Gov. Robert Bentley's state finance director, Marquita Davis is leaving for a new job in Birmingham. Bentley's press secretary, said Davis has accepted a job as executive director of the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity. She will move to her new job after the current legislative session ends later this month.
The Alabama House approved a bill that allows gun owners to carry a pistol in their vehicle. The House voted 74-27 to pass the legislation. The Alabama Senate earlier passed the bill, which must go back to the Senate to approve changes made to the legislation in the House. Supporters have argued that President Obama is using recent shootings at schools and other public shootings as a reason to pass legislation reducing the right of Americans to bear arms.
The Alabama House passed a bill last night saying no public or private schools has to accept a student transferring from a failing public school under the new Alabama Accountability Act. The bill passed 62-40 and now goes to the Senate. Proponents said the bill keeps some systems from being overrun with transfers they can't afford. Opponents said it gives affluent suburban school systems a reason to reject transfers from inner-city schools. The legislation was sent to the state Senate.
The House health committee passed the Senate version of the Medicaid reorganization bill clearing the way for a vote by the House on Thursday. During the work session Tuesday bill sponsor Republican Senator Greg Reed of Jefferson, clarified that nothing in the bill would adversely affect pharmacy operators. He says the State Medicaid Agency will likely administer pharmacy programs on a statewide basis. If the Medicaid revision is adopted, the present fee-for-service system will be replaced by a set monthly payment system. Several regional care organizations would administer health care
Alabama's pre-kindergarten program has received high marks. The National Institute for Early Education Research said Alabama is one of only four states to meet all ten quality benchmarks, they include teacher training, staff-child ratios and support services. The state's voluntary pre-k program has met all quality standards for seven years in a row. Governor Robert Bentley has recommended additional funding for pre-k for the 2014 budget year.
The Alabama Attorney General's office has issued a statement Monday saying it is disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court has turned down a request to revive portions of Alabama's immigration law. A statement from Luther Strange's office holds out hope that future requests from other states will eventually sway the court to grant a review. Meanwhile, an attorney for the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center said he's not surprised the U.S.
The effort to remove the state sales tax from groceries is likely dead for another year. Senator Gerald Dial of Lineville got a Senate committee to approve his bill to phase out the four percent state tax, but he said it is unlikely he can pass it with only five meeting days remaining in the legislative session. State Rep. John Knight of Montgomery introduced a bill to remove the tax, but it never got brought up for a vote. Jim Carnes of the Alabama Arise organization that represents Alabama's poor says the grocery tax issue appears dead for this session of the Legislature.
Friday, Eastdale Mall officials implemented the new Parental Escort Policy. The program requires those under the age of 17 to be accompanied by a responsible adult age 21 and over on Fridays and Saturdays. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said abiding by the policy rests on the adults as well as the teens. The Parental Escort Policy will be enforced by a mall security company.
The proposed pay raise for Alabama's K-12 school employees keeps shrinking the longer the Legislature stays in session. Gov. Robert Bentley proposed a 2.5 percent raise in February, the House reduced it to 2 percent and now a Senate committee is recommending an absolute raise of 1 percent. The $5.8 billion dollar education budget awaits consideration by the state Senate.
The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee cut the proposed pay raise for Alabama's K-12 employees to one percent today. In introducing his education budget, Committee Chair Republican Senator Trip Pittman said its a spending plan for tough economic times. The $5.8 billion dollar budget and the pay raise now to to the Senate for consideration.