Busloads of Alabama State University students visited the Legislature Thursday to lobby lawmakers to restore more than $10 million dollars that was cut from the university's annual appropriation. ASU President Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd led the rally at the Statehouse. The Chairman of the House Education Budget Committee said he supported restoring the $10 million that was cut from ASU's budget by the state Senate.
Church members at Aldersgate United Methodist Church are still reeling from the death of their senior pastor Wednesday. The Reverend Glenn Pugh, age 51, was killed in a crash on I-85 near Shorter. Troopers say he ran into the back of an 18-wheeler. No one else was hurt. An investigation into the wreck continues. A prayer service was held at the church on Vaughn Road last night.
The governor made it clear Wednesday that he will send the education budget back to lawmakers if they do not approve the 2 percent pay raise plus full funding for the teachers' insurance program. Robert Bentley recommended a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for public school employees. Instead, the Alabama Senate last week approved a 1 percent bonus. The Senate budget chairman said the state can't afford the $74 million dollar cost of a 2 percent raise. Bentley told reporters that his proposal is sound.
The Alabama House of Representatives has voted to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Representatives approved the bill Tuesday night by a 73-29 vote. If the legislation wins approval in the Senate, it would tie Alabama with North Dakota as having the most stringent abortion restriction in the country. Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Indian Springs said the bill is needed to protect unborn life. Opponents said it is unconstitutional and will be stopped by the courts.
The Alabama Legislature has given final approval to legislation creating an independent tribunal to hear tax appeals. The House of Representatives voted 94-1 Tuesday to go along with Senate changes to the bill. The proposal now goes to Governor Bentley. Tribunal judges will replace an administrative law judge employed by Alabama Department of Revenue. The bill's sponsor said the change will ensure taxpayers have an independent person to hear their cases.
An Alabama lawmaker is looking to create a sales tax holiday for consumers buying guns and ammunition. Republican Rep. Becky Nordgren of Gadsden said Monday that she has filed legislation to create an annual state sales tax holiday for gun and ammunition purchases. The firearms tax holiday would occur every weekend prior to the Fourth of July. Alabama currently has tax holidays for back-to-school shopping and severe weather preparedness.
Legislators return to the Alabama Statehouse Tuesday. The abortion issue likely will dominate the lower chamber's agenda. The Alabama House is scheduled to debate four bills that would add new restrictions on abortion. In the Alabama Senate this week, a bill is pending in committee that would make it legal to carry a loaded pistol in a vehicle without a concealed carry permit. The sponsor, GOP Senator Scott Beason of Jefferson County, has said it is unfair for the citizens to have to pay for a Second Amendment right.
A Baldwin County senator now says a proposal to cut $10 million dollars from Alabama State University's Operating Budget will be restored. Tripp Pittman, who chairs a Senate Budget committee, tells Al.com, that he will work with the chairman of an Alabama House committee to add the $10 million back to ASU's appropriation.
The Alabama Senate has approved an education budget that would fund a one-time bonus of one percent for public school employees and add 250 teachers in middle schools. Governor Robert Bentley has recommended a 2 percent cost of living raise for teachers, but budget committee chairman Senator Trip Pittman says that's not affordable. The governor also disagreed with the 10 million dollar cut to Alabama State University's funding. Alabama State University President Dr.