Siegelman signs Children First legislation
Alabama has reserved at least $60 million annually from any national tobacco settlement to pay for state programs that serve at-risk children and juvenile criminals.
Gov. Don Siegelman signed the Children First legislation in a Wednesday ceremony at the Capitol. Advocates of Children First have been pushing the initiatives for some five years. Children First programs include boot camps, alternative schools for chronic troublemakers, additional juvenile probation officers, and school safety enhancement programs. The law creates a Children First Trust Fund that will get $60 million in fiscal 2000 from any tobacco settlement money. That allocation is to increase to $65 million in 2001 and $70 million in 2002. Medicaid is to get $40 million from any tobacco settlement money in fiscal 2000 and programs for senior citizens are to get $2 million annually.