Last night, the Alabama Senate approved an Education budget and a two percent pay raise for K-12 employees. The Senate voted 22-11 for a nearly 5.8 billion dollar budget that would increase spending on schools next year. Then it voted 18-16 to give teachers a two percent pay increase. Both the Education budget and the pay raise bill must return to the House for review on Thursday.
A sweeping overhaul in the state's Medicaid program awaits the governor's signature. The new system replaces the way the Medicaid program delivers and pays for care with Regional Managed Care operators. Alabama Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson said the organizations will be required to improve the quality of care and provide better access to services. No current services will be eliminated.
Key senators say proposed changes to Alabama gun laws likely will head to a compromise committee of lawmakers from both chambers. Differences remain over the circumstances under which an employee can keep a gun in his car at a place of employment and when a citizen can carry a weapon in public. The chambers appear to have agreed to exempt businesses from civil liability related to the use of an employee's gun. Legislators said they've also agreed to make it harder for sheriffs to deny requests for a concealed weapons permit.
The Alabama Legislature has voted to legalize home brewing. The Senate voted 18-7 last night for a home brewing bill. The bill also passed the House and now goes to the governor for singing into law. Alabama has been the only state prohibiting home brewing. The bill allows adults to make 15 gallons of beer or wine every three months.