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Alabama Senate passes bill to grant in-state tuition to children of military service members who get transferred out of state

The Alabama Senate on Tuesday passed a bill sponsored by State Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) that would grant children of a military service member in-state tuition at Alabama’s public universities even if their parent(s) are transferred out of state while the student is enrolled.

The legislation was part of the Senate’s “Military Friendliness Day” where the body took up a number of bills from legislators in both parties that sought to make Alabama as favorable to the military as possible. Military Friendliness Day and its corresponding package of bills were championed by Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth, who, as part of the duties of his office, presides over the Alabama Senate.

“What this is going to do is make Alabama a more military-friendly state,” Whatley told Yellowhammer News shortly after the bill’s passage.

He said the situation the bill aimed to alleviate is one where a “child could lose in-state tuition and have to uproot their own educational pursuits through no fault of their own.”

Whatley has served in the Alabama National Guard for many years and told Yellowhammer about how that affected his thinking in regard to the bill that passed Tuesday.

He said of his service to the country, “It made it personal for me, it made it something I understood. I understood the plight of the military families that had this going on. I appreciate Lt. Governor Ainsworth for letting me handle it.”

Other items passed by the Alabama Senate on Military Friendliness Day include:

  • Sen. David Burkette’s (D-Montgomery) bill to allow local municipalities/counties to create organizations that will develop area adjacent to active Air Force bases.
  • Sen. Andrew Jones’ (R-Cente) bill to make easier the procurement of an Alabama teaching certificate by qualified members who served in the Armed Forces.
  • Sen. Tom Butler’s (R-Madison) bill that would make necessary the alerting of military bases when a county or municipality builds a tall structure in the vicinity of the base.
  • Two bills from Sen. Will Barfoot (R-Pike Road).
    • One that would require school districts with magnet schools to accept applications from students who have transferred into the district due to their parents being stationed there by the military.
    • A second that would authorize the formation of charter schools near military facilities.
  • Sen. Donnie Chesteen’s (R-Geneva) bill making it easier for the offspring of those serving in the Armed Forces to enroll in Alabama’s virtual education options.
  • A second bill from Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) that reshapes the Armory Commission of Alabama, changing it from nine to 15 members.

Multiple state senators who were part of the effort thanked Lieutenant Governor Ainsworth for spearheading the Military appreciation effort.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: [email protected] or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

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