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PACT bill singles out Troy, others

The Alabama Legislature made several moves its next to last day in session Wednesday, one that some say is unfair to Troy University.

A compromised version of the PACT (Prepaid Affordable College Tuition) bill that would ultimately help the state fund its promised investments to the nearly 44,000 investors met OK at the Senate level Wednesday.

The bill also met with House approval, but Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, said it wasn’t a fair bill to all involved.

The compromised version of the bill caps tuition on all universities for PACT students, with the exceptions of the University of Alabama and Auburn University.

“That’s just not fair to Troy and other regional institutions,” Boothe said. “We can’t allow Alabama and Auburn to do something and not the rest of them.”

Still though, Boothe said when it came time to vote he gave the bill his approval.

“There needs to be some kind of solution to this,” he said.

The bill passed the Senate without any type of hold on tuition increases, but it was frozen across the board in the House version, which is why it came to a compromise.

Troy University lobbyist Marcus Paramore said the university has been opposed all along to mandatory tuition amounts because tuition decisions should be made by the Board of Trustees.

Still, the school has chosen to freeze its tuition for PACT students on its own up until Fall 2012.

The money to fund the plan will come from savings the state realizes as it pays off bonds, reported the Associated Press.

Also in session, the House did not consider its most highly-discussed issue of the session in a bill to legalize, tax and regulate electronic bingo.

“In my opinion the bill is dead,” Boothe said.

That’s the same opinion of the bill’s sponsor Rep. Marcel Black of Tuscumbia, the AP reports.

The bill to legalize electronic bingo in the state met approval at the Senate level earlier this year.

If it had passed the House, it would have come before voters for approval in November.