Deep budget cuts and a special session is looming after lawmakers failed to reach a revenue agreement. Alabama senators adjourned Thursday before voting on a bill to transfer $100 million from the Education Trust Fund to the cash-strapped General Fund. The leader of the state Senate Del Marsh said Thursday was frustrating. Marsh said the Senate is not willing to pass new taxes and a special session is expected. The Alabama House on Thursday passed legislation that would establish integrated care networks to allow more Medicaid recipients to stay in their homes instead of nursing homes.
Time is running out for Alabama lawmakers to review a lottery and casino bill. Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh said Thursday that the gambling proposal, along with other budget ideas, will likely be considered in a special session. Marsh had proposed allowing Alabamians to vote on crating a state lottery and allowing casinos at four state dog tracks. The Senate Tourism Committee approved the legislation, but his bill has not gotten a floor vote. Legislative rules make it difficult to pass controversial Senate bills in the final four days of the 30-day session.
Hyundai Motor America's top executive is telling the Advertiser newspaper that he doubts the Montgomery area will be considered for a new auto assembly plant. Hyundai CEO Dave Zuchowski said Montgomery may not have enough trained workers to staff a second plant. Zuchowski also said Hyundai could announce a site for its new assembly plant within the next 90 days. The head of Alabama Commerce Department Greg Canfield says the state can provide the workers for an auto plant.
Montgomery Public Safety Director Chris Murphy and Police Chief Ernest Finley say the lack of communication skills and the inability resolve conflicts are in part to blame for the surge in deadly violence across the city over the Memorial Day weekend. Montgomery Police Detectives are investigating five homicides, four shootings and one stabbing that left five males dead. The homicides occurred between Saturday and Monday on Shenandoah Drive, East Smiley Court, Malabar Road, Lower Wetumpka Road and South Court Street. Montgomery has recorded 15 homicides this year.
A lab technician at Auburn University has been arrested. 64-year-old Stephen Howard is accused of selling and distributing a date rape drug known as GHB. U.S. Attorney George Beck says Howard had a license to order substances through the university. Howard was arrested Friday; if convicted could face up to 20 years in prison.
Violence marred the Memorial Day weekend in the capital city. Montgomery Police say five people were slain in shootings and stabbings that occurred between Saturday and Monday. The latest homicide occurred Monday night on Lower Wetumpka Road where a male victim was pronounced dead at the scene. No arrests were made. Detectives are also investigating four unrelated homicides. A man was stabbed to death Saturday night at an apartment complex on South Court Street. Fatal shootings on Saturday and Sunday left three people dead on Shenandoah Drive, East Smiley Court and Malabar Road.
Alabama's governor has signed legislation meant to reduce severe overcrowding in state prisons. Legislators joined Robert Bentley at a bill signing ceremony Thursday. Alabama prisons house nearly twice the number of inmates they were designed to hold. Mobile state Senator Vivian Figures is a member of the prison reform task force, which crafted the legislation.
Today, the Montgomery Police Department will pay tribute to 28 fallen police officers and recognize the service of current officers at the annual Police Memorial Day Service. Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley and Mayor Todd Strange will place a wreath on the Police Memorial. An awards luncheon will be held this afternoon at the Renaissance Convention Center.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is raiding pain clinics, pharmacies and other locations in four southern states as part of a crackdown on prescription pain drug abuse. A federal law enforcement official says the early morning raids in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are the final states of a nearly yearlong operation by the DEA's drug diversion unit. Since last July about 140 people have been arrested, and agents expect as many as 170 more Wednesday.
It's the Alabama Senate's turn to consider a General Fund budget that would make deep cuts of about nine percent or more to state agencies. The Alabama House, voting along party lines, approved the budget on a 66-36 vote Tuesday. Democrat Patricia Todd of Birmingham was vocal about her opposition. But the legislator who helped to write the General Fund budget, Steve Clouse, said there's a chance that additional revenue will be found. Governor Bentley has called the budget cuts irresponsible and vows to use his veto pen and call lawmakers into a special session.