Update: Senate Passes General Fund Budget

State senators have approved an Alabama general fund budget after a debate where tempers flared multiple times.

The budget passed Thursday, 23-4.

Sen. Rodger Smitherman sharply criticized one senator’s unsuccessful proposal to take $600,000 from Birmingham tourism projects.

Senators also rejected an amendment that would have cut state agencies’ funding by 3.4 percent to in order to boost highway spending by $63 million.

Republican Sen. Paul Sanford of Huntsville said he wanted to return money that had been shifted from the highway department to other government spending. Opponents said the crowded prison system and Medicaid could not absorb the cut.

Sanford delayed a vote for about two hours by having the spending plan read aloud.

The House previously approved the budget and now will decide whether to accept Senate changes.

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