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      Alabama House committee approves education budget without teacher bonus

      MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A House committee has approved an education budget aimed at giving teachers more money for their health insurance instead of a raise or bonus.

      The House Ways and Means - Education Committee voted 10-4 for the budget Wednesday morning.

      The spending plan strips away a one-time 1 percent bonus for public education employees approved by the Alabama Senate.

      House Minority Leader Craig Ford called the budget a travesty. He said teachers have gone years without raises while being asked to pay more for health insurance and retirement benefits. Gov. Robert Bentley is seeking a 2 percent raise.

      Chairman Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, said lawmakers want to put more money into insurance to try to avoid large premium increases for employees.

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