May 20, 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

As the legislature carried out its 19th, 20th and 21st days of the regular session last week, an international spotlight was turned on Montgomery and Alabama with the passage of the country’s most restrictive abortion law. On Tuesday, the law passed both chambers with overwhelming majorities (74-3 in the House; 25-7 in the Senate). On Wednesday, Governor Ivey signed the bill into law.

Emotions on both sides were running high, with those against it preparing to quickly use the court system to prevent it taking effect and its proponents declaring a victory for life and announcing its ultimate purpose is to pose a challenge to Roe vs. Wade in our nation’s highest court. No one can say yet whether the Supreme Court will choose to take up the case though.

Coverage from national and international media and intense debates on social media made it “the issue” last week, and some of the information circulating has been inaccurate. The law makes almost any abortion at any time illegal; the only exception in the law’s current form is if the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. But the law will not punish women seeking or getting abortions; it goes after those performing abortions, who can receive a sentence of 99 years for the act.

The law is sure to remain a hot topic over the coming weeks.

5/20/2019 Group Watch: Airbus Workforce Development

Airbus launched two new programs aimed at putting applicants with little or no aviation or aerospace experience in jobs where its A220 and A320 production facilities are located. The FlightPath9 and Fast Track programs seek to expand Airbus’ production workforce from within the Mobile community. The FlightPath9 program targets high seniors with a desire to work in aerospace. Fast Track is a 12 to 15-week program that brings individuals lacking aviation manufacturing experience into the company and provides them with knowledge, skills and ability for an aerospace maintenance career.

5/20/2019 Group Watch: Possible Special Session?

To address the state’s continuing prison woes, it looks like the legislature may get a special session. Leaders on both sides of the aisle say a special session would give them the time needed to deal with the issues highlighted by the DOJ. Plus, the relevant information from the DOJ likely won’t be ready before the regular session ends.

5/20/2019 Group Watch: Replacing State School Board?

Last Thursday, the Senate unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) that would change how Alabama’s Board of Education is formed. His plan calls for a constitutional amendment to remove the current election process for board members and instead, have them appointed by the governor and confirmed by a Senate vote. Marsh claims that the unquestioned failure of the status-quo in Alabama’s public education drove him to sponsor the legislation. Governor Ivey has already expressed her support of the plan. If it makes it through the House, as a constitutional amendment its next step is to be voted on by Alabama voters.

5/20/2019 Group Watch: Tweet of the Week

@egmackey
May 16
Back on the budget language. This is one of the hardest working men I know ⁦@AlabamaDeptofEd

5/20/2019 Group Watch: Lottery Debate Coming

It looks like lottery legislation will come up this week after changes concerning a lottery’s proceeds allocation were made in committee last week. The switch now has funds going to the General Fund (75 percent) and the Education Fund (25 percent). Previously, the monies were to go into the state’s oil and gas trust fund. Supporters are hopeful but admit, getting an Alabama lottery is in no way a sure thing. And even if the legislation is passed, it does not go to the governor for signature. The constitutional amendment needed to create a state lottery would go on a ballot to decided by all Alabama voters.

5/20/2019 Group Watch: New Auto Supplier

Japan-based DaikyoNishikawa US plans to invest $110 million to open an auto parts manufacturing facility in Huntsville (its first in the United States) to serve the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. assembly plant now under construction. The company will create approximately 380 jobs at the new Alabama facility, which will produce plastic automotive parts.

May 13, 2019 Group Watch: News & Views from the State House

Abortion and medical marijuana were just a few of the issues the Legislature worked on last week. Here are the details of the bills moving along:
  • Tuesday, Day 16 of Regular Session: The House Commerce and Small Business Committee approved a bill to prohibit retaliation against an employee who brings a charge of wage discrimination. The House State Government Committee approved Senate-passed bills to provide for a dependent child to receive direct retirement benefits to a special trust from the Retirement Systems of Alabama and to recapture benefits extended to call centers that relocate out of state. The House passed several bills of local application only and general bills to create the Alabama Industry Recognized and registered Apprenticeship program; to exempt from sales and use tax adaptive equipment; to extend the time allowed for the use of provisional teaching certificates from one year to two years; and gave final passage of a Senate-passed bill to require the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of each school year. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to establish the Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board to be administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA); to further provide for municipalities, council-manager form of government; and to make further requirements of the State Board of Health regarding immunization registry and reports of immunization vaccines.
  • Wednesday, Day 17 of Regular Session: The House Health Committee approved a bill to establish and maintain an immunization registry for reporting vaccines. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a House-passed bill to make abortion a felony under certain circumstances with a committee amendment. The Senate Education Policy Committee approved a House-passed bill to allow local boards of education to permit time for religious education off campus for elective credit. The Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee approved a bill to exempt from sales and use tax adaptive equipment. The House passed a few bills of local application only and a general bill entitled the Financial Institution Excise Tax Reform Act of 2019. The Senate passed several bills of local application only and general bills to provide broadband access to unserved areas of the state; to further provide for the administration of Lifeline qualifying public assistance programs; and a proposed constitutional amendment providing that only a citizen of the United States has the right to vote.
  • Thursday, Day 18 of Regular Session: The House passed a number of bills of local application only and a general bill to authorize the re-organization of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.The Senate passed a few bills of local application only and general bills to authorize a program for medical marijuana use under certain conditions and to authorize the Alabama Small Business Act.

5/13/2019 Group Watch: Shelby Proposes Balanced Budget

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, re-introduced legislation proposing a constitutional amendment that would require Congress to pass a balanced budget. Shelby is concerned with the nation’s growing national debt, which has soared to $22 trillion. If passed by the Congress and then ratified by three-fourth of the states, this amendment to the Constitution would require the total amount of money spent by the United States during any fiscal year, except during times of war, not exceed the amount of revenue received by the government during the same fiscal year, and not exceed 20 percent of the gross domestic product during the previous calendar year.

5/13/2019 Group Watch: Birmingham Hosts Tech Summits

The Aerospace Innovation Technology Summit and the Automotive Advanced Technology Summit both took place in Birmingham with 200 companies participating. The Alabama Department of Commerce is among the sponsors of the summits, which featured workshops, presentations and business-to-business meetings. The automotive and aerospace industries are major drivers of economic growth in Alabama, and these business conventions in Birmingham offer a pathway for companies from across the country and around the world to seek new opportunities and understand how their peers are utilizing and advancing the latest technologies.

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