Alabama state parks

trail repair
SORBA Huntsville

After the Tennessee Valley region was hit hard by strong wind and heavy rain earlier this week, members of an area mountain biking organization took to area trails with tools instead of bikes.

Dozens of members of the Southern Off Road Bicycling Organization (SORBA) headed to Monte Sano State Park, where several hiking and mountain biking trails were damaged by the storms. WHNT-TV reports the North Plateau trail at Monte Sano was completely impassable, and some other trails were hardly recognizable due to storm debris.

Alabama's secretary of state says an error that forced nearly three million ballots to be reprinted cost the state over $450,000.

Secretary of State John Merrill announced the final cost for the reprint yesterday. He says the exact cost was $459,690.80.

Merrill says an employee made a transcription error in a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at protecting funding for Alabama's state park system.

In Alabama, voters approved a constitutional amendment designed to protect funding for state parks.

Yesterday, voters passed the proposed Amendment 2 to the Alabama Constitution. The measure will prevent any money generated at state parks, as well as any tax dollars designated for park maintenance, from being transferred to other government functions. It will also allow private entities to run hotels, golf courses and restaurants at the parks.

Alabama voters on Election Day will have their say on 14 proposed statewide amendments. One of those is aimed at protecting money for the Yellowhammer State's twenty one state parks.

Amendment 2 would prohibit money generated at state parks— as well as tax dollars earmarked for park maintenance — from being transferred to other government functions. It would also allow more private entities to run hotels, golf courses and restaurants at the parks.

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is asking a state judicial panel to dismiss ethics charges against him. Moore says he never told probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples.

Moore is accused of violating judicial ethics with a 2016 administrative order.  It came six months after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage.

His lawyers say the order only noted correctly that a state court injunction to refuse same-sex marriage licenses had not been lifted.

Alabama’s Senate could be debating allowing medical marijuana in the state soon, since a Senate committee approved a comprehensive medical marijuana bill yesterday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4 to 3 to pass the measure. The bill was likely able to pass committee because three Republican senators failed to attend the meeting.

The legislation, if passed, would allow patients who suffer from 25 specific conditions to purchase a maximum of ten ounces of medical marijuana per month from a state-regulated dispensary.

Alabama parks scheduled to close next month will stay open a little while longer.

Alabama State Parks Director Greg Lein on Wednesday said Gov. Robert Bentley has instructed him to delay closing four parks and two golf courses on May 1.

Earlier this month the park system announced plans to close as many as 15 of the state's 22 parks due to budget cuts.

Despite a dire budget situation that may force two thirds of Alabama's state parks to close, two of the parks remaining open are planning to build new hotels on site.

Both Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores and Oak Mountain State Park south of Birmingham are finalizing major upgrade plans to their facilities, which include multi million dollar hotels.

outdooralabama.com

Alabama State Parks is considering a "state parks pass" for vehicles in response to a tight 2013 budget.

Without additional funding, Greg Lein, director of Alabama State Parks, says there could be layoffs and partial seasonal closures of some parks and golf courses. Lein says decisions on which operations could be affected will be made on a month-by-month basis.