COMMITTEE OK’S PRISON CONSTRUCTION, TITLE FEE BILLS

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s $800 million prison construction project is inching closer to final passage.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday voted 7-4 for a revised bill. The vote came after approval of a separate bill to raise auto title fees by $13 to make sure the money is there to pay for a new women’s prison.

Bentley is seeking an $800 million bond issue to build three regional mega-prisons and replace Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women.

The prison system has said the state can pay for the bonds through consolidation savings.

Committee chairman Steve Clouse said some lawmakers have questioned the numbers. Clouse said the prison bill will be the major issue for the remainder of the session.

The House is expected to vote next week.

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