Alabama Same Sex Marriage update, prison reform, Huntsville beer brewing class

Mar 17, 2015

A federal judge is not backing off her order to an Alabama probate judge that he must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge Callie Granade on Monday refused to stay her order to Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis. Granade in January ruled that Alabama's gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional and told Davis that he could not refuse licenses because of a couple's sexual orientation.

The Alabama Supreme Court, however, issued a ruling earlier this month telling all probate judges to refuse to issue the licenses.

Granade said the "overwhelming consensus" of courts across the country is that the bans are unconstitutional.

Following the state Supreme Court decision, Davis shut down all marriage-license operations altogether to avoid running afoul of either order.

A revised plan to address prison overcrowding has cleared a hurdle in the Alabama Senate.

State Senator Cam Ward of Alabaster hopes to have his prison reform bill before the full Senate by the end of the month.

The plan is supposed to help relieve Alabama’s overcrowded prisons, which are holding almost twice as many prisoners as they’re designed for.

The bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee after some tweaking to address concerns by law enforcement. Local sheriffs were worried that their departments might have to shoulder extra costs associated with the plan.

The bill is the result of a list of recommendations by a prison reform task force including more supervision to reduce repeat offenders.

The twenty five million dollar a year reform package will still leave Alabama’s prisons at sixty five percent over capacity. 

In keeping with St. Patrick’s Day, a community college in Huntsville is hosting a day and a half long class all about beer.

The brand-new course at J.F. Drake State Technical College in Huntsville will cover everything from the history of beer to how it’s brewed, state and federal legislation, and the growing craft beer industry.

Carie Partain is the vice president of Free the Hops - Alabamians for Specialty Beer, and organized the course curriculum. She says the class is designed to appeal to a wide variety of students.

“We have people that range from beer enthusiasts, people who are looking to start up businesses in the craft beer industry, we’re working with people who are looking for workforce development and jobs they might want to insert themselves into some training for to find their place in this industry that’s growing so rapidly here in Alabama.”

The day and a half course is being held today and tomorrow at J.F. Drake Technical College in Huntsville. The college is already working on plans to develop for-credit courses and even an associate’s degree program in brewing.