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Annual legislative conference
More than 30 state legislators plan trip to Williamsburg for event

MONTGOMERY (AP) — More than 30 of Alabama's 140 legislators have received permission to attend the Southern Legislative Conference's annual meeting in Williamsburg, Va., this weekend at state expense.

The Birmingham News reported Wednesday the trip could cost taxpayers about $60,000.

Six senators and 26 members of the House asked for and received permission to attend from their presiding officers, but at least one senator later decided not to make the trip.

Rep. Priscilla Dunn, D-Bessemer, said she serves on the conference's policy and education committees and plans to attend the meeting.

"I can bring some ideas from the Southern (Legislative Conference) back to my own state," she said.

Sen. Scott Beason, R-Fultondale, also plans to go. "I go to a conference about once every two or three years," Beason said.

Senators file written cost estimates when requesting to travel out of state at state expense. Beason's request said he planned to leave Friday and return Wednesday. It estimated his trip would cost $2,009 — $500 for air fare, $350 for registration, $925 for lodging and $234 for meals. The trips could cost the state about $60,000 if Beason's estimate is a guide and almost all the lawmakers who got permission attend the meeting.

Those who received permission are: Sens. Beason; Rusty Glover, R-Semmes; Ted Little, D-Auburn; Larry Means, D-Attalla; Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne; and Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, who no longer plans to go. And Reps. Alan Boothe, D-Troy; Steve Clouse, R-Ozark; Mike Curtis, D-Florence; Randy Davis, R-Daphne; Owen Drake, R-Leeds; Bill Dukes, D-Decatur; Dunn; Joe Faust, R-Fairhope; Victor Gaston, R-Mobile; Mac Gipson, R-Prattville; Betty Carol Graham, D-Alexander City; Ron Grantland, D-Hartselle; Ken Guin, D-Carbon Hill; Laura Hall, D-Hunts-
ville; Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville; John Knight, D-Montgomery; Jody Letson, D-Hillsboro; Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw; Frank McDaniel, D-Albertville; Johnny Mack Morrow, D-Red Bay; Arthur Payne, R-Trussville; John Rogers, D-Birmingham; Howard Sanderford, R-Huntsville; William Thigpen, D-Fayette; Lesley Vance, D-Phenix City; and Henry White, D-Athens.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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