WVAS Local News

Jan 28, 2013

Alabama Democratic Congresswoman Terri Sewell will host a town hall meeting in downtown Montgomery this evening.  Sewell, who represents the 7th Congressional District, said in a statement that she wants to hear from constituents and brief them on the issues before Congress.  The town hall meeting gets underway at 5 p.m. in the County Commission auditorium of the Montgomery County Courthouse Annex building on South Lawrence Street. 

No Pay Raise

Alabama's Governor says it's unlikely teachers and state employees will get pay raises in this year's budgets.  Gov. Robert Bentley says his staff has been studying the issue and the money is just not there for a state employee's pay raise, which would mostly have to come out of the cash-strapped General Fund Budget.  He said it also looks uncertain whether the funds will be available for a pay increase for education employees.  Mac McArthur, the executive director of the Alabama State Employees Association, says rank and file employees have not received a pay increase since 2008. 

Prison Report

A local attorney for inmates says a federal report detailing problems at Tutwiler prison for women is revealing.  Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative says the study "wakes people up" by showing what's going on at Tutwiler prison in Wetumpka.  Stevenson's organization last year alleged widespread abuse of inmates and sexual misconduct at Tutwiler involving corrections officers.  Alabama Prison Commissioner Kim Thomas said on Friday the study found an oppressive, intimidating atmosphere at Tutuwiler.  Thomas says officials will take aggressive actions to address allegations of rape.  But hew would not says how many employees have been fired or prosecuted in connection with sexual assaults. 

Firearms Amendment

Part of the Alabama House Republicans' legislative agenda for the upcoming session is the so-called "Firearms Protection Amendment."  Representative Mike Jones of Andalusia is sponsoring the legislation as a means to further protect the rights of gun owners.  The bill would add language to the state's constitution making the right to bear arms, quote, "fundamental" and it would raid the burden of review for state courts to restrict that right.  The legislation is a constitutional amendment and would have to be put on the next general election ballot, if it receives legislative approval.