Alabama Legislature

Alabama Lawmaker Confronts Speaker for ‘Racist’ Comment

An Alabama lawmaker shouted down a committee meeting speaker who dismissed marijuana arrest disparities as playing the “race card.” Democratic Rep. Juandalynn Givan, of Birmingham, warned former state Rep. Richard Laird on Wednesday to never return to the House Judiciary Committee for using the term. She also argued with the body’s chairman for interrupting her during the spat. Laird apologized…

Alabama Teachers Are Getting a Raise

The Alabama Legislature has given final approval to the education budget and a four percent pay raise for teachers. The House of Representatives and state Senate on Thursday approved conference committee reports on the legislation. The two bills now go to Gov. Robert Bentley for his signature. Bentley praised the passage of the bills, saying state leaders are sending a…

Lawmakers to Hold Hearings on State’s Medicaid Program

Alabama lawmakers will hold hearings this week on the state’s Medicaid program. The House and Senate general fund budget committee have scheduled a joint meeting Wednesday to discuss funding for the health care program that covers approximately a million Alabamians. House Speaker Mike Hubbard said last week that lawmakers plan to question Medicaid officials about the agency’s finances and costs….

Legislature Needs More Information Before Moving on with Impeachment Process

Alabama legislators say they need more information on an unprecedented process before they can move forward with articles of impeachment against embattled Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. Articles of impeachment filed Tuesday are on hold as legislators work to set up a new committee to vet the process. The committee could have subpoena power to hear testimony on allegations against Bentley….

Alabama Legislature Approves General Fund Budget

The Alabama legislature has approved a General Fund budget that Gov. Robert Bentley has vowed to veto over Medicaid funding. The Senate on Wednesday voted 20 to 13 to pass the budget, which is $85 million short of the amount Bentley says is needed to adequately fund the state’s Medicaid program. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says the state…

Alabama Legislator Wants to Decriminalize Marijuana Oil Possesion

An Alabama legislator wants to decriminalize the possession of medicinal marijuana oil in a bid to help families dealing with serious epilepsy and other medical conditions. The House Judiciary Committee heard public testimony last week on a bill put forward by State Rep. Mike Ball which would allow legal access to cannabidiol, or CBD oil. The legislation is a follow-up…

Senate Passed Legislation Affirming Alabama as a Right to Work State

The Alabama Senate has passed legislation reiterating Alabama’s position as a so-called “right-to-work” state. Senators on Thursday passed the amendment 25 votes to 9. Alabama voters will now have the chance to approve the amendment at the ballot box. Right-to-work states prohibit companies from requiring workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Alabama law already has the…

Bentley’s Cabinet Member and Staff Pay Raises are Criticized

Some legislators are criticizing Gov. Robert Bentley for raising salaries of his cabinet members and staff, some by double-digit percentage increases. Bentley raised the salaries by as much as $70,000 under a 2015 law that removed old salary caps- largely considered out-of-date- and allowed pay in a range approved by the State Personnel Board. However, Sen. Arthur Orr, the sponsor…

Legislature to Vote on Alabama’s General Fund Budget

The Alabama House of Representatives is expected to vote on a lean General Fund budget that Gov. Robert Bentley has already threatened to veto over Medicaid funding. Representatives will debate the budget Tuesday afternoon on the House floor. The spending plan is $85 million short of the amount Bentley says is needed to adequately fund Medicaid and continue a planned…

Alabama Prison Construction Bill Faces First Test

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s prison construction proposal is facing its first legislative test. Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve an $800 million bond issue to build four new prisons and close most existing facilities. Some members of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee questioned aspects of the project during a public hearing Wednesday. Some lawmakers say they have concerns about…