The Alabama Legislature met Tuesday for its first day of the 2015 regular session. Both chambers wrapped up in less than two hours after dozens of bills received their first reading. Governor Robert Bentley will deliver his State of the State address Tuesday evening when it is expected he will make the case for his tax and revenue package. Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed of Jasper says Senate Republicans are prepared to listen. Senate Minority Leader Quinton Ross of Montgomery says his party may be in the minority, but it's important that their voice be heard.
The Montgomery Department of Public Safety says the seven people injured in a ten vehicle pile-up on Interstate 65 are expected to recover. Initially, police said three of the victims had suffered life threatening injuries. Three tractor-trailers and seven passenger cars collided near the Hyundai Boulevard exit ramp Monday morning. Three people were killed, their names are being withheld by authorities.
Three people were killed in a major accident on Interstate 65 Monday morning that involved ten vehicles. The wreck reportedly happened near the Hyundai Boulevard exit. Montgomery Public Safety spokesperson Martha Earnhardt says it took most of the morning to clear the roadway. The names of those killed have not been released. The man, woman and child were all in the same vehicle. Injuries to three other people were considered critical and still four other individuals received non-life-threatening injuries. Police say the accident remains under investigation.
Selma will be in the national spotlight this week when thousands of people will descend on the west Alabama city to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. On Sunday afternoon, some 2,000 people, black and white, participated in a "Unity Walk" across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to kick off the commemorative civil rights march. Selma residents walked behind a large quilt sewn by citizens who were living in Selma during the 1960s. President Obama and former President George W.
Governor Robert Bentley says Alabama is in a budget crisis and is asking legislators to approve $541 million tax increase. Bentley unveiled proposals Friday that include an 82.5 cent per pack cigarette tax increase and raising the sales taxes on automobile purchases from 2 to 4 percent. Bentley says he has been opposed to tax increases most of his life, but he says "there is nothing more conservative" than the state getting its fiscal house in order. The governor is also proposing to shift earmarks from $187 million in state funds so they can be applied in other areas.
Governor Bentley says he will lay out his plans today to address a shortfall in the state General Fund budget, proposals that could put him at odds with some in his own political party. Bentley has said the state has no choice but to raise taxes and he plans to hold a news conference today at the State Capitol. The governor said last week that he plans to seek $700 million in taxes and revenue. He's also said cuts and consolidations can no longer keep the General Fund afloat. The legislative session begins Tuesday.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange Thursday provided an update on the city's preparations for the upcoming commemoration of the Selma to Montgomery march. He says the commemoration is his top priority for now but he is also keeping a close eye on the many candidates who have joined the mayoral race. Strange says he embraces the challengers and he looks forward to an aggressive campaign in April.
Alabama Power Company officials say about 12,000 customers statewide are without electricity this morning after nearly a foot of snow fell in some parts of northern Alabama. About 8,000 are in the Tuscaloosa area and about 3,500 are in the Birmingham area. A wide area from north of the Birmingham metro area to the Tennessee state line remains shut down because of dangerous travel conditions on interstates and U.S. routes. Eleven inches of snow fell in the Guntersvillle area and more than eight inches was measured in the Athens area.
The Alabama House Republican Caucus has announced its agenda for the 2015 legislative session. The slate of bills is being called "Alabama First" by members of the caucus as they say it seeks to put Alabama first education and economic development. Chairman of the House Rules Committee Mac McCutcheon says charter schools will be a priority.
The governor has declared a state of emergency ahead of a winter storm expected to bring a mix of snow, ice and freezing rain. Governor Robert Bentley has authorized 250 Alabama National Guard personnel to respond to any emergency requests for assistance. National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Laws tells WVAS the winter storm is taking aim at a large section of north Alabama. Laws enforcement agencies also have a plan in place to respond to stranded drivers. The wintry weather is expected to enter north Alabama today and move out of the state around midnight.