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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

House Passes PACT Bill

The House passed a bill that would take about $150 milliion in oil and gas money to save the state's prepaid affordable college tuition program.

But the bill won't save everybody as it stands, and it still has to get past the Senate.

In an 86 to 3 vote, the House voted to pass state Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, after some quick discussion between Ford and state Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery.

The bill, surprisingly, was on the House's 10-minute calendar Wednesday.

Holmes offered an amendment that would allow the bill to only protect people who invested in the PACT program before 1995.

"After 1995, all those people signed a form when they signed up that said that the money would be invested and that there was a risk that they could lose some or all of their money," he said.

Ford asked Holmes, "If I don't accept your amendment..." "I'm going to kill your bill," Holmes said.

"I think I'll adopt the amendment," Ford said.

Since the bill was on the 10-minute calendar, Holmes, who is famous for his ability to filibuster, could have just talked the bill to death.

House members were initially opposed to Holmes' amendment, but agreed to it at the urging of Ford. The bill has to be assigned to a Senate committee, which would have to give it a favorable report so it could be taken up by the full Senate for debate.

Thursday is the 28the legislative day. The 2009 session ends May 15.

-- posted by Markeshia Ricks

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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