- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a special session to wrap up unfinished business but legislators need a break first.

“We’ll make that decision in the next couple of months,” Bentley said in Birmingham after speaking at a biotech industry meeting. “We want the legislators to go on vacation, have a little relaxation, and then maybe come back.”

Bentley’s comments come just days before jury selection is scheduled to begin in House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s ethics trial. Bentley, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and a number of state legislators and lobbyists have been subpoenaed to testify at the trial.

Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using his political position to benefit his personal businesses. The governor on Wednesday wouldn’t comment on the upcoming trial but said he’ll “have to testify” if called.

Legislators last week left the statehouse with three major items unfinished: Medicaid funding, the BP oil spill settlement distribution and prison construction.

Medicaid officials say the agency needs an additional $85 million to stave off damaging cuts. Bentley said that number is “really a minimum.”

Republican Rep. Jim Patterson on Wednesday urged Bentley to call a special session to address the BP settlement distribution, which died after a coalition of coastal lawmakers said their region should get a larger share of the $1 billion payout. Proponents of the plan argued that coastal counties had already been compensated from additional settlement funds.

“We owe it to the taxpayers of Alabama to utilize every dime available to us to ensure the future financial stability of this state,” Patterson said in a statement. “We are sent to Montgomery to make these tough decisions, and I believe the use of the BP settlement funds needs to be resolved as soon as possible, and certainly before the next legislative session begins.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide