- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Latest on Gov. Robert Bentley’s prison construction bill (all times local):

12 a.m.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s prison construction bill has failed on the final night of the legislative session.

Lawmakers ended the session at midnight Wednesday before a scaled-back bill, that was an attempt at a compromise, got a vote in the House of Representatives.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard said supporters did not have enough votes to cut off an inevitable filibuster. Supporters did not bring the bill up for consideration in the session’s final minutes.

Bentley had sought an $800 million bond issue to build four prisons and close most existing facilities.

A conference committee on Wednesday approved a whittled-down $550 million bill. Senators approved the smaller plan by a 23-12 vote, before it faltered in the House.

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10:50 p.m.

The Alabama Senate has approved a whittled-down prison construction bill after legislators expressed concern about the original $800 million price tag on Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposal.

Senators voted 23-12 Wednesday night to approve a smaller $550 million bond issue to build three prisons. Bentley had initially sought an $800 million bond issue to build four prisons and close most existing facilities. Bentley has an hour to win approval in the Alabama House of Representatives before the 2016 legislative session concludes at midnight.

The plan will build two new prisons for men and one for women. Sen. Cam Ward said the pace of the construction, and prison closures, will be slower than Bentley initially proposed.

Senate Democrats tried unsuccessfully to block the bill from coming to a vote.

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9 p.m.

A conference committee has approved a whittled-down prison construction bill after legislators expressed concern about the original $800 million price tag on Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposal.

The committee on Wednesday night unanimously approved a $550 million bond issue to build three new prisons. Bentley had initially sought an $800 million bond issue to build four prisons and close most existing facilities.

Republican Sen. Trip Pittman said the compromise bill would seek to build two men’s prison and one for women.

The bill faces a rapidly closing window to win approval on the last night of the legislative session.

The Alabama Senate and House of Representatives must both approve the bill before the session concludes at midnight.

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5 a.m.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s $800 million prison construction proposal will be decided on the final day of the 2016 legislative session.

A conference committee will meet Wednesday to try to reconcile differences in House and Senate bills.

Bentley is seeking to borrow $800 million to build three new mega-prisons for men - housing up to 4,000 inmates each - and one new women’s prison. Most existing prisons would close.

The prison construction proposal is the centerpiece of the governor’s legislative agenda, but it has faced questions from lawmakers about the scope and cost.

Some lawmakers want to build one prison at a time. Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn has said the state needs the savings from consolidating most prisons in order to pay for the bond issue.

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