April 15, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Lt. Governor Folsom (2007-11)

Folsom Aids BRAC Bill Passage

BRAC bill wins final passage with assist from Folsom

By Bob Lowry

The Huntsville Times

  MONTGOMERY -- With an assist from Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom, the Alabama Senate gave final passage Wednesday to the BRAC school bond bill.

  There had been concern earlier that the bill might get stuck next week behind the controversial bingo bill.

  But after meeting with a delegation from Huntsville, Folsom convinced House leaders to move the bill forward for a House vote Wednesday.

  The House responded by approving the bill on a 99-0 vote and immediately sending it back to the Senate. The Senate gave it final passage on a 26-0 vote, sending it to Gov. Bob Riley.

  The bill will provide a $175 million bond issue for BRAC-affected schools in North Alabama that qualify with local support.

  Joe Ritch, chairman of the Tennessee Valley BRAC Committee, led a delegation from Huntsville that included educators and Redstone Arsenal officers to meet with key lawmakers.

The delegation met with Folsom, but wasn't able to meet with House Speaker Seth Hammett.

  However, Hammett's chief of staff, Jeff Woodard, said there was such widespread support for the bill that there was little doubt of the bill's speedy passage.

  Ritch had said earlier he had been concerned about the bingo bill, but he praised the support of the Tennessee Valley Caucus and the assistance of the Alabama Education Association in helping draft the bill.

  "It's been a long, long process with many many changes," he said. "The cooperation with the AEA was critical."

  Sen. Tom Butler, D-Madison, sponsor of the bill, watched as the House passed the bill, then rushed back to the Senate to make sure it was brought up for a vote before adjournment.

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