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Tennessee Valley News Week in Review 6/7/2024

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.

Students at University of Alabama System campuses could see tuition rates increase by up to 4% for the 2024-25 school year. The UA System Board of Trustees Finance Committee unanimously approved a resolution Thursday afternoon that would increase in-state, undergraduate tuition rates by 2.5%. AL.com reports out-of-state tuition would rise by 3% at UA and UAB, and by 4% at UAH. Required fees will not change. The full board of trustees, which oversees the campuses in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville, will vote on the increases at its board meeting on Friday, June 7.

A new law requiring more information about classroom instruction be made available to parents is now in effect. The Parents Right to Know Act sponsored by Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, requires public schools to post curricula for each class publicly online. AL.com reports the new law requires local superintendents and boards of education to verify that teaching materials have been made available for public viewing on a school’s website. The law also requires teachers to allow parents of children in their class to examine all instructional and supplemental materials and books available to students in the classroom. In addition, the law creates a mechanism for parents to file complaints regarding material they find objectionable.

The state’s hands free driving law is now in place. Sergeant Jeremy Burkett with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency tells WBRC TV in Birmingham the actual citation enforcement period will begin on the 15th. On the first offense, the fine can be up to $50 and 1 point can be put on the license. For the second offense, it could be a $100 fine and two points on the license. The third offense will incur a $150 fine and three points on the license. That’s within a 24 month period.

Decatur City Council President Jacob Ladner announced plans to vote on an independent, comprehensive review of the Decatur Police Department. It will be conducted by Huntsville-based Green Research & Technology. The CEO of Green Research & Technology, Tory Green, is a former Huntsville police officer and Secret Service special agent. On Friday Ladner said he was aware that Green already met with Mayor Tab Bowling, Chief Todd Pinion and some Decatur police captains last year after Steve Perkins was shot and killed by a former Decatur police officer on Sept. 29. Ladner tells the Decatur Daily the review is necessary to provide answers to “many claims and assertions” made about DPD.

Plans are officially underway to replace the replica Saturn 1B Rocket that once stood at the Ardmore Welcome Center. Lawmakers have secured funding to have the rocket replaced. Alabama Rep. Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) tells WHNT TV lawmakers have secured $7 million in state funds to re-establish the iconic structure. He says there’s no definite timeline as to when construction will start or when it’ll be complete.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntsville as the No. 2 most affordable place to live in 2024-25. Fort Wayne, Indiana was number one. 256 Today reports the magazine looked at the proportion of the median annual household income that goes toward the average cost to own or rent a home, including the typical cost of utilities and taxes, as well as price parity, which compares the cost of goods and services across the country. Another Alabama city, Montgomery, made the top ten on the list coming in at number 7.