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Group Watch 4/20/2012: Investigative Team Gets a Leader

Retired state school superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson will lead the investigation into the Birmingham City Schools. Last week the state board, at the recommendation of current superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice, voted to launch an investigation into the board’s decision-making power and process. Richardson, now 73, was once described as prickly

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April 13, 2012 Group Watch: This Week in the Legislature

Tuesday (the 18th day of the 2012 regular session): The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill just introduced last Thursday that authorizes charter schools in Alabama. This is the second bill on this matter approved by the committee in two weeks. After hours of debate, the House approved

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4/13/2012 Group Watch: Senators Delay Work on Education Budget

The Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee was scheduled to take up the education budget this week, but the committee chairman postponed it for one week to get additional input from his colleagues. The Senate is handling the initial work on the education budget, and the House did the same with

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4/13/2012 Group Watch: Senate Committee Approves Covenant Marriage Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-1 to approve a bill that would allow Alabama couples to choose to enter into “covenant marriages,” which would require premarital counseling and make it harder for couples to divorce. Under provisions of the bill, couples marrying in Alabama would not be required to enter

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4/13/2012 Group Watch: State to Investigate Birmingham City Schools

The State Board of Education voted unanimously to initiate an investigation of the Birmingham City Board of Education. The State School Superintendent said he drafted the resolution approved by the board after he attended a meeting earlier in the week and became troubled by allegations that surfaced during the meeting.

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April 6, 2012 Group Watch: This Week in the Legislature

This week started with the 16th meeting day of the 2012 regular session. Charter school legislation was a major issue voted upon, among many others. Tuesday: The House Ways and Means-Education Committee approved a settlement aimed at saving Alabama’s financial college tuition plan and debated but did not vote on

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Group Watch 4/6/2012: Legislature Looking at Staff Furloughs

The Alabama Legislature is looking at furloughing its employees to cope with cuts in the state General Fund budget. The Senate leadership voted this week to authorize Senate Secretary Pat Harris to implement furloughs of up to two days per month if necessary. The House leadership has previously given House

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Group Watch 4/6/2012: Tougher Drug Penalties

Alabamians carrying more than eight grams of an illegal drug would be faced with tougher penalties under a bill passed by the House this week. The bill would make it a Class B felony to carry more than eight grams of an illegal substance, such as cocaine or heroin. The

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March 28, 2012 Group Watch: Last Week in the Legislature

Tuesday, the 14th meeting day of the 2012 regular session: The House passed two bills that would alter the organizational structure of the Department of Transportation to allow the director to appoint three deputy directors and a chief engineer. They also approved bills to make looting a crime, to reimburse Mobile County

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Group Watch 3/28/2012: Hollywood Comes to Town

Montgomery native and Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer was greeted by hundreds as she arrived at the Alabama Statehouse to a hero’s welcome. She arrived in a pink limousine for joint session of the Legislature in her honor. She was serenaded by the band from her alma mater, Jefferson Davis High

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