Special Session Reconvenes, NAACP March Continues

Aug 3, 2015

Alabama State House
Credit Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a special session to work on the budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He also wants to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut. The governor has also suggested ending the ability of taxpayers to claim a state income tax deduction when they pay their federal Social Security taxes.

Tuscaloosa Representative Bill Poole says he is not optimistic the legislature will draft a budget in this special session.

“We’ll have to identify solutions quickly, get them through the legislative process which takes several days to go through all of the steps and committee meetings and votes in both chambers. I think that’s a tall order unless we’re able to find a solution at the early part of next week.”

The state faces a $200 million shortfall for the fiscal year beginning October 1. Bentley has said if it takes ten special sessions to come up with a budget, he will call them.

Protest marchers will begin Day 3 of a planned march from Selma, Alabama to Washington, D.C. later this morning.

The 860 mile trek, “America’s Journey for Justice”, is sponsored by the NAACP and has attracted more than 200 participants. The group will cross through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia before finally reaching Washington, D.C. in mid-September.

NAACP President Cornell William Brooks says volunteers in each state on the route have pledged to keep the march going by covering the entire distance. Rallies are planned at several stops along the way, including Atlanta, Greeneville, and Charlotte.

The marchers are focusing on different issues in each state on the route. In Alabama, the focus is on economic inequality. In Georgia, it will be on education reform.

The group is expected to cross into Georgia on Friday.

August means school will soon be back in session.

Students at Birmingham City Schools and Jefferson County Schools start back this Wednesday, with more schools resuming throughout the month.

Dr. Tommy Bice is the State Superintendent of Education. He says that a new school year is the perfect time to set some new habits…

“The beginning of any school year is a new start for everybody. We would hope that they begin to develop a schedule so there’s time for rest, there’s time for homework, there’s time for extracurricular sorts of activities, and just look at school as an opportunity to have fun while they learn.”

Bice also says that Alabama schools will continue to practice teaching methods that better engage the students and lead to more critical thinking. To find out when classes start in your area, contact your local school system.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a pregnant prisoner who sought an abortion after the woman changed her mind and now wants to deliver the child.

U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon announced his decision from the bench Friday after meeting privately with the woman. She told the judge she now wants to keep the child.

The Lauderdale County inmate filed suit seeking an abortion last month. Her change of heart came after the state of Alabama tried to take away her parental rights.

One of the woman's attorneys calls the reversal "highly suspicious." But another lawyer for the inmate says she simply changed her mind.

The district attorney says the lawsuit to strip the woman of her parental rights is being put on hold.