There are several new state laws on the books, as of today. The Legislature eliminated limits on corporate campaign contributions; there are new penalties for abusing or financially exploiting the elderly; another law protects children who are placed in potentially harmful situations and there is a statute that increases the penalties for trespassing on a school bus. However, the law receiving the lion's share of attention allows Alabamians to carry a pistol openly in public. The gun law also allows Alabamians to keep a pistol in their vehicles at work under certain guidelines.
Property Crime Rate
A new report from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center says property crimes in Alabama decreased 10 percent in 2012, but violent crimes increased. The center's annual "Crime in Alabama" report says Alabama had a 5 percent decreased in the total number of crimes reported in 2012. The total number of violent crimes was up 3 percent from 2011. The report said that was due to a 5 percent increase in homicides and a 6 percent increased in aggravated assaults.
Prosecutors in Calhoun County say a 5-year-old boy was beaten to death because he wet his pants. Calhoun County District Attorney Brian McVeigh said Gregory Caver of Anniston was beaten until he was unconscious Friday, and later died at a hospital in Birmingham. The boy's 28-year-old mother India Kimble and her 26-year-old boyfriend Vonta McClellan have been charged with capital murder in the boy's death.
The city of Selma is now running the historic St. James Hotel because the hotel's management company terminated its contract. Gourmet Services of Atlanta had been running the downtown landmark since 2007. Now the city is organizing volunteers to help operate the hotel until a new management company or individual can be found. The 42-room hotel was built in 1837. The St. James promotes itself as one of the last riverfront hotels still operating in the Southeast.
The state of Alabama is trying to get churches and other faith groups more involved with veterans. The Alabama Veterans Well-Being Ministry Conference is being held today in Auburn. A retired Army Chief of Chaplains, Douglas L. Carver, is the keynote speaker. The conference will include sessions for pastors and others on post-traumatic stress disorder and recognizing sings of a possible suicide. Alabama has more than 400,000 veterans and more than 20,000 are returning to the state now.