2/26/2018 Group Watch: Senator Shelby Speaks on School Security

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, who has served in Congress for 40 years, said recently that he thinks the nation needs to do more related to who can get guns. He called for a closer look at those with mental health issues and possibly tightening up background checks. He also mentioned the importance of a level-headed approach to working with schools to have persons trained for security at schools. Shelby said that while most people are good and decent, we have a few who are bad.

2/26/2018 Group Watch: Ivey Speaks on School Shooting

Governor Kay Ivey spoke out on potential protections for schools in wake of the mass shooting in a Florida school. She cautioned against “knee-jerk reactions,” saying the state should listen to law enforcement. Ivey said she would support metal detectors in schools, but is open to more ideas. While some are advocating arming teachers on a voluntary basis, Governor Ivey says she is not sure teachers who have to address so many things during the school day should be given guns.

2/26/2018 Group Watch: AL Higher Ed Day Calls for More Funding

Last Thursday was Higher Education Advocacy Day at the Alabama Statehouse. The day represents an opportunity for students to directly share the importance of increased funding for higher education to Governor Ivey, state lawmakers and other constitutional officers. Legislators were invited to sit at tables with students to hear directly from them the needs and opportunities of higher education. Higher Education Day is organized by the Higher Education Partnership, which say says higher education is an important economic driver in communities, creating jobs, strengthening quality of life and making a $20 billion annual economic impact.

2/26/2018 Group Watch: Daycare Bill Moves to Senate

A bill to expand the daycare regulations and oversight applying to daycare centers and programs affiliated with churches, was favorably reported out of committee and will now be voted on in the Senate.

February 19, 2018 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

The Alabama Legislature got back to work last Tuesday with continued focus on local bills in addition to passing bills to fund public education in Alabama.
  • On Tuesday (11th day of session): The Housepassed a number of bills of local application only and bills to fund public education for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2018; to provide 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase for public education employees in K-12; and to extend the private hospital assessment and Medicaid funding program for the 2019 fiscal year. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to grant all professional educators’ associations the same level of access to employees of public schools; to clarify the law in regards to issuing pistol permits, providing that sheriffs may not impose time constraints on applicants in regards to taking possession of the license; and to revise the licensing process for EMS personnel to authorize criminal background checks.
  • On Wednesday (a committee day): The House Judiciary Committee approved bills to provide for payment of fees for DUI from the pretrial diversion programs to the Alabama Head and Spinal Cord Trust Fund; to provide the enumeration of certain capital offenses, including murder on a school campus and murder in a day care center; and a bill to expand the types of cases private judges can hear.  The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill aimed at correctional officer retention. The House Military and Veteran Affairs Committee approved a bill requiring professional licensing boards to issue licenses and certificates to military spouses from other states. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to authorize nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants to sign forms that may be signed by a physician. The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved the General Fund Budget; the Children First Trust Fund appropriation; and a cost-of-living increase for state workers who have not had a raise in 10 years.
  • On Thursday (12th day of session): After a lengthy debate over a special order calendar, the House passed several bills of local application only, including final passage of several Senate-passed local bills. The chamber also passed few bills late in the evening, including a bill hailed as “Stand Your Ground Law for churches.” The Senate passed several bills of local application only and a bill to further provide for notification of low-risk sex offenders and House-passed bills to provide tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans and for preference given to veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the awarding of public contracts by state agencies and institutions.

2/19/2018 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

Feb 17
We have two ears and one mouth. Let’s listen twice as much as we talk. @Joe_McGee#MarriageConf18

2/19/2018 Group Watch: Bill to Allow Armed Teachers

State Representative Will Ainsworth will introduce a bill allowing some public school teachers and administrators to be armed at school. According to Ainsworth, the bill will allow Alabama public school teachers and administrators to undergo firearms training, arming themselves against attacks at school. His bill is in response the recent Florida high school shooting. He said that educators in his area asked him to introduce the legislation allowing them to protect themselves. Teachers seeking to be armed would have to be certified by law enforcement.

2/19/2018 Group Watch: House Approves Church Defense Bill

Late last Thursday evening, The  House approved a bill to extend the state’s Stand Your Ground law to churches. The bill would add houses of worship to the state’s 2006 law, allowing a person to use physical force against anyone committing a crime, attempting a crime or attacking an employee or member of a church. The bill extends the protection to offsite church social events and does not specify that the protection of church members needs to take place in a dwelling. The bill passed 40-16.

2/19/2018 Group Watch: Budgets Sailing Ahead

The House unanimously passed The Education Trust Fund Budget last Tuesday, and now the General Fund Budget is moving forward, being moved favorably out of the The Senate Committee on Finance and Taxation General Fund on Wednesday. Thanks to a healthier economy and a few other factors, it’s higher than last year’s budget by more than $150 million. The extra money will be allocated for a 3-percent cost of living raise for state employees and a $50 million increase to the Department of Corrections.

2/19/2018 Group Watch: Ivey Kicks Off Campaign

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey officially launched her campaign to win the governor’s office in her own right. Ivey was suddenly catapulted to the office 10 months ago when then-Governor Robert Bentley resigned. Ivey said she has done her best to steady a scandal-rocked state. The governor touted economic successes, including a decision by Toyota and Mazda to build a plant in Huntsville. She is the frontrunner in a field of five seeking the Republican nomination. There are seven Democrats seeking their party’s nomination.

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