Category: Alabama Legislature
MONTGOMERY — Renewed efforts to eliminate the state’s sales tax on groceries has been gaining support in the Alabama Legislature, but some are still concerned about how to replace the loss of revenue — nearly $500 million a year — in the Education Trust Fund. Read more.
MONTGOMERY— A bill requiring transgender student athletes to compete on sports teams based on their gender at birth stalled without a vote in a House committee Thursday. Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, said his “Gender is Real Legislation” is not dead, despite no committee member moving to vote on the bill and advance it. Read more.
MONTGOMERY — An Alabama lawmaker says public schools should extend their summer breaks through Labor Day to help workforce development.
Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford, said he’ll sponsor legislation to require that school summer breaks run at least from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If Hurst’s proposal were in effect this year, students would have a 15-week break. He said the current summer breaks don’t give older students enough time to get summer jobs and work experience.
While some business leaders support the move, other school leaders oppose it, saying it takes local control away from school systems and could cause hardship for students and families. Read more.
MONTGOMERY — A state lawmaker wants to increase penalties for cities that violate the state’s law protecting Confederate monuments, but others are concerned about creating financial burdens for smaller cities and the lack of an appeal process.
Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, said he introduced the bill in order to preserve the state’s history. “How can you tell the complete story by taking away, by whitewashing, by doing away with something that really you can learn something from it,” Allen said.
Allen’s Senate Bill 127 would increase penalties for violating the 2017 Alabama Memorial Preservation Act from a total of $25,000 to $10,000 a day. Read more.
Recent growth in Alabama’s General Fund revenues has some lawmakers wanting to save for future lean years.
A bill filed Thursday in the Alabama Senate would create the General Fund Budget Reserve Fund.
“Although we are currently enjoying the benefits of the longest period of growth that I am aware of, we will have an economic downturn – we always do,” Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, said. He’s sponsoring the legislation.
“Creating a reserve and planning for a rainy day is just good public policy. When we save for a rainy day, we will be better prepared when tough times come.”
A proposal in the Alabama State House would do away with the Alabama Auditor’s Office and transfer its duties to the Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts Department.
The auditor’s position is created in the Alabama Constitution, so abolishing it would have to be approved by voters through a constitutional amendment.
With voter approval, Senate Bill 83 from Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Gadsden, would shutter the office when Auditor Jim Zeigler’s current term ends in 2022.
MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey has told lawmakers she wants the facts on the financial impact of a lottery and expanded gambling in Alabama and is putting together a working group to get them. She won’t take any action on the matter until then, she said.
But that information is months away, and a key lawmaker said Wednesday he’s moving forward with a proposal for a statewide lottery.
Ivey’s working group also will analyze a possible compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
“I’ll give them to the year’s end, but if they get through sooner, that’ll be fine too,” Ivey told reporters Wednesday. “But I want them to be thorough and get the facts, that’s all I want is the facts, not recommendations. We just want the facts about how much money the state can expect to gain if we do a lottery or if we do expanded gaming or a compact and what the heck does a compact look like?” Read more.
MONTGOMERY — Bills to deny bail for those accused of violent crimes were discussed in House and Senate committees Wednesday but did not advance.
In the Senate, a constitutional amendment by Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, would automatically deny bail for six specific violent offenses: murder, first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, kidnapping, sexual abuse or sexual torture and human trafficking.
The bill, which opponents say would unconstitutionally pre-convict a suspect, is being considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Ward is chairman.
Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday night asked lawmakers to support a $1 billion bond for K-12, community college and university construction projects and to slow down on proposals for a lottery or gambling in the state.
The Alabama Legislature convened for its annual session earlier in the day.
In her third State of the State address, Ivey touted the need for new prisons and more funding for mental and rural health and education initiatives. She’s also proposing pay raises for state and education employees.
She said the school bond money could be used for new construction, safety improvements or technology upgrades “Equally important,” she said. “this bond will not include any legislative earmarks for pet projects Read more.
Alabama’s 2020 legislative session begins Tuesday in Montgomery, where the state’s prison crisis and another effort to let Alabamians vote on a lottery promise to be must-watch issues. There’s also the state’s budgets, both with more money and more demands in 2021, and possible raises for state employees and teachers. Increased mental health services, which most agree haven’t been properly addressed in years, and legalizing medical marijuana are also on the table.
Gov. Kay Ivey will give her third State of the State speech Tuesday evening. Read more about some of the issues expected to be debated.