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Tennessee Valley News Week in Review 2-23-24

Catch up on the biggest news about people, places, events and activities happening in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley
Catch up on the biggest news about people, places, events and activities happening in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley

Catch up on the week's biggest stories about people, places, events and activities happening in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley.

A bill filed this week in the Alabama House would provide that any fertilized human egg or human embryo outside of a uterus “is not considered an unborn child or human being for any purpose under state law.” House Bill 225, filed by Democratic Reps. Anthony Daniels and four others would apparently protect in vitro fertilization following a ruling by the state’s Supreme Court. The bill would take effect immediately, if approved and signed into law. The bill came after State Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, told the Alabama Reflector that he would file a similar bill.

A new version of an Alabama bill targeting campus diversity efforts will now include some key protections for Title IX programs and state minority offices. SB129, authored by Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Pike Road, would prohibit government institutions, including state agencies, public schools and colleges, from funding a diversity, equity and inclusion office and from sponsoring DEI programs or any program that “advocates for a divisive concept.” After a six-hour discussion Thursday, the Senate approved the legislation on a 26-7 vote along party lines. AL.com reports that critics worry it could hurt the state’s ability to recruit businesses and could make Black students question whether they are welcomed at state universities.

The legislation to allow voters to decide whether to authorize a lottery, casinos, and legal sports betting in Alabama does not have the votes to pass right now. That’s according to Sen. Greg Albritton of Atmore. He tells AL.com he has to try to change some senators’ minds to reach the 21 votes needed to pass the constitutional amendment. Albritton said the legislation would not be moving this week. The next step for it will be consideration in the Senate Tourism Committee.

The Alabama Department of Revenue will waive the state sales tax on certain severe weather preparedness items this weekend. Consumers can purchase these items without the state sales tax starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday through midnight on Sunday. Exempt items include batteries, NOAA weather radios, flashlights, duct tape, plywood, non-electric food storage coolers and more. WAFF TV notes local sales tax may still apply. A complete list of exempt items can be found here: https://www.revenue.alabama.gov/ultraviewer/viewer/basic_viewer/index.html?form=2024/01/2024-Severe-Weather-Sales-Tax-Holiday-Fact-Sheet.pdf

Downtown Huntsville, Inc. hosted its 2024 Annual Meeting and Downtown Awards event at Campus 805’s Stone Event Center on February 21st. Jazz in the Park took home Event of the Year. Wicks Family Field at Joe Davis Stadium won the vote for Project of the Year. The Advocate of the Year award went to Donna Castellano, Executive Director of the Historic Huntsville Foundation, for her strong love of Huntsville’s history and commitment to researching and bringing long-needed recognition to stories that are marginalized or forgotten.

The weekend, the Huntsville Ballet company will offer in-studio performances as part of its first-ever Dancers Choice Series. New to their 60th season, this series gives Huntsville Ballet Company members the opportunity to choreograph and perform in genres of their choice. Performing in a smaller, more intimate setting of our studio will create an interactive and educational experience allowing for conversation between the audience and the dancers and directors. Seating is limited for in-studio public performances which will be held February 23, 24, and 25. More information is at HuntsvilleBallet.org or by calling 256-539-0961.

The Land Trust of North Alabama invites you to bring your own pup or meet an adoptable dog from the Greater Huntsville Humane Society Saturday at its Hike A Hound event. The Humane Society will bring some of their dogs to the Green Mountain Preserve for the hike that starts at 1PM. Registration and information is available here:

Hike-a-Hound at Green Mountain Nature Preserve