WVAS Local

Senate Narrowly Approves Budget

Aug 10, 2015

The Alabama Senate has narrowly approved a budget that slashes millions of dollars from Medicaid, mental health, law enforcement and other state agencies.  Aside from some additional funding for prison reform legislation, it is essentially the same budget that legislators sent to the governor in June.  Republican Senator Gerald Dial of Lineville was among those condemning the spending plan.  Senators voted 19-15 for the budget, a vote Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh endorsed.

One Day Left in Special Session

Aug 10, 2015

Only one day remains in a special session and Governor Robert Bentley says he will not back down with members of his own political party over tax increases.  The Alabama Senate will vote today on a budget that cuts $200 million from state agencies.  The governor said the spending plan is unworkable and unacceptable.  Senate Budget chairman Arthur Orr of Decatur said he and his colleagues realize the General Fund is not perfect.  Bentley has said he expects to call lawmakers back to Montgomery for another special session but would not say when.  

Resurrected Budget

Aug 7, 2015

The House budget plan that would have cut $156 million dollars from Medicaid is dead.  The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund committee rejected the proposal Friday on a unanimous vote.  In its place, the committee brought back the budget that was ultimately passed in the regular session.  Chairman of the committee, Senator Arthur Orr of Decatur says he expects Governor Robert Bentley will veto it again.  Orr says lawmakers will continue looking for an agreement on revenue.  He expects lawmakers will be back in a second special session.

Storm Survey Teams in Troy

Aug 7, 2015

The National Weather Service says it is sending survey teams to Troy today.  The Pike County city was hit by a possible tornado late last night.  The twister caused significant damage to a Wal-Mart store and a Hibbetts Sporting Goods outlet at a shopping center off U.S. Highway 231.  Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said several people sustained minor injuries.  Powerful winds were blamed for overturning a tractor-trailer.  The weather service issued the tornado warning for Pike County just before 11 p.m.

Possible Second Special Session

Aug 6, 2015

Senate budget chairman Arthur Orr said Thursday he believes a second special session is inevitable.  Lawmakers are at the halfway point of the session and have yet to pass a major revenue bill in either chamber.  Governor Robert Bentley said funding cuts passed by the House of Representatives are unworkable.  He says lawmakers must keep working to find a solution.  The session must end Tuesday by law. 

Fetal Tissue

Casino Owner Seeks Gaming Vendor

Aug 5, 2015

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says if he can find an electronic machine vendor, the shuttered casino will soon reopen.  McGregor made the comments Tuesday after a Montgomery judge said he will delay a decision on whether to return more than 1.600 gambling machines seized in a raid at the VictoryLand complex in 2013.  Circuit Judge Williams Shashy said he want to see what happens in other pending cases and the Legislature before deciding on the request by McGregor.  In June, the judge ruled the state Attorney General's Office was unfair when it singled out VictoryLand for prosecution.

Budget Frustration

Aug 5, 2015

Legislators are showing signs of frustration as they struggle to find answers to a budget shortfall in the General Fund.  Tuesday, Governor Robert Bentley criticized a House Committee for approving a $156 million cut to the Medicaid program.  In the Alabama Senate, a committee voted 6-2 for a proposal to establish a state lottery and casinos.  Before the vote, Joe Godfrey with Alabama Citizens for Action urged senators to reject gambling as a solution.  However, former Auburn Football Coach Pat Dye, is backing the gambling proposal.

Lawmakers Square off in Gaming Debate

Aug 4, 2015

The second full day of the legislative special session got off to a turbulent start Tuesday morning.  Republican Senator Dick Brewbaker of Montgomery took to the podium to question why proposals to fund the state's operating budget are at a standstill.  He claims gambling interests are at work.  The gaming bill's sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh bristled at the accusation.  

Gaming Bill

No Support for Taxes

Aug 4, 2015

The Alabama Senate remains divided over the issue of taxes.  Republican Senate leader Del Marsh of Anniston said there is little support for the governor's proposals to raise taxes to avoid deep cuts in government services.  Marsh also said there is no consensus on what to do to address the budget shortfall.But a Senate committee did approval a bill that would do away with marriage licenses in the state and replace them with contracts.  

VA Improvement

Budge Woes Persist in Special Session

Aug 3, 2015

The Alabama Legislature has resumed a special session on a budget shortfall the same way it began three weeks ago, with no consensus on what to do.  Governor Robert Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve$302 in taxes to avoid deep cuts in government services.  But the Republican leader of the Alabama Senate Monday said there's little support among senators for raising taxes.  The state operating budget is facing a shortfall of at least $200 million.  

Work Begins