News & Updates

May 12, 2017

Legislative Session Update, Week 12

BUDGETS:

The General Fund Budget has been passed and sent to the Governor. The Education Budget has been sent to a conference committee. Both Houses will still have to agree to the terms of the conference committee compromise.

With the budgets essentially out of the way, the biggest issue left is the court ordered redistricting of both houses for the 2018 election. The House has passed redistricting of the House. The Senate has passed redistricting of the Senate. Both will still have to pass their plans in the other house. State Representative Thomas Jackson (D-Thomasville) asked for the House plan to be read at length. This burned up 18 hours of legislative time and they could still do the same with the Senate bill (though with 35 districts it is a shorter bill. If a Senator should do the same thing lots of legislation that appears to be on track will die in the Senate.


SEVERAL ISSUES DIED THIS WEEK:

SB24 the permitless carry for handguns bill appears dead for this Session.

The ballot access bill will die in committee Independent candidates for the Special U.S. Senate election seeking to have the number of ballot signatures reduced for a Special Election won’t see it happen in this session.

The gas tax is dead for this year.  If Congress were to pass President Trump’s trillion dollar infrastructure plan that could possible change things next year.  Neither the state nor counties have the funds to provide matching dollars if a big pot of federal infrastructure dollars did become available.


HIGHLIGHTS TO EXPECT IN THE HOMESTRETCH:

HB315 (the Midwife Bill) by Representative Ken Johnson (R-Moulton), passed the Senate Judiciary Committee but was amended so that doctors and hospitals treating an emergency following a midwife’s care have civil immunity if something goes wrong. The bill is expected to get to the floor of the Senate this week. Alabama is one of just a few states not to allow certified midwives to practice.


HB284 (the insurance bill for Autistic children) sponsored by state Representative Jim Patterson (R-Meridianville) came out of committee in the Senate and could be voted on next week. The bill would mandate insurance coverage for an autism spectrum therapy called applied behavioral analysis therapy.  It passed the House unanimously, but Senate leadership has expressed reservations.


A bill to require state inspections for church-affiliated child care centers could also pass. The Alabama Department of Human Resources licenses and inspects child care centers, but church-affiliated centers are exempt.  Like the autism bill, the Child Care Safety Act has drawn backers to the State House. A Senate committee approved it on May 3 but the Senate has not debated it.


After a public hearing this week on the $848 million prison bill, the House Judiciary Committee declined to vote and the bill failed to advance.  Revisions to the bill and a substitute are in the works and could still come up before the end of the session.


The Memorials Preservation Act by Senator Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa)  has been sent to a conference committee and appears to be on track for passage.


Scholarships for Veterans - Republican lawmakers are also working to save the Alabama G.I. Dependent’s Scholarship Program, which has been called “unsustainable” considering increasing costs of higher education. Currently, the scholarship assists veterans and some 16,595 dependents of disabled veterans with tuition, books, and fees at state-supported colleges and technical schools.


Common Core Repeal - a measure, sponsored by Rep. Barry Moore (R- Enterprise) would repeal Common Core and protect local control by preventing state officials from adopting other national standards in the future.  The legislation is currently stalled in the House Education Committee.


The House also is set to deal with the latest version of the Accountability Act. Contributions to the Scholarship program have declined from $25.8 million to just $19.9 million. The new bill would: raise the limits on the amount of tax credits that could be claimed to 100 percent for individuals and 75 percent for corporations; allow persons to direct their utility gross-receipts tax to the scholarships; expand the pool of donors by allowing trusts and estates to participate and set the cumulative cap on donations at $30 million and reserve $15 million for individuals.


For More Information Visit This Website: $1.8 Billion General Fund - Ala Political Reporter


View All News & Updates