A judge has extended an order preventing Governor Robert Bentley from signing a private school tax credit bill. Circuit Court Judge Charles Price ruled Wednesday that a temporary restraining order will remain in effect until a court hearing on March 15th. Both Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and House Speaker Mike Hubbard criticized Judge Price for getting involved in the legislative process. The GOP leaders have asked the Alabama Supreme Court to reverse the order.
A bill setting stricter standards for Alabama's five abortion clinics is getting closer to becoming law. The Senate Health Committee approved the bill 7-3 Wednesday. The yes votes all came from Republicans and the no votes from two Democrats and one independent. The sponsor, Republican Representative Mary Sue McClurkin says it will make clinics safer. The bill requires abortion clinics to use doctors who have approval to admit patients to hospitals in the same city. It also sets stricter building standards. The bill has already passed the House and now goes to the state Senate for a vote.
Montgomery's Violent Crime Rate
Violent crime has surged in Montgomery since the start of 2013. At a Montgomery City Council meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Todd Strange said the number of homicides, robberies and aggravated assaults are up 22 percent form the same period one year ago. There have been 13 homicides in the Capital City since January 1st. Only five murders were reported thru the end of February 2012. The number of burglaries and thefts are down so far this year.
Prattville police are responding to a surge in firearms purchases by offering gun ownership and safety courses. Officials say the five-hour courses will be offered on the last Saturday of each month through October at the department's gun range. Police say the March class roster is already full. Officials say participants must be 21 or older and pass a criminal background check. Participants are asked to bring 50 rounds of ammunition and a belt holster. The course costs $10 dollars. The fee is used to pay for targets and other supplies.
Youth Offender Status
The House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill to exclude those charged with the most serious crimes from having their cases settled under youthful offender status. Youthful offender status means young people, usually younger than 21, can in most cases keep their convictions secret. The sponsor says the bill would send a message to young people that if they commit certain crimes they will be treated as adults. The bill goes to the House for debate.