WVAS Local News

Sep 13, 2013

Alabama State University will mark the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing with a citywide ceremony today.  The event will be held in the Zeila Stephens Early Childhood Center on the campus of ASU. 

Black Caucus

Nearly 20 members of the congressional black caucus are visiting Birmingham for the 50th anniversary of a church bombing that killed four girls.  Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Birmingham is hosting a forum at 16th Street Baptist Church today.  Lawmakers scheduled to participate include Congressman John Lewis of Georgia.  Relatives of all four girls who died in the bombing are expected to attend.  They will receive bronze replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal presented earlier this week in Washington. 

Cuts to Education

A report by the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says Alabama's cuts to K-12 education are the nation's second worst since the recession began.  The Washington-based group says Alabama's investment in K-12 education has declined 20 percent since 2008, when adjusted for inflation.  Only Oklahoma had deeper cuts. 

New Policy

Most, but not all, full-time staff of the Alabama National Guard is covered by a new Pentagon policy providing benefits for same-sex couples.  A spokesman says there are about 2,500 full-time Guardsmen in Alabama who are considered federal employees and are eligible for federal benefits.  They are covered by the Pentagon's new policy.  The Guard has fewer than 300 full-time employees who are considered state employees, and they continue to receive state benefits.  Those benefits don't cover same-sex marriages. 

Accountability Act

House Minority Leader Craig Ford is declaring the Alabama Accountability Act a "failure" after noting that only 52 students in the state have transferred from failing public schools to private schools.  The Democrat from Gadsden is proposing that the Accountability Act be repealed in next year's legislative session.  He also wants the $40 million dollars set aside for implementation of the Act to be put into the AMSTI program.  Republican leaders have said it will talk several years before it is known what participation levels will be for the Accountability Act.