Tag: Legislature 2017
Legislators checked off everything on their must-do list and adjourned for the year Friday, passing redistricting plans mandated by the court on their final day and finishing off the last of the budgets earlier in the week.
But not everything on the priority list made it through the gauntlet, and Gov. Kay Ivey said she might have to call legislators back into session later this year to address conditions in the state’s prisons. A bill to finance construction of new prisons was debated in the regular session but died for lack of consensus.
Other bills did squeeze through in the waning days of the session, including one to renew a tax credit program to encourage renovation of historic buildings. Jefferson County legislators, Democrats and Republicans alike, had listed that bill as their top priority for the session.
Here is a sampling of legislative action of interest in the Birmingham area and statewide:
Legislature OKs Redistricting Plan on Last Day of the Session (BirminghamWatch)
Tax Credits for Renovating Historic Buildings Passed by the Legislature (BirminghamWatch)
Alabama Lawmakers End Tumultuous Legislative Session (Associated Press)
Speaker: House Members Will Get Sensitivity Training (Decatur Daily)
A Look at What Passed and Failed in the 2017 Session (Associated Press)
Gov. Kay Ivey Says Special Session on Prisons Possible (AL.com)
Changes to Accountability Act Fail in House (Montgomery Advertiser)
Day Care Oversight Bill Dies in Alabama Senate (Montgomery Advertiser)
Ivey Signs Autism Bill Into Law (Montgomery Advertiser)
Historic Monuments Bill Goes to Governor (Montgomery Advertiser)
South Alabama Lawmaker Eyeing TVA Money (Decatur Daily)
The Alabama Legislature on Friday approved a bill to restore tax credits to encourage renovation of historic buildings.
The bill, House Bill 345, now goes to the governor for her signature.
The program, which expired last year, helped fund restoration of 51 buildings across the state, most notably in Birmingham and Mobile.
Legislators on Tuesday will begin debating a committee’s plans for redrawing House and Senate districts a federal court ruled had been racially gerrymandered.
With only a handful of days left before the regular session must end, the Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment last week approved a redistricting plan.
But Democratic members of the committee were not satisfied with changes made to the state’s districting maps and said they thought the committee had not changed lines enough. Read more.
Briarwood Presbyterian Church may soon join the ranks of the Vatican and Washington National Cathedral as a religious institution with its own police department.
Critics of the bill to allow Briarwood to establish its own police department say the move is unconstitutional. But Briarwood representatives cite the increasing rate of mass shootings at churches, schools and commercial venues as reasons for bringing police officers on staff.
Since the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee approved the legislation April 19, the Alabama House of Representatives is likely to vote this next week on whether to allow the Vestavia Hills church to establish its own police department. Read more.
Guide to Bentley Impeachment Actions
Look here for a roundup of news coverage about Gov. Robert Bentley’s impeachment hearings and resources related to the case.
ALGOP Leadership Calls on Gov. Bentley to Resign Immediately (WSFA)
Meet the Judiciary Committee (BirminghamWatch)
Listen to audio of the Judiciary Committee meeting and impeachment hearings, which begin at 10 a.m.
LINK TO EVIDENCE
Fifteen members of the House Judiciary Committee are set to begin hearing testimony Monday morning to determine whether to impeach Gov. Robert Bentley.
If the committee votes for impeachment, the issue would go before the full House. If members there voted for impeachment, Bentley would be suspended from his job as governor and face trial by the state Senate. If two-third of senators voted to convict Bentley, he would be removed from office.
It all starts with the Judiciary Committee. Read more.
Legislators will return to Montgomery on Tuesday after a two-week spring break still facing the controversial issues that were on their desks at the beginning of the session.
Prison crowding, budgets, impeachment and redistricting are just a few of the weighty matters legislators must grapple with in the rest of their session.
When they return, it will be for the 14th business day, just shy of the halfway mark in the 30-day session. Read more.
How old must a building be before it is considered historic? Should tax credits for their preservation be split evenly across the state or allowed to cluster in the cities?
Both are questions still in play as the Alabama Legislature considers restoring a program that helped fund renewal efforts, most notably in Birmingham and Mobile.
The historic preservation tax credit, which has helped fund restoration of 51 buildings across the state so far, is headed to a House committee vote next week. But then negotiations will begin over the House sponsor’s vision for extension of the tax credit and a heavily amended version that has been passed by the Senate.
Rep. Victor Gaston, R-Mobile, sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives, said the important thing is to get the money flowing to the program again. Gaston said that not only do the tax credits help pay to restore often dilapidated buildings, but those projects create jobs for the construction workers and craftsmen employed to do the work. Read more.
The newly renovated Pizitz Building sits on 19th Street North in downtown Birmingham, its pristine, wedding cake white façade belying its 94 years.
It’s the latest among dozens of historic downtown Birmingham buildings that have been renovated in recent years. But many more of them haven’t been. They stand nearby, vacant or sparsely populated, with fading signs and sagging woodwork.
Three such buildings in Birmingham – a total of seven from around the state – are on a list at the Alabama Historic Commission, waiting to see whether the Legislature will renew tax credits for historic renovation.
The tax credit expired last year because of concerns about the cost of the program to the state. But bills to overhaul and reinstate the tax credit program have pulled much more support this year – at least in theory.
The tax credit this year has 87 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 29 co-sponsors in the Senate. “It’s huge for Birmingham,’’ said Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, who introduced the bill in the Senate this year. Read more.
While Alabama’s House and Senate make headlines with debates over pistol permits, death sentences and sanctuary campuses, staff members and legislators are working largely unnoticed on a project that could affect the racial and political makeup of the Legislature.
A federal court in January ruled that some of Alabama’s legislative districts amounted to racial gerrymandering, putting too many predominantly black communities with little in common in the same district and diluting their influence. Since then, the Permanent Legislative Committee on Reapportionment has started to look at maps and redraw the boundaries of House and Senate districts. Perhaps 30 of the Alabama Legislature’s 140 districts might be affected.
The chairman of the committee said in a meeting recently that he was hoping for a quick and amicable process. But rarely in Alabama are conversations about race either quick or completely amicable, and this one is beginning against an already politically charged background.