Recapping Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's State of the State a - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Recapping Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's State of the State address

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Alabama Governor Robert Bentley giving his State of the State address Tuesday night in Montgomery. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley giving his State of the State address Tuesday night in Montgomery.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (right) at Gov. Bentley's State of the State address Tuesday night. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (right) at Gov. Bentley's State of the State address Tuesday night.
Alabama State Supreme Court Justices as Bentley's State of the State address Tuesday night. Alabama State Supreme Court Justices as Bentley's State of the State address Tuesday night.
Pictured right:  Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) at the State of the State address Tuesday night. Pictured right: Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) at the State of the State address Tuesday night.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley gave his State of the State speech in Montgomery Tuesday night, and he discussed a variety of topics including the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, a proposal to raise teachers' pay and the slain bus driver in Midland City.

Read the full text of Bentley's address.

Bentley spoke to state leaders for nearly 40 minutes and concluded his address by asking those in attendance to show the world what makes the state of Alabama so great.

"50 years ago, the eyes of the world were on Alabama. Lets invite the world to look at Alabama again." Bentley said. "And lets show them a state that works together -- one that innovates and creates economic opportunity for all of its citizens, regardless of color, regardless of gender, regardless of politics -- a place we call all call "Sweet Home Alabama."

Bentley recounts 50 years of change

Gov. Robert Bentley opened his State of the State speech by recalling that the eyes of the world were on Alabama 50 years ago because of the civil rights movement.

He recounted Tuesday night how a Birmingham bomb blast killed four little girls and African-American students were admitted to the University of Alabama over the objections of the governor.

He said Alabama is mindful of its turbulent past, but it's a different state today. He said Alabama's unemployment is at a 4-year low, the state has recruited 26,000 jobs in the last two years, and Alabama will soon be home to a major aircraft assembly plant. He said: "Alabama is our sweet home."

Bentley proposes teacher raise

After two years of cutting budgets, Gov. Robert Bentley says the state's economy is improving and it's time for new spending in education.

Bentley told legislators in his State of the State speech Tuesday night that he wants to expand Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds while keeping it voluntary. He also proposed his first pay raise for teachers. It's 2.5%. He did not propose a pay raise for state workers.

The Republican governor endorsed a bill that would give school systems more flexibility in complying with state education law. That sets up Bentley for a fight with the Alabama Education Association, which opposes the bill.

Bentley recognizes school shootings, slain bus driver


Charles Albert Poland Jr. was
shot and killed last week
in Dale County.

Gov. Robert Bentley paused during his State of the State speech to remember the school students killed in Connecticut in December and the school bus driver shot to death in Midland City last week.

He told legislators Tuesday night that he is working to keep schools and students safe. He says he has asked the state Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan for preventing and responding to active shooters. He says the department has already set up hotline for people to report suspicious activity.

While recognizing the shootings, the Republican governor said he supports protecting the Second Amendment right to bear arms. He did not mention any of the gun rights bills that have been introduced in the new legislative session.

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