Senate committee votes for bonus, not pay raise, for state’s teachers

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A Senate committee Wednesday morning approved a 2015 education budget that includes a one percent bonus for teachers and education employees; funding to hire 250 new middle school teachers and increases to helps districts fund transportation and daily operation needs. The budget, which still needs approval from the full Senate, represents a step back from [...]

Senate approves bill banning smoking in most public places

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The Alabama Legislature usually defies the best prognosticator’s predictions, but a few things are certain: The Senate may drift into dysfunction; the General Fund budget will be in trouble, and Vivian Davis Figures will bring up her anti-smoking legislation. The Senate Tuesday passed the Senate Minority Leader’s bill banning smoking in most public places by [...]

Amid clashes, Alabama Senate expands and approves lobbying bill

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It started as a bill to close a lobbying loophole. It came out of the Senate Tuesday as a sweeping piece of legislation addressing everything from the Governor’s activities after leaving office to tickets to Alabama and Auburn football games. But the 33 to 0 approval came after the sponsor warned that the changes could [...]

Under the Dome: Lawmakers may revisit rules after losing days to winter weather

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Lawmakers said they had no choice but to convene last week, despite weather that virtually shut down the state. It’s prompting discussion that the rules governing the Legislature should be changed to prevent it from happening again. The House convened Tuesday with only 40 of the chamber’s 102 members present, and adjourned for lack of [...]

Under the Dome: Senate education budget chair cautious about ETF proposal

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Gov. Robert Bentley‘s proposal to spend about $92 million outside the Rolling Reserve cap drew a cautious response Thursday from the chairman of the Senate education budget committee. Bentley’s budget, unveiled Jan. 15, allocates about $5.8 billion in spending on the Education Trust Fund. However, it also includes about $92 million in gross sales tax [...]