State Senate approves $800 million prison construction bill

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Senate has approved an $800 million prison construction bill over objections from both parties about a lack of debate on the issue.

The Senate voted 23 to 11 on Tuesday, after voting to end debate on the issue after just a half hour. The bill will go to the House.

A major initiative of Gov. Robert Bentley's, the $800 million bond issue would fund four new large prisons and close most existing facilities. Significant overcrowding and violence has plagued the state's prison system.

Sen. Quinton Ross, D-Montgomery, asked his colleagues to "slow down" to discuss the issue, which he said doesn't address the fundamental overcrowding issues. The new prisons would be at 125 percent capacity.

Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, said he was ``disgusted'' with the lack of debate.