- Cullman, Alabama

May 24, 2013

Ala. governor signs bond issues, campaign bill

Associated Press


Gov. Robert Bentley has signed two bond issues into law, along with a bill changingAlabama's campaign finance law.

Bentley spokesman Jeremy King said Friday the governor signed a $30 million bond issue to repair six schools damaged by tornadoes in 2011 and 2012.

Murphy High School, which was hit Dec. 25, will get $15 million. Three schools in the Tuscaloosa area will benefit, with $3 million for Alberta City Elementary and $2.5 million each for University Place Elementary and Holt Elementary. Phil Campbell High School will receive $6.4 million and Plainview High School will get $604,000. The Phil Campbell, Plainview and Tuscaloosa area schools were damaged on April 27, 2011.

The school bond issue was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Napoleon Bracy of Mobile.

King said the governor also approved a $50 million bond issue to purchase equipment for technology training programs in public schools. The technology programs are part of the State Board of Education's goal to have every student graduate high school ready for college or a career.

The sponsor of the bond issue, Republican Rep. Mac Buttram of Cullman, said Friday it will replace outdated equipment in career tech programs statewide. He said $10 million will be divided equally among school systems based on the number of career tech programs they have. Another $20 million will be divided based on the number of career tech students each school system has. A state board will distribute the other $20 million through grants.

Philip Cleveland, the state's director of career technology and workforce development for public schools, said he expects the bonds to be sold during the upcoming school year. He said the improved career tech programs should help existing industry get well-trained workers and help the state with recruiting new industry.

The other new law signed by the governor removes the limit on how much corporations can give to political candidates in Alabama. Corporate contributions are now unlimited like individual contributions. The new law, sponsored by Republican Sen. Bryan Taylor of Prattville, also tightens limits on transfers of money between political action committees.

All three bills passed on Monday, the Legislature's last meeting day.

The Legislature passed another bond issue Monday for $50 million for construction of National Guard armories, but it requires approval in a statewide referendum rather than the governor's signature.