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Special Session Begins Today, Deputy Labor Secretary on Jobs

Alabama State Capitol
Alabama State Capitol

Alabama lawmakers are returning to Montgomery today for their third attempt at balancing the state’s general fund budget.

The special session begins at 5 PM this afternoon.

So far, legislators haven’t been able to agree on how to handle a projected funding shortfall of at least $200 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is asking lawmakers to approve a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax and other tax increases to avoid dramatic cuts to state services. But legislators have been resistant to his proposals so far. They say they don’t want to enact any new taxes.

In June, Governor Bentley vetoed a budget that lawmakers approved at the end of the regular session that would have slashed funding for most major government functions. The first special session also ended without a budget in place after lawmakers gave the governor a nearly identical budget to veto.

State agencies are still without a spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

As the nation wraps up the Labor Day holiday, the Obama administration is spreading the word about more jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor says the national economy added nearly one hundred and seventy five thousand jobs last month. Unemployment also fell to five point one percent nationwide.

Certain sectors aren’t seeing quite as many job gains. Chris Lu is the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. He says even though the numbers aren’t as strong in the manufacturing and construction sectors, the government has a plan to fix it.

“We know how to get those industries jump-started, and one way to do that is to have a long-term infrastructure bill. When it comes to building roads and fixing bridges and deepening ports, this creates construction jobs. It creates manufacturing jobs. So we know how to keep this economic recovery going, and that’s one way to do it.”

Alabama saw a slight increase in unemployment last month, but Lu says it shouldn't be cause for concern.

The University of Alabama made quick work of the University of Wisconsin this past Saturday in the Advocare Classic in Texas. Now, the Crimson Tide has their sights set on their home opener against Middle Tennessee State.

The Crimson Tide is expected to be a heavy favorite against The Blue Raiders. But Coach Nick Saban doesn't see it that way.

“It’s the most important game of the season for us because it’s the next game. And it’s the next opportunity for us to get better. So we’re not trying to create anything based on who we’re playing, because we respect who we’re playing and I suggest that everybody else does, too. They just put up 700 yards or something on a team. You know, we respect that.”

Alabama’s junior running back Derrick Henry was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week after his 147-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Wisconsin Badgers.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game against MTSU is set for 3 PM on the SEC Network.

A judge rejected House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s request for more information on his case late last week. The judge says Hubbard has already been given a sufficient summary of the evidence against him.

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker rejected a defense request for a more definite statement from prosecutors of how exactly they allege Hubbard broke the law.

Walker says the plain language of the indictment and prosecutors' court filings have provided adequate notice.

Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using his public offices to benefit his businesses.

He has pleaded not guilty. His trial was initially scheduled to begin next month, but Judge Walker has tentatively delayed it until next March.

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