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The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Committee overwhelmingly approved four bills Wednesday geared toward strengthening the rules for receiving welfare benefits. One of those bills, sponsored by Republican Senator Trip Pittman of Daphne would require drug testing of welfare applicants with a drug conviction within the last five years. Pittman said the measure would hopefully spur an individual to give up drugs. Republican Senator Arthur Orr is sponsoring the other three bills. One increases the penalties for lying to get welfare benefits. Another requires applicants for welfare to have applied for three jobs. The third prohibits liquor stores, bars, tattoo parlors, strip clubs and casinos from taking the electronic cards that are used for welfare benefits. The bills now move to the Senate for consideration.
Several members of the business community gathered Wednesday at the Small Business Resource Center for the 2nd Annual Multicultural Breakfast. Douglas Jones, Vice President of Business Services for the Chamber of Commerce, said Montgomery's changing population has to translate to area businesses. The event was sponsored by River Region Psychiatry.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association is creating a new sports classification for the state's largest schools. Members of the central board have voted to change the current, six-class system into a seven-class system. Class 7A will include the 32 largest schools in all sports. Each new class other than 7A will have around 60 schools. The change takes effect starting with the upcoming academic year that begins in the fall, and it continues at least through the following year.
Officials with Central Alabama CrimeStoppers announced three new programs during their annual Awards Luncheon Wednesday. The initiatives include a partnership with the Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office, a fund raising program and a partnership with Alabama State University. ASU's Communication Department will play a vital role in the partnership; which will include reenactments and social media. The awards ceremony presented Officer of the Year awards to seven individuals from local police and sheriff's departments.