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Baldwin County public forum, Alberta City fundraiser and bill eliminating marriage licenses

Kim Cross
Author Kim Cross

After voters rejected a tax hike proposal last month, the Baldwin County Commission and Baldwin County School Board are looking for more input.

There will be a joint public meeting this evening to begin the process of moving forward from the referendum that would have helped pay for a 10 year, $350 million capital construction project.

Charles Gruber is the chairman of the Baldwin County Commission. He believes the referendum was shot down by voters because the public was not able to voice any concerns about the tax.

“To start this thing over right, it would be good to have a public forum and let the public speak and listen to what they have to say. Because that’s what they were saying: ‘Nobody listened to us. Nobody wanted our input.’ You can see what that impact that tax meant because they felt like they weren’t being listened to.”

The money would have gone to building more classrooms to accommodate Baldwin County’s growing student population. The public meeting will be at the Central Annex Building in Robertsdale tonight at 7 PM.

This week, Alabamians are remembering the storm system that sent tornadoes ripping across the state four years ago.

This evening in Alberta City, outside of Tuscaloosa, author Kim Cross will be holding a fundraiser for the Alberta School of Performing Arts. Alberta Elementary School was destroyed in the storm. Cross says the program will open with a reading from her book “What Stands in a Storm.”

“I’m going to bring a panel of characters from the book onto the stage. We’re all going to talk about how it personally affected us and what personal things we learned and gained from the really horrific day. It wasn’t an easy day for all of these people and yet all of them walked away changed in really powerful ways and we’re going to talk about that.”

Speakers will include a first responder and a storm chaser and a survivor of the tornado. The fundraiser will take place at the Alberta School of Performing Arts this evening at 6 PM.

As the U.S. Supreme Court grapples with the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, one state Senator wants to take Alabama out of the marriage license business entirely.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill by Republican Sen. Greg Albritton yesterday that would do away with the current state system of marriage licenses issued by probate judges. Instead, couples would take a contract witnessed by a couple's pastor, attorney or other witness and record the document at the court.

Albritton said it would remove government from the business of marriage. He said the bill wasn't targeting same-sex marriage. However, lawyer Eric Johnston, who signed up to speak at a public hearing, said if gay marriage becomes legal, this bill would prevent probate judges from having to issue marriage licenses that go against their religious beliefs.

The House Health Committee held public hearings on abortion bills yesterday, including a "fetal heartbeat" bill that opponents said would ban the majority of abortions in the state.

The bill by Republican Rep. Terri Collins would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can happen as soon as six weeks into the pregnancy. Collins says it is "common sense" to define life with a heartbeat.

Opponents said similar proposals have been ruled unconstitutional in other states. Another bill would ban abortion clinics within 2,000 feet of a school. A parent and abortion opponents say it is inappropriate that an abortion clinic, and the protests around it, is across the street from a Huntsville school.

Other speakers said people only realize it's an abortion clinic because of anti-abortion demonstrators.

A committee vote is expected next week.

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