published Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Alabama Senate approves education budget and other news from areas around Chattanooga

Senate approves education budget

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Senate late on Tuesday approved an education budget that would spend slightly more on schools next year, expand Alabama's prekindergarten program, and pay for a 2 percent raise for K-12 employees.

The Senate passed the budget 22-11, with support coming from Republicans and opposition from Democrats. The budget now goes back to the House, which passed a different version earlier.

The $5.77 billion budget was designed by Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee Chairman Trip Pittman, R-Daphne. It is slightly larger than one approved by the House and slightly smaller than one recommended by the governor when the legislative session started in February.

The budget is based on K-12 employees getting their first raise since October 2007. Republican Gov. Robert Bentley recommended 2.5 percent, but the House went with 2 percent. The Senate still must approve a separate bill making the raise official.


Lawmakers OK home brewing

The Alabama Legislature has voted to legalize home brewing.

The Senate voted 18-7 Tuesday night for a home brewing bill. The bill passed the House earlier and now goes to the governor for signing into law. Gov. Robert Bentley said recently he had no objections to the bill because it does not allow home brewers to sell their beer or wine.

Alabama has been the only state prohibiting home brewing. The bill allows adults to make 15 gallons of beer or wine every three months.


Panel to keep turkey season

TALLADEGA, Ala. — A state panel has reversed its decision to close fall turkey season after hearing complaints from hunters.

The Daily Home of Talladega reported that the Alabama Department of Conservation Advisory Board changed course during a public meeting at Joe Wheeler State Park.

The board decided in March to eliminate the fall season in the six counties where it's allowed.

Later, it agreed to allow turkey hunting for one week in November and another week in December.

The season previously was open from Nov. 21 to Jan. 1 each year.


Educators learn about trafficking

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Education plans to hold a two-day conference to train educators on recognizing and combating human sex trafficking.

Speakers include former FBI agent and prosecutor Maria Velikonja, author and journalist Christine Dolan, U.S. State Department official Abraham Lee and Dr. Alveda C. King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Organizers say about 400 people are expected to attend the conference, which begins Monday at The Carter Center in Atlanta.

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