Bentley details cuts, First Lady in Alabama and Earth Day at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Apr 22, 2015

First Lady Michelle Obama
Credit Ben Baker / Redux

Gov. Robert Bentley is giving lawmakers what he calls an "unvarnished" view of the cuts to state government that will occur without new revenue.

The governor sent a memo to each member of the Alabama Legislature last night. That memo describes the emergency operation plans state agencies produced in response to a draft budget lawmakers have already reviewed.

The reductions on the table include the layoff of more than 1,000 state employees, including 600 court employees and 132 law enforcement officers.

State troopers will potentially close 13 trooper posts. The prison system would close two facilities. The Department of Mental Health will reduce or end service for 24,000 people with mental illnesses. Fifteen of Alabama’s 22 state parks would close.

Bentley has prepared a detailed proposal that would raise an estimated $541 million in new tax revenue, but legislators have not yet acted on any aspect of that proposal.

The First Lady of the United States of America will be making a stop in Alabama in two weeks.

Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address at Tuskegee University, a historically black university in the Yellowhammer State on May 9.

This will be the first of three graduation ceremonies the First Lady will speak at this year. Mrs. Obama will also deliver remarks at Oberlin College and King College Prep, a high school in her hometown of Chicago.

The White House says Oberlin and King were chosen because of their video submissions to two "commencement challenges" issued by Mrs. Obama last fall. Schools had to show their commitment to college mentoring and helping students get financial aid.

Mrs. Obama will speak at Oberlin May 25 and at King College Prep June 9.

Today is Earth Day, and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens will be hosting events that are both environmental and patriotic.

The gardens will host a USO-style show tonight in honor of veterans who fought in World War 2. The event will also spotlight the victory gardens that families grew during the war to provide both food and a morale boost.

Dawn Coleman is the Education Coordinator at the Botanical Gardens. She says there will also be a follow-up event this weekend.

“We have a second Earth Day celebration on April 25, which is Saturday, which is open to the public. It’s going to have pretty much the same people who are there on Wednesday, there are going to be doing activities for the kids, and we’re going to get the kids involved in victory gardens and how to grow things in their own home.”

Earth Day at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is free and open to the public.