‘Big Bertha’ debate stalls legislative action

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2002

Action in the Alabama House remained stalled Thursday as House members dealt with a 1,000-page bill nicknamed "Big Bertha."

The bill was introduced three weeks ago as a GOP stalling tactic after Republicans became angry about a proposed redistricting plan which eventually passed.

But, according to The Associated Press, a proposed compromise between Republicans and Democrats fell apart Thursday, and House members failed to pass a suspension of rules that would take the lengthy bill off the table.

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In the meantime, the Senate had little action Thursday as well, despite efforts to pass a bill to that would allow Troy State University and other regional universities to waive fees for out-of-state students.

The Senate debated the bill Thursday but took no action on it.

Out-of-state students pay two times the tuition Alabamians shell out.

"(TSU) says they’re not getting out-of-state students like they once were, and they aren’t getting HOPE scholarship students," Sen. Ted Little, D-Auburn, said Wednesday.

The state of Georgia provides HOPE scholarship money through its lottery.

"What it really means is that if it passes, the taxpayers of Alabama will be subsidizing a state institution," Little said.