charter schools

A man who spent nearly 30 years on Alabama's death row has been freed following a decades-long fight to prove his innocence.

Fifty-eight-year-old Anthony Ray Hinton was released Friday morning from an Alabama prison. He hugged family members as he walked out, saying, "Thank you Jesus."

Hinton was convicted of the 1985 murders of two Birmingham fast-food restaurant managers. Crime scene bullets were the only evidence linking Hinton to the slayings.

Several hundred members of the Alabama Education Association filled the Capitol steps to push for better working conditions and the repeal of new state tax credits for private school students.

The rally Tuesday was one of the biggest by any group during this year's legislative session.

The Alabama House Education Policy Committee has approved a bill to give local school systems the ability to waive certain regulations or requirements.

The committee voted Wednesday afternoon in favor of the measure by Rep. Chad Fincher, R- Semmes.

Supporters, including state schools Superintendent Tommy Bice, told lawmakers that research has shown reducing rules and regulations can increase creativity in the classroom. Bice called the bill a vote of confidence in teachers and school leaders.

Gov. Robert Bentley says he doesn't plan to propose the legalization of charter schools again in the 2013 session of the Legislature.

The Republican governor proposed charter school legislation in the 2012 session, but the state teachers' organization, the Alabama Education Association, secured enough votes to stop it.