WVAS Local

State Auditor Seeks Governor's Testimony

Apr 22, 2016

State Auditor Jim Zeigler says he is ordering Gov. Robert Bentley to testify before him about state funds and if they were used to facilitate a relationship with a former top staffer.  It is unclear if the state auditor, who has often clashed with Bentley has any power to enforce such an order.  The governor's office did not have an immediate response.  Zeigler, citing a section of state code that allows him to get testimony regarding state accounts, Thursday ordered Bentley to appear before him on May 2nd.

House Budget Committee Considers Funding Source

Apr 20, 2016

A House budget committee has delayed action on a bill to use part of the state's BP money for road projects.  Committee members voted Wednesday to carry  over the proposed constitutional amendment.  The bill would have steered the largest share of projects to coastal counties.  Proponents say that would help the region hit hardest and pay for needed infrastructure across the state.  Opponents argued the money should pay back money previously borrowed from the Alabama Trust Fund, a state savings account from offshore drilling royalties.

Lawmakers Delay Vote on Prison Proposal

Apr 20, 2016

The budget committee in the Alabama House Wednesday discussed but took no vote on Gov. Robert Bentley's plant to borrow $800 million to build four new state prisons and close most existing prisons.  The committee will take up the bill again at a meeting Thursday.  The plan calls for the state to issue bonds and pay off the debt with savings from consolidating most of the existing prisons.  Most of the projected savings would come from reducing staff size through attrition, reducing overtime costs and reducing inmate health care costs by consolidating care facilities.  

States Consider Opting Out of Food Stamps Ban

Apr 19, 2016

As states look to reduce spending on prison and deal with overcrowded conditions, many are opting out of a federal law that bans convicted drug felons from ever receiving food stamps.  Texas and Alabama lawmakers recently changed their laws to allow food stamps to former drug felons, and Georgia is moving toward a similar change.  The idea is to help ex-offenders stay out of prison, where they would run up a big bill for taxpayers.  

Former ALEA Secretary Files Lawsuit

Apr 19, 2016

Ousted Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier has filed a lawsuit against Governor Robert Bentley, the governor's former top aide Rebekah Mason and the current ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler.  Mason's consulting company RCM Communications is also named in the suit.  The suit claims wrongful termination, reckless conduct and invasion of privacy among other things.  Collier has alleged that he was punished by Bentley because he refused to lie to the state attorney general's office about prosecutorial misconduct in the ethics case of House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Pediatricians Detail Possible Medicaid Cuts

Apr 19, 2016

Health providers are bracing for potential cuts to the Alabama's Medicaid Agency.  A group of pediatricians held a conference call Tuesday about the impact of the $85 million shortfall.  Dr. Tracy Tindle with Children's Medical Group in Birmingham says her small office would be forced to downsize.  State lawmakers will hold hearing this week on the state's Medicaid program.  

DeMarcus Ware Day

Apr 19, 2016

Tuesday Governor Robert Bentley held a special proclamation ceremony at the State Capitol building to honor DeMarcus Ware.  The outside linebacker is native of Auburn and Super Bowl Champion for the Denver Broncos.  Ware says the ceremony was about recognizing others for pushing him.  

Wellness Coalition Demonstrations

Apr 18, 2016

The Wellness Coalition is expanding its gardening initiative and offering free demonstrations to give local residents the knowledge to create their own community-based gardens.  Demonstrations will take place throughout Montgomery, Macon and Lowndes counties.  Interim Coordinator for REACH, Latrice Lewis says demonstrations show communities how easy it is to plant and grow their own food.  This year the coalition is adding a new demonstration that shows how to raise vegetables in pots on your porch or door step.  The demonstrations are open to the public and are free of charge.  

Tuskegee Arrest

Apr 18, 2016

Police have arrested a man wanted for shooting two Tuskegee University students early Saturday morning.  The two students were shot while sitting in a vehicle in a residence hall parking lot.  Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.  Police have placed Ras Hodari Ankanbi Jacobs-El in custody for the shooting.  He is also a student at Tuskegee University.  Officials say Jacobs El was arguing with the two victims off campus and followed them back to the university where the shooting occurred.  He faces charges of attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

2016 Tax Deadline

Apr 18, 2016

Millions of taxpayers face a midnight deadline today to file their tax returns, while millions of others will ask for more time, a six-month extension.  There was a three-day delay beyond the traditional April 15 deadline.  Friday was a legal holiday in the District of Columbia.  It was Emancipation Day, which commemorates President Abraham Lincoln's signing of an act that freed more than 3,000 enslaved people in the district and compensated their owners.  More than 150 million tax returns are expected to be filed in 2016.  As of April 8, almost 82 million refunds have been issued.