State Senate Approves Grim Budget
Senators have approved a grim general fund budget that cuts $200 million from state agencies after lawmakers couldn't agree how to fill a projected budget shortfall. Senators on Thursday voted 20 to 13 for the pared-down spending plan that was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats. The vote comes after warnings by Governor Robert Bentley that the cuts would cause layoffs and dramatic reductions in state services. The budget cuts funding to Medicaid, the Department of Human Resources, prisons and the Department of Mental Health by about 5 percent. Other state agencies would see deeper reductions. Lawmakers expect special session this summer on the budget. The Senate immediately adjourned for the session after the budget vote. The House of Representatives must decide whether to accept Senate changes to the budget.