmakers try to strike a compromise on gambling.

The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee pushed the bills through this afternoon. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says the bills were a work in progress and he wanted a vehicle for negotiations on the Senate floor.

Alabama lawmakers head into special session today.

The main topic of discussion will be Governor Robert Bentley’s proposed constitutional amendment creating a state lottery. If the House and Senate agree, then voters would get the final say in November. Bentley wants lotto revenue to go to the general fund with an eye on funding Medicaid.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says it’s a last-ditch effort by the governor to raise money…

Gov. Robert Bentley's support of a referendum on a state lottery comes six years after he criticized gambling as a detriment to society.

The governor has consistently supported the people's right to vote on gambling. However, in his 2010 campaign, Bentley opposed all gambling because it preyed upon those who could least afford to lose money.

Governor Bentley has set a date for the special session of the legislature. They will discuss proposals for creating a state lottery.  APR Student Reporter, Katie Willem has more...

Lawmakers are heading back to Montgomery for a special session on a state lottery.

Governor Robert Bentley made the announcement this morning in a video urging legislators to approve the measure and allow Alabamians to vote on the issue.

Bentley says he believes voters in the state will make the right decision if lawmakers approve the constitutional amendment for a state lottery…

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he is still considering a special session on Medicaid funding but has not made a final decision.

The governor says Medicaid needed at least an additional $15 million in order to have adequate funding in the next fiscal year. Bentley adds he expects to announce a decision soon.

Lawmakers budgeted $700 million for the state Medicaid program. Bentley said $785 million was needed to maintain the program.

The Alabama legislative session is over. Lawmakers have returned home, but some say very little was accomplished. APR’s MacKenzie Bates talks to one legislator who says there is still a lot work to do.

Lawmakers ended the session without agreeing a on a variety of issues like Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's prison construction proposal, how the state should spend the BP settlement from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the lack of money to fund the state’s Medicaid program.

Wilson Lock
Dailynetworks / Wikimedia

Alabama lawmakers are getting closer to a budget agreement after lots of activity in both chambers yesterday.

The Alabama Senate made a few revisions to the 25 cent per pack cigarette tax increase proposal before passing it 21-13. The House voted 52-42 to accept those changes.

Lawmakers also struck a compromise on transferring money from the education budget to the general fund. The House had approved a $50 million transfer, while senators wanted to transfer twice that. A conference committee approved a measure that will shift $80 million between the two budgets.

House Committee approves tax hikes, NASA Smartwatch App

Sep 9, 2015

An Alabama budget committee has approved a cigarette tax increase and other revenue bills as lawmakers try to fill a budget shortfall.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 8-6 for a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. The increase would raise $66 million annually.

The committee also voted for bills to raise the car rental tax from 1.5 to 2 percent, increase the car title fee from $15 to $28, and adjusts the business privilege tax so smaller businesses pay less and larger ones pay more.

Hubbard ethics case update, Special Session preview

Sep 7, 2015

A judge says indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard has been given a sufficient summary of the evidence against him.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker rejected a defense request Friday for a more definite statement from prosecutors of how they allege Hubbard broke the law.

Walker says the plain language of the indictment and prosecutors' court filings have provided adequate notice.

Hubbard faces 23 ethics charges accusing him of using his public offices to benefit his businesses.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is giving an open-ended call for next week's special session.  He says lawmakers can address any measure that would provide revenue to the state's ailing general fund budget.

The governor announced the items up for consideration in the special session. The governor wants a cigarette tax increase, the end of a state income tax deduction Alabama allows for FICA taxes paid and other budgetary changes.

Bentley makes appearance in Birmingham, Youth Dove Hunt

Sep 2, 2015

Governor Robert Bentley made his first public appearance Wednesday since first Lady Dianne Bentley filed papers last week to end their 50-year marriage. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold has more…

Governor Bentley appeared in a groundbreaking ceremony for a pharmaceutical company in Birmingham. Oxford Pharmaceuticals manufactures generic drugs and will create up to 200 jobs. The company is investing nearly $30 million at the Birmingham manufacturing site.

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.

Alabama legislators believe a second special session is inevitable.

Lawamkers are deadlocked on how to fill a more than $200 million budget shortfall.

Lawmakers are at the halfway point of the session and have yet to pass a major revenue bill in either chamber.

Gov. Robert Bentley says funding cuts passed by the House of Representatives are unworkable. He says lawmakers must keep working to a find a solution.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a special session to work on the budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He also wants to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut. The governor has also suggested ending the ability of taxpayers to claim a state income tax deduction when they pay their federal Social Security taxes.

Tuscaloosa Representative Bill Poole says he is not optimistic the legislature will draft a budget in this special session.

Legislators to return to Montgomery for Special Session

Aug 2, 2015

Alabama legislators return to Montgomery on Monday looking for something that eluded them for the last five months: agreement.

Legislators are resuming a special session called by Gov. Robert Bentley over a projected shortfall in the general fund budget.

Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve $302 million in taxes, including a tobacco tax increase.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said Senate Republicans have developed their own plan.

Alabama Special Session begins, Pluto Stamp

Jul 13, 2015

Gov. Robert Bentley says lawmakers need to "step up and be leaders" as they begin a special session on the general fund budget.

The special session begins this afternoon. Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve $310 million in revenue to level fund state agencies to avoid deep cuts in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

    

Governor Robert Bentley is calling a special session next week on the general fund budget.

The governor says that he will call lawmakers back to Montgomery on July 13.

The 2015 regular session ended in a stalemate after lawmakers could not agree on tax increases. Bentley vetoed a spending plan that would have cut $200 million from state agencies.

Alabama has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse and a state task force is attempting to do something about it.  The Alabama Drug Abuse Task Force announced the "Zero Addiction" campaign today with a website and radio and television ads.

The television and radio spots will begin airing in the next two weeks. A website lists treatment facilities and options in each Alabama county.

Task Force Chairman Barry Matson says they hope to spark honest conversations in families.

The Governor's Office

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says he plans to call a special session of the Legislature to use money from the state's education budget to pay for economic incentives to lure new businesses.

Al.com reports Bentley made the remarks Wednesday at a workforce development summit in Washington County. He said the special session would come after the election in November.