published Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

AL lawmakers give themselves tourism grants to award

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Senate has added $1 million to the state tourism department's proposed budget for grants that will be doled out at lawmakers' recommendation.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that each House district will get $5,000 and each Senate district will get $15,000 to help distribute.

Republican Senate budget chairman Arthur Orr said the budget language was added after legislators asked how to get support for projects in their districts.

The state tourism department will have control over the grants, but the budget also specifies they will be distributed following the recommendation of lawmakers. Lawmakers face re-election later this year.

Orr said the grants are an investment.

The grants are a sliver of the $1.8 billion proposed budget, but lawmakers have also emphasized they are facing a difficult budget year.

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