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For Immediate Release: April 6, 2011

House Delivers on Promised "Handshake" Bills

MONTGOMERY – House Speaker Mike Hubbard today praised House Members for passing all bills promised in the “Handshake with Alabama,” a series of reforms Republican candidates vowed to pass during the 2010 election cycle.

The final two bills on the “Handshake” agenda passed Tuesday: House Bill 60, which calls for a public referendum on the national healthcare law. Passed 67-28; and House Bill 56, which combats illegal immigration, passed the full House Tuesday. Passed 73-28 with one abstention.

“I commend my fellow House Members for staying true to the commitments we made to the people of Alabama,” Speaker Hubbard said. “Passing the entire ‘Handshake’ agenda in just ten legislative days is a remarkable accomplishment. But we didn’t run over anybody to do it. We allowed the opposition to fully debate each bill and have their say. Majority Leader Hammon, the bill sponsors and our committee chairman deserve a great deal of credit for shepherding these bills through the legislative process.

“Most voters are used to hearing politicians say one thing on the campaign trail, and seeing them do something else once elected. Today we can say that we have delivered on the promises we made to enact conservative, good-government reforms and look out for Alabama taxpayers. We’ll continue taking on the tough problems our state is facing, working to move Alabama forward, and never back.”

Many “Handshake” bills passed in last December’s Special Session on anti-corruption reform. The seven bills that remained were:
1. House Bill 56, sponsored by Rep. Micky Hammon of Decatur: gives local law enforcement the authority to verify the residency status of those they detain, requires business owners to vet new hires with the “E-verify” system and mandates that recipients of taxpayer-funded public services must be legal residents of the United States.

2. House Bill 57, sponsored by Rep. Greg Canfield of Vestavia Hills: Known as the Responsible Budgeting and Spending Act, bases state revenue estimates upon a 15-year rolling average, absorbing cyclical economic changes and enabling lawmakers to pass “proration-proof” budgets”.

3. House Bill 58 sponsored by Rep. Mike Ball of Huntsville: Requires public disclosure of the names of public officials or candidates or spouses of public officials or candidates who are employed by the state or who have a contract with the state. Disclosure occurs by filing appropriate advanced (30 days) notice with the Alabama Ethics Commission.

4. House Bill 60 sponsored by Rep. Blaine Galliher of Gadsden: Proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901 which, if ratified, will prohibit any person, employer, or health care provider from being compelled to participate in any health care system.

5. House Bill 61 sponsored by Rep. April Weaver of Shelby County: Allows small business employers and employees to deduct 200% of the amounts they pay in health insurance premiums from their state income tax.

6. House Bill 62 sponsored by Rep. Mike Jones of Andalusia: Protects the Alabama Ethics Commission from political retaliation by ensuring that its annual appropriation in the State General Fund Appropriations Act is an amount equal to .1% of the total funds appropriated from the State General Fund in the State General Fund Appropriations Act.

7. House Bill 64 sponsored by Rep. Kurt Wallace of Maplesville: Proposes an amendment to the 1901 Constitution of Alabama which, if ratified, would classify as “fundamental” the right of individuals to vote for public office, public votes on referenda, or votes of employee representation by secret ballot.

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