House panel approves bills to rescue PACT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama House committee has approved three bills that supporters say will insure college tuition is paid for 45,000 children whose parents bought contracts in the state's prepaid college tuition program.

The House Education Appropriations Committee by unanimous voice votes Wednesday approved the bills that will guarantee all current contracts and end the 20-year-old PACT program when all current contracts are paid.

Several dozen PACT supporters broke into applause when the committee voted to guarantee the contracts. The supporters were mostly Alabama residents who had bought PACT contracts for their children and grandchildren.

The bills by Democratic Rep. Craig Ford of Gadsden and Republican Rep. Greg Wren of Montgomery now go to the full House for debate.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)