Governor Bentley Focused On Budgets For 2014 Session
Governor Robert Bentley has already been hard at work with lawmakers to make sure that the two state budgets will be ready for the start of the session.
The state house chambers will be full again when lawmakers return to work next Tuesday.
Governor Bentley says his focus this year is coming up with budgets that will work for the state.
"We have our budgets ready. We're going to discuss those today with the budget chairpersons. And we will I think have two good budgets," said Governor Bentley.
The legislative session is starting almost a month earlier than last year, and the governor expects lawmakers to have a shorter session so they can get back to campaigning in an election year.
"We always say that we're going to try to get out earlier, they say that, we used to say that when I was in the legislature. I'm not sure that it usually happens. But hopefully there will be less controversial bills," said the governor.
Governor Bentley would be fine with a short session as long as the general fund and education trust fund budgets are fair.
"The main thing we have to do is to have good budgets. Other than that, that's the only constitutional duty for the legislature," he said.
But he would like to see something done about giving teachers and state employees a raise. Both groups hadn't seen any sort of pay raise until last year.
"I believe that teachers and state employees deserve a raise. Because they have been asked to sacrifice in the early parts when we were in dire straights."
He says he's not sure just how much the state can afford, and there likely won't be a cost of living adjustment for state employees.