The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Committee overwhelmingly approved four bills Wednesday geared toward strengthening the rules for receiving welfare benefits. One of those bills, sponsored by Republican Senator Trip Pittman of Daphne would require drug testing of welfare applicants with a drug conviction within the last five years. Pittman said the measure would hopefully spur an individual to give up drugs. Republican Senator Arthur Orr is sponsoring the other three bills. One increases the penalties for lying to get welfare benefits. Another requires applicants for
A not-so-flattering report from the U.S. Justice Department about conditions at Julia Tutwiler Prison in Wetumpka has prompted a state senator to seek more money for state prisons. Senator Arthur Orr of Decatur tells the Montgomery Advertiser that additional money must be found to correct issues the DOJ contend are unconstitutional. Also, lawmakers have begun debating a bill that would shorten the appeal time in death penalty cases. The Alabama House and Senate will meet today for a rare Wednesday session.
Republican state lawmakers want to be ready in case a state-led constitutional convention is called. Senators Trip Pittman of Daphne and Arthur Orr of Decatur have introduced bills establishing a process by which delegates would be selected and guidelines for them to follow. Senator Pittman said even though such a convention is probably a long way away, rules are needed. 20 states have already voted to support a constitutional convention under Article 5 for passing a federal balanced budget amendment, including Alabama. House Democratic leader Craig Ford said its' a campaign gimmick to
Weather forecasters in Alabama say another blast of bone-chilling air is expected to move into the state later today, bringing temperatures as low as 10 degrees to parts of northern Alabama and high winds across most of the state. By early Friday morning, low temperatures are expected to drop to around 10 degrees across northern counties. Temperatures early Wednesday morning in Montgomery are expected to dip to 20 degrees. The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for most of the state, including central counties.
Despite objections from conservative groups, the Alabama Board of Education accepted a state textbook committee's recommendations for social studies books to be used in public schools. The Eagle Forum of Alabama and ACT! for America had asked for the board to remove 11 books from the recommended list of 500. Voting in the minority, State School Board member Stephanie Bell agreed with those groups that the books didn't treat different religions fairly. Schools Superintendent of Alabama Dr.
Montgomery police say a 7-year-old boy was wounded by a stray bullet and is hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Police said the youngster was wounded Thursday afternoon near Crossway Street and Hilldale Drive, located off Mobile Road. Additional information on the boy's injuries and what led to the shooting have not been immediately available. Montgomery police said no arrests have been made yet.
The Alabama Department of Education has announced the new list of failing public schools, where student can transfer to other non-failing public schools or to private schools. The department said five schools were added to the new list. They are Barbour County Intermediate School, Lafayette High School, Abbeville High School, Jeremiah A.
Department store operator J.C. Penney will close its store in Selma and 33 other stores cross the U.S. as it tries to turn around results. The news comes after J.C. Penney earlier this month said it was pleased with holiday results but declined to give sales figures. Penney said it will eliminate 2,000 jobs. All are related to the store closings.
Montgomery police are investigating a bank robbery that occurred Wednesday morning. It happened in the 11 o'clock hour at the BBVA Compass bank on East Patton Avenue in the Normandale Shopping Center. Police say the male suspect apparently showed a gun, but on one was injured in the incident. Few details are available. There's been no word of an arrest yet.
Tuesday night's State of the State speech by Governor Robert Bentley concentrated mainly on creating jobs, his refusal to expand Medicaid and the massive federal debt. The governor told a statewide audience that he considered Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act to be broken programs designed to keep people dependent on government programs. The governor is calling for a two percent cost of living raise for education employees. He also recommended a raise of up to four percent for state workers. But only if the state takes in more revenue than expected.